This week for Throwback Thursday, we don’t have any photos, or video, just a story. In 1990/1991 I was a freshman in high school in Cincinnati, OH. At that point in my life, my sporting interests were all Reds baseball and Bengals football. I really can’t recall many memories of anything NASCAR related, except a plastic toy Hardee’s Cale Yarborough helmet that I wore everywhere as an 8 year old. Once at the grocery store, a man asked me why I wore it, and I pointed at my mother and said ‘Have you ever seen her drive?’, which did not go well for me….
So, fast forward to 1991, and I had some ‘culture shock’ at high school. The days of getting good grades while doing no homework ended, and I failed a couple of classes. I had to go to summer school, which you would think would be terrible, and it was, but it altered the course of my life from that point forward. Because I missed the family vacation that year, my parents felt bad and sent me off for a week late summer to my sister Karen’s house in Sasser, GA. My brother-in-law Stan is from Georgia, and when they got married, she moved there. While I was there that week, they went to a lot of effort to show me a good time, and took me to many places. Their biggest impact though was that Stan was a lifelong NASCAR fan, and more specifically a Bill Elliott fan. During the week, while roaming their property, I discovered years worth of Winston Cup Scene newspapers that Stan was storing in a camper. I read as many issues as I could get to that week. They also took me to a local dirt race and we went go karting one night. On Sunday, we sat down to watch the NASCAR race, and were lucky enough to watch Dale Jarrett and Davey Allison battle to the flag as Jarrett picked up his first win by inches at Michigan.
From that point forward I was hooked. It was difficult to follow the sport at that time from Cincinnati, as most people didn’t seem to care. Luckily, I was gifted a subscription to Winston Cup Scene for Christmas and then a couple years later when the Brickyard 400 started at Indianapolis, the midwest took hold of the sport.
As readers of my blog, you can sense the impact NASCAR has had on me the last 28 years, and many of our trips and memories involve the sport. Without this event in my life, who knows what I would be blogging about! Many thanks to my parents, the Northwest Local School District, and most importantly, Karen and Stan, for their hospitality that week, and their unintentional conversion of me into a NASCAR fan.