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 Columns & Editorials

August 11, 2001

A Racing Hero Of Mine

by Sharon Fancher
Racing for me is a time for family and friends to get together to share some quality time and excitement. My Step Dad introduced me into the sport of racing several years ago, but unfortunately he is no longer with us.

Today his love for racing continues to live on within his family. When I visit the surrounding tracks here in Florida, it always brings his racing memories to mind. He was by far a very talented driver. He was the one to start my addiction in the sport of racing. I love the feeling you get from racing, as a fan and driver! You drive a race car for the first time and your blood is pumping so hard from all the adrenaline flowing through your veins, that when you step out of your car after racing you are trembling all over!

My Step Dad was the first to let me experience such an excitement. He allowed me to race the first car he ever owned and I was so worried I was going to tear it up and he wouldn't have the money to fix it. He told me to get in that car and race it like he would. He was so proud that night, you would have thought I was his biological daughter! In his eyes and mine I was.

He laughed so hard, because he had chained the springs down on one side and everytime I hit a bump on the track the car would come off the ground. He took them off of course after having his fun with me. He said he did that because he knew it would slow me down and being my first time racing he didn't want to see me get hurt. He always said I would give it all it had and that was what scared him. We were very close! From that day on I was hooked! I helped him build, paint and work on his car. He said I wasn't normal, because I would get just as dirty as him working on his car. I'd be in my makeup with my hair all done up and you would see me under the hood of a car with a wrench working away.

We spent numerous hours getting his car ready. So I do have a lot of knowledge relating to race cars. I can do a lot of things besides change a tire and I owe it all to the man I called Dad. The two of us were his only pit crew in the beginning. He would have a flat and I'd be waiting there to change his tire and get him back on the track. I always hated how he seemed to have some sort of difficulty with his car mechanically everytime he raced. He wasn't a top runner in his first few years and it wasn't because of his driving ability. He unfortunately wasn't blessed with having the money to meet the expense's to equip his car with the best of everything. So he always did his best with whatever he had. Eventually as the years passed, his racing career started to take off and he was finally one of the top cmpetitor's. So he decided to set his goal at winning a points championship.

The 1999 racing season had started out great for him and he was winning almost all his races. That year he managed to obtain the 4th place spot in the points championship. But unfortunately before he could complete his goal he was sadly taken from us. He died about an hour after racing the last race of the 2000 season in our hometown. He died at the age of 44 a week before his 45th birthday. He was laughing and talking about the events of the night when he smiled and peacefully passed away. Remembering him is what brings back the "Happy Times" of racing for me. He will always be remembered as my #1 Hero in racing and in life. " I love you Dad!"

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