4th of July

July 7, 2009

Twenty-five years ago, on July 4th, 1984, my husband, John, our son, Mike, and John’s father, Ray went to the Firecracker 400 at Daytona Speedway. Some historic things happened that day — President Ronald Reagan flew in on Air Force One to start the race with that popular tag, “Gentlemen, start your engines.” AND Richard Petty won his 200th race.

Mike was four at the time and John remembers how wide Mike’s eyes were as the cars blasted by, the vibration from the engines and speed literally shaking his little body.

We pulled out the picture that had been taken of Mike and John standing beside Petty’s car after that race, because this past Saturday, on the 25th Anniversary of Mike’s first race, John & I took Mike and his wife, Veronica to see the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona Speedway. This would be V’s first Nascar race.

Richard Petty led the parade in his old car – number 43 and started the race as Reagan did years before. We were seated in the first row just past the start/finish line and V’s eyes were just as wide when the race started and the cars rocketed by.

It was a spectacular race, especially the finish with Kyle Busch crashing just before the checkered flag – the carnage of vehicles involved sliding down the track right in front of us. We all turned our heads and shielded our faces as debris rained down on us! Our hearts were in our throats as the crowd screamed and Tony Stewart celebrated his win.

The night sky lit up with a magnificent firework display and our fourth of July came to a close. What a memory this will be. I hope yours was just as memorable! Hugs – C.

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