WESTBROOK, Minnesota (STPNS) -- If you are a NASCAR racing fan, Speed Week at Daytona is like the Superbowl of racing. Unlike football, NASCAR starts out the season with the biggest race of the season. Listening to the sports scribes, if you win any other race in NASCAR you are a winner, but win the Daytona 500 and you are a champion. To stock car racers the Daytona is like winning the World Series, the Super Bowl, and the grand slam in Tennis and Golf.
For myself and Best Friend we are fairly avid race fans, although I tend to like most types of racing including drag racing, which I participated for a few weeks one summer. I did fairly well winning my class four weeks out of the five we went. I probably would have continued to do that much longer, but family responsibility over ruled racing. I don’t have any qualms about that either.
I grew up several years in Kasson, MN where I got my first taste of racing. A bunch of us neighborhood kids started our own soapbox racing association, more or less, actually it was a rivalry between a bunch of us kids. Our race cars were a combination of sophistication and young boy originality. Some of our cars had an actual steering wheel, while others had a rope attached to the front axle that swiveled. Of course we only raced in a straight line down the steepest and smoothest street in town. We raced about a block. Our cars were not very fast and the hill was not actually very steep so we had someone on our team push the car for about 20 feet. They used a 2x2 board as a pushing stick.
I enlisted Dicky Lynard as my pusher. He was the biggest kid in the neighborhood. He was not real fast but when he got to the start line he could give a really hard shove, which gave me quite an advantage.
One year at the county fair grounds some of the promoters there got wind of our racing and thought it would be a good draw for selling tickets if we would race between the real stock car races. Well it was fun, but my pusher didn’t like pushing my car on a dirt track for about 150 feet. He was totally gassed after the race. I had a friend who was really small, and he built a car out of old coffee cans. We called it “Little Willie” it was very light and he was about my only real competition most of the time.
We raced about once a week on Saturday mornings for a couple of years in the summer. I don’t remember what eventually happened to my old number 11, (I picked that number because it was easy to paint) I suppose it eventually got torn apart.
Well, Sunday was supposed to be the running of the Daytona 500, but it was rained out, and it is supposed to run tonight (Monday) at 6:00 central time. I have a school board meeting to attend, but hopefully I will get back in time for the tail end of the race.
Have a good week and do good!
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