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 Columns & Editorials

August 21, 2001

Racing thru the Eyes of a Child

By Jane Smith

Racing, thru the eyes of my 8 year old son, is much different than what you and I see. When I say, "Alex, let's go" he is not thinking about cars going around the track but what fun he can have with his other family. This is just a small portion of his adventures.

Don Nerone, well known by most racers, has a side that only a child sees. Don has many duties at both tracks but this busy man can find time to sit down and make a paper airplane for a little boy that asked him to. And sometimes, it may be more than one plane. Then comes along Jason Boyd, bad boy to some, but another really good paper airplane maker. By the end of the night, we have our own airport right there in the pit office thanks to Don and Jason.

It is funny how busy drivers and crew chiefs can find time for a little boy. Mike Good, Lee Collins, David Rogers have all had the pleasure of this little boy. Lee Collins is well known for the scooter he has and uses in the pits. Alex spotted that scooter in seconds and before the night was over, guess who was on the back of that scooter having a ball.

B.J. McLeod has a gator that he uses in the pits. One rainy Saturday when the races were called, Alex got to drive the gator. Not only did he drive it alone but he took Darwin, Mary Jane, B.J., Pete and Bobby Orr and a number of other guys all around the track for the ride of their life. The only problem was that he wanted to go thru all the mud holes which was not Mary Jane's idea of fun. And now whenever he sees Darwin, he always asks if they brought the gator.

Travis Kittleson and his gator took Alex for his first ride around the track on his birthday in rain once again. Travis was getting soaked but that did not stop him from giving Alex a really good birthday. Memories that will always be with Alex.

The biggest thrill for a little boy is to think that he is really helping on a car. Tim McPhail, the Missileman, has put Alex to work more than once. Alex has cleaned windows, rolled tires, wiped off the car, anything to help. He has put lug nuts on Justin Henderson's modified and a happy face on David Castello's mini-stock. He has driven Tim Clark's golf cart and almost put them into the back of his hauler before he learned what brakes were. He has driven around Orlando SpeedWorld with Chad Pierce in a go-kart steering the whole way around.

Little boys and racing, what an adventure, what memories.

Jane Smith

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