NASCAR, Junior Visit Ona Speedway

By: Jim Treacy Email
By: Jim Treacy Email

There was quite a buzz around the Ona Speedway over the weekend. It not only came from the cars on the track, but from the fans in the stands who got to see one of NASCAR's biggest stars.

Five NASCAR drivers came into town for the C&O Motors Race of Champions. Four of them took the track and one dropped the green flag for the race -- and there's a good chance you've heard of the last one known affectionately around NASCAR circles as "Junior."

Signing autographs is second nature to most NASCAR drivers, but for the fans, this moment can be their only shot at getting so close to their favorite driver.

Fifteen year old Chucky Davis from Chapmanville, who has muscular distrophy, got some extra time with Dale Earnhardt Junior.

"It's very cool," said Davis.

Davis' father, Mark, said he's been waiting awhile to meet Junior.

"He's wanted this for so long," said Davis. "We tried at DEI, at Martinsville twice, and finally his dream has come true."

"I hope it was everything he expected it would be," said Earnhardt. "We love meeting the fans, especially those in unique situations. We try to do the best job we can."

Davis wasn't the only star-struck set of eyeballs at Ona Saturday night. Jason Garrett and Jake Keaton are two classic car drivers who taught a couple of NASCAR veterans a thing or two about their rides.

"He doesn't need a whole lot of tips, said Keaton. "Sterling's a wheel man so he knows how to get 'er done."

"That was pretty cool. I wanted him to drive it," said Garrett. "He's a good personality and a real nice guy."

The allure of NASCAR boils down to common people with a common desire: to go fast.

The professional drivers sure don't mind getting away from the bright lights of the superspeedways to get back to their roots.

"I like getting back to these tracks, checking out the guardrails, looking at the cars -- and it takes you back to when you were racing," said Earnhardt. "For me it was Myrtle Beach and places like that."

"We all started at tracks like these and we've all been fans at race tracks like this, so it's good to get back and check it out from this side every once in a while," said NASCAR driver Marin Truex Junior.

Clint Bowyer won the race of champions. He beat Kenny Wallace, Martin Truex Jr., and Sterling Marlin.

It's safe to say that a lot of pictures were taken during the 45 minutes they were out on the track.

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