Saturday night at the races. The dirt oval track in Brockville. A little more expensive than the drive-in…but at least there’s no fear of falling asleep!
I absolutely love the thrill you get when a racecar roars past you and you feel the rumble in your chest. I grew up in a drag racing family…so it is in my blood. The louder & more powerful the engines, the higher I am (cloud 9 high, that is)
We went to the races last night with our neighbours. Their grandson races a stock car. This is only his second year but he is doing great. Last time he took in a 1st place and 3rd place during the different heats.
There are many different classes at this track. They start out with the smallest engines and work their way up. I was having a great time. I always do. When the sun went down, the huge flood lights came on. There was a cool breeze blowing through the grandstands and I found myself wishing I had changed out of my shorts before leaving the house.
The modified stock cars came out to do their warm-up laps. As they passed in front of us, they revved their engines….and my heart. That sound always gives me a rush beyond most people’s imaginations. I put my hand to my chest to feel the vibration. Sweetie asked if I was alright.
‘Yes….I just’ choking….I managed ..’God….I forgot how much I love that. I miss it so much!’
Then I was taken back 30 years to Pennfield Ridge. To an old abandoned airport runway….it was our drag strip. I could see Dad standing leaning up against ’67 Camaro waiting in the staging lanes. Helmet in hand…with the biggest smile on his face. Then I could hear his 454 big block screaming with impatience….’Get me to the Christmas tree!’
I remembered packing the food into the camper and loading up the car….either the Camaro or the ’67 Chevelle. And heading to the track. My Father was a God on the drag strip.
It seemed like nothing could stop him. And no one could beat him. I couldn’t have been more proud.
Then I remembered how it felt when he said he was ‘too old for this’ and he sold his cars. I thought of how happy he was when he was behind the wheel of a modified super stock. My heart beat so loudly that my ears hurt. Then I realized I was crying.
‘Are you ok, Doll?’ I heard again…
I looked at him and but I couldn’t speak.
Grabbing a tissue, I finally got out, ‘I don’t think I’ve ever seen my Dad truly happy since he raced.’
Well, other than when he was playing with the kids when they were little. Taking them around the yard on the 3-wheeler or listening to them read a story to him.
I heard myself thinking, then realized it was out loud.
‘I would give almost anything to be able to have him here in one of those cars right now.’
Once the dam was broken I had a hard time stopping the tears. I never realized at the time what an amazing gift it was to see my Dad race…and win.
I didn’t know until it was over, how much I really enjoyed it. And how much I would miss it. I’m the luckiest daughter in the world to have been able to witness such skill & performance under the hood or on the race track …. and tickled pink to call it ‘Daddy’.
And I’m forever grateful that when he was on his way to the track, that he wanted me riding shotgun.
Thank you for sparking the love of racing in me, Dad.
I love you.
And you’ll always be in my Winner’s Circle.