Saturday, July 9, 2011

Column V2.11 - Riverside IS racin… 7/2/11

I know we were supposed to continue our story of scrapping parts and such, but I feel one of those infamous ‘detours’ coming on. Actually, we did something last Saturday that makes this a tale worth telling. First a little background. Back in 1988, I built a race car to race at Riverside Speedway in West Memphis, AR. My dad had raced there from 1958-1960 and as a little kid, I got bit by the ‘racing bug’. Heck, I used to eat some of the mud that came off his car. Yea, I know…but you probably ate some Play-Doh or Elmers glue, now didn’t you? Anyway, it was a lifelong dream of mine to race at Riverside. So, being single and back in Frayser in 1988, I built one and raced there for the next 6 years. But this isn’t about me.
My grandkids, as far as I know, had never been to an actual car race. Since my dad’s birthday was the 30th, we decided to make a Memphis run, celebrate his BD, go to the races that Saturday night (6-25) AND take the kids. Turned out their parents decided to go with us and that was good, too.
Anyway, we got there and I had taken my camera in case a ‘kodak moment’ happened. We’re sitting in the stands and I see an old friend of mine on the track. Bud Ward is still racing and winning. So, during a break in the action, I went down and talked to Bud and after we caught up on the past a bit- we hadn’t seen each other since 1994 - I asked if he would mind if I brought the kids down and let them sit in his car and took some pictures. He gave me a big ‘ol “heck no - man, bring ‘em on”. So I went up and let everyone know what was going to happen after the races and the kids then cheered for Bud to win his feature race. As I expected, Bud ran away with the race and led flag to flag. There was one close call when a lapped car got completely sideways in front of Bud, but he dodged it and won going away.

After the races, we went to Bud’s pit area and proceeded to take some pictures. At first the 5yr old boy-kid wasn’t sure he wanted to get in the car, then his 7yr old sister showed him it was a breeze and she got her pictures taken first. She looked like a natural behind the wheel...she might need a racing kart to drive before too long. Well, then the boy gets behind the wheel and he might need watching also. His expression looked like a driver who was about to put Kyle Busch into the 3rd turn wall (which is fine with his grand-dad).

Needless to say, it was a very memorable night and it won’t be the last one.

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