NASCAR. I had no interest. Cars. Dirty tracks. Going in circles. So many laps. Yuck. Why would anyone like it?
I heard from a friend about a camp begun by the Petty family. You know, as in Kyle and Richard Petty….THE KING. I HAD heard of him. The camp was for kids with disabilities and chronic illnesses. It’s a long story but we went, we fell in love, and our introduction to NASCAR had begun.
On the way home from Victory Junction, Steve mentioned that maybe this racing “thing” would work for Korie. It could be an interest…something to watch every week. We channel surfed on the radio and found the race. We listened…Korie listened and she wanted to watch it on TV the next week.
It’s 10 years later and as I write this she is watching the race on TV AND NASCAR Race Day Mobile. She now watches the Sprint race, the Nationwide race and the Truck race every week. She knows the number of every driver, which team they are on and the names of the whole Jeff Gordon family. She has met most of the Nationwide drivers, many of the Sprint drivers and has been to several races. She has ridden her chair on one of the race tracks and the last race she went to, Jeff Gordon won!
As I sit with her and watch the cars go around the dirty track….I now know all about the drivers, their cars and the strategies for the different tracks, I know all about the point system, the Race for the Chase and which crew chiefs belongs with which drivers. Yes, I know way too much about NASCAR.
But! My heart catches when I see the passion on Korie’s face, the smiles when the announcers do interviews, the knowing look when they talk about drivers raising money for Victory Junction, the fist pumps when Jeff Gordon takes the lead and the pure joy when he crosses the finish line first. I have met “The King” twice and I have personally thanked Kyle and Patti Petty for turning the loss of their son into something so beautiful. These days, the cars look bright and sleek, the tracks look challenging, the pits look quick and exciting and the drivers look giving and athletic. NASCAR is beautiful.