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While I sometimes disagree with the extreme and over-the-top beliefs of the more radical of the old-timer NASCAR fans, I do have compassion for anyone that is experiencing a much-loved and deeply-rooted passion in their life changing into something different. Change is hard, and even harder for a person that has been idolizing something for years on end.
I don’t know how time seemed to pass for a NASCAR fan back in the days when the Flocks and the Thompsons were racing on tracks such as Riverside or North Wilkesboro. Has it seemed to them that the years have sped by like Ryan Newman qualifying, or more like a rain delay?
I can tell you that our family has been fans since 1999, and it is my perception that the six years that have slipped past have done so like they were riding on rails.
We were fortunate enough to become fans before the passing of Dale Earnhardt, and were able to see him race for one and a half full seasons, and, of course, his last Daytona 500. He is gone now, as well as others who are dearly missed that have passed away in this short time, including Kenny Irwin and Adam Petty. My son and I have met Jerry Nadeau twice, once before his accident and after. With all of the great excitement and joy in NASCAR racing, there is also death and serious injury.
In my mind I can imagine a collage of faces and events, good times and bad, having passed since I became a fan. There is so much packed into such a small span of time. We have accumulated treasured friends, memories, and mementos over these half-dozen years that have brought us so much happiness.
The walls were all cement when we started watching, and there were no head-and-neck restraint requirements. Already watching a race from 1999, we can pick out several differences in the cars themselves, and the makers of them (Pontiac was racing then, and Toyota wasn’t). Drivers have come and gone, made themselves heroes or foes to be booed, retired, and helped introduce their sons into racing.
I am so envious of those that have lived racing all of their lives, and had many times the experiences and memories that I have. I regret not listening to that young man I dated back in the 70s that worked really hard at convincing me to ‘try NASCAR’. Imagine the years of joys and tribulations that I’ve missed because I chose not to.
Yes, these years have passed by like dog years, one seeming to be at least seven. For good or for bad, I’m watching them encircle my life at high-speed, leaving me breathless but intoxicated with it all.
©2000 - 2008 Cheryl Walker and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Cheryl is no longer a contributor to the Frotnstretch, having branched out on her own, starting CawsnJaws with her son Josh. If you'd like to see more of Cheryl's Frontstretch articles, check out her bio and archive page.