The first time I ever saw one I was 14 years old.
I grew up on a farm along the Mississippi river just north of Hannibal Mo; Of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn fame.We lived on the Illinois side farmed in the bottoms and raised cattle up on the bluff. My Dad had been fighting poor crop prices;unpredictable weather, and the possibility of a flood every year.
Having a degree in agriculture from Western Illinois U he put some feelers out for prospective opportunities;and one came along.My Dad was Hired by a research laboratory in Ohio,to become Assistant to the president--He later became pres.While well and good for the rest of my family I was looking at a total change in my life not the least was the school in Ohio didn't have football,Something as important to me as breathing,but I didn't get a vote so off to Ohio we went.Well this lab my Dad went to work for had a research farm so upon my arrival I rode my bike out to see if they needed any help bailing hay.This started my Hay Bailing years.I ended up working summers for an alfalfa mill bailing hay for them (all of this to stay in shape for hopefully college football)Herein is where the story has its beginnings.
We had a hay field right next to the Race track at New Bremen (an asphalt track)Well we were working out there on a Saturday afternoon and the promoter A Mr Cook, came on out to the field with tickets for the USAC Sprint car race on Sunday.So Sunday after church I hopped on my bike and rode it 6 miles to the race track.Now this was 1965 I saw AJ Foyt,Larry Dickson,Waldo Andretti--Marios brother, Eddie Sacks-Later was killed in the Indy 500 that year.It was wonderful sounds ,the smell,and the cars were soooo beautiful tried to go to The speedway whenever they had a USAC race then one day someone told me of another track not to much farther away .--By this time I had my Drivers licence The race tracks name was Eldora .1/2 mile dirt track.A life changing event the first time I went. I remember A car from Dayton Flipping all the way down the back stretch with the drivers arms stretched out over his head from inertia It was the most violent horrendous thing I had ever witnessed just knew the guys that drove those things had to be crazy ;It wasn't too long after that I knew I had to drive one.
I started out in Hobby stocks then late models It Wasn't until I was In my 30's that I finally got A Sprint car . We raced the Sprint Cars for 6 wonderful years mostly Florida With the Tampa Bay Area Racing Assoc.Then with American Winged Outlaws,we raced Florida Georga,North and South Carolina's,Tennessee,andAlabama All through my Girls Jr High and High School Years we Raced.Had the only all Girl pit crew I must say definitely the happiest days of my life ----SO FAR