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 Columns & Editorials

July 13, 2001


By Robin Smith Meiser

Last week I had the pleasure of going to Daytona International Speedway to see the NASCAR Goody's Dash Series race. That's old news, I told you all about it last week. If you missed it, the story is called "Don't Drive Faster Than Your Angels Can Fly". What I didn't tell you though was a great problem I had while trying to write that story.

I told you all about Dash Series drivers like Doc Brewer, Tim Nichols, Robert Huffman, Kelly Sutton, Angie Wilson and the other stars of this series. I wrote about the people I had met and talked to, those I was familiar with. Several days after I did my story I received this e-mail message:

"I am disappointed in your Dash ( by Robin Meiser) article that you failed to mention a Sanford, FL native Nolan Wilson. It was only his 3rd career dash race and he got his first top 10 after starting 36th. He is a veteran of the central florida short tracks: Orlando, Volusia, Smyrna, etc... Just thought I would express my comments... Thanks!! Nolan' s brother, Adam Wilson "

Words cannot express the embarrassment I felt after receiving this email. I wrote Adam Wilson back but haven't heard from him yet. I told him how sorry I was for not including his brother in my story. I told him to please contact me so I can learn more about Nolan Wilson, his brother. I feel awful! If nothing else, I hope my "sister" Jane Smith can help me out since she is familiar with drivers from the East Coast.

To be honest I never even knew who Nolan Wilson was. You see, I could not even find a list of drivers in the pits of Daytona International Speedway for the Goodys Dash Series. They did driver introductions and I remember cheering for the "Florida Boys" during them but that was it. After the race was over, NASCAR moved right into "Happy Hour and a Half" for the Winston Cup drivers.

There was so much going on and unfortunately, I was not at the race as a "member of the media" who was afforded the perks of getting official media packets, etc. In order to obtain those credentials at DIS, you have a list a mile long of what you must do to obtain those credentials. It is almost impossible to obtain official credentials as a free-lance journalist who works part time for a weekly paper and the most well known Website in local stock car racing in Florida. You have to have liability insurance and workers compensation, etc., the stumbling blocks just go on and on.

I was in the Goodys Dash series garage area thanks to a fellow race fan named Ken Catlette of Pabst. He invited Max Miller, our photographer, and myself to attend because he knew how much we liked the series. We jumped on the opportunity and came to cover the race for Karnac.com and after the Goodys Dash race was over we headed home.

We did not stay for the Pepsi 400 on Saturday, although I have been to that race for the past three years as a paying race fan. I love Winston Cup racing, don't get me wrong. I went to seven straight races at Atlanta Motor Speedway and always say, when I die bury my ashes there, I love the place. I have been to Daytona, Charlotte, North Wilksboro, Darlington and Homestead.

I haven't been to a Winston Cup race this year because to be honest, I am so turned off to all the hype behind Dale Earnhardt's death. I thought we could lay it to rest last week after Dale, Jr. won the Pepsi 400 but it has only gotten worse. Now all over the television, radio and print media all you hear is the race was fixed, they let Little E win. Give me a break! If you had been there on Friday night after the Goodys Dash race, you would know THERE WAS NOT A FASTER CAR ON THE RACE TRACK THAN DALE EARNHARDT, JR.

I am sure there are many of you out there saying that NASCAR let him cheat with a different restrictor plate, blah, blah, blah.. If that was the case, they sure had a let down when the caution flag came out five laps from the end, didn't they? It took skill, and a lot of "inherited genes" for Dale, Jr. to get to the front in five laps. Of course those new tires someone had the wisdom to take on might on that last pit stop might have had something to do with it. And yes, Michael Waltrip did stay in back of him, protecting his lead. So what! Whatever happened to "what goes around comes around"? Dale Earnhardt, Jr. did the same thing for Waltrip in the Daytona 500,as his father died in Turn Four. Is it not acceptable for people to "Pay it Forward", return a favor to someone who did something for them? As for the other drivers "letting Dale win", you make me laugh. Do you really think Tony Stewart would have "let" any driver around him in those last couple laps? PLEASE!!!! Need I say more?

At any rate, I am getting off the subject of my story but then again, maybe I am not. As I sat down to get ready to watch the Pepsi 400, I was gathering information to write my story about the Goody's Dash race. One thing I really wanted to know was what caused that big wreck in the last ten laps of their race. I checked out all the Websites including NASCAR on-line.com, Goodysdashseries.com. and the ESPN/Sports Illustrated Website. Not one of those sites had a story about the DaytonaUSA.com 150 race. They had the results of the race with the drivers names and that is it! Everything else was about asking Winston Cup drivers "How do feel about racing at Daytona after Earnhardt's death?"

I have to toot our horn a little bit here, meaning Karnac.com and all the media relations directors at our Florida short tracks, let's all give ourselves a big pat on the back! Most of Florida's short track races are on Saturday nights, as I am sure they are all over the United States. By Sunday evening, at the latest, you can read about race that happened on Saturday night on our pages, if they have been submitted to Karnac.com . NASCAR on-line.com submitted their press release for the Goody's Dash race held on July 6, at 12:16 p.m. on July 9! Karnac.com had their story on-line about the Goody's Dash race by the morning of July 8 but knowing Jack Smith, I would bet it was on-line by midnight of July 7!

I think my point in all this is that I am trying to find a convenient excuse to give to Nolan and Adam Wilson, the rookie Florida Dash driver that I didn't mention in my story last week and his biggest fan, his brother. Maybe the best thing I can do is just say again, Adam, I am so sorry! I hope to hear from you or your brother soon.. The Goody's Dash Series comes to Lakeland on October 20 and I swear I will do you justice, as I will any other Florida driver I forgot to mention. If I did, let me know, I am a fellow Floridian above all else. My e-mail address is RSMeiser@aol.com.

-Robin Smith Meiser

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