Thank You Jeff

I wasn't exactly looking forward to updating the site after the Charlotte race. After all, there's nothing satisfying in writing about a 39th place finish and a 354 point deficit. But I received an email that changed my outlook. In the tunnel-vision world of NASCAR, wins and losses are often measured by on-track performance. It's a results-oriented business without a doubt. But there's another aspect of racing that's more important than on-track results. Linda McKinney reminded me of that in an email this week. I'd like to share her message with you.

Hello to you and my favorite driver,

About this time last year, I was thinking that Jeff should deck Rusty Wallace (after Richmond) and you pointed out very wisely the height advantage that Rusty has! This year, even though Jeff is having his troubles, I want him to know he still plays a major part in peoples lives and touches them in ways he isn't even aware of.

Because of NASCAR, I can share the sport with my grandsons and not be required to play cars anymore in the dirt with them or play the cowboys and indian trip, where of course grandma gets shot and tied up a lot! Now we watch the races and bond together. Each of my three grandsons have their favorite drivers. "BooBear," who's 8 years old, loves Dale Earnhardt and Quen, who's 6 years old, is a Bobby Labonte fan.

And then there is Cory, my other 8 year old grandson. He loves #24 (a lot has to do with the fact that Jeff is my favorite). And this is where my heart felt thanks goes to Jeff. I know he signs alot of stuff and like all the drivers, I'm sure it gets to be a lot at times. Because I'm lucky enough to know Rex Severts, who works with my husband and is related to Benny Parsons, he helped make a little boys dream come true. And to me it is the reason that makes this so extra special.

As a grandparent, I want to always be the hero to our little critters. When I asked Cory what he wanted for Christmas this year, he said, "a shirt from Jeff Gordon." If I lived somewhere close to the races I'd be there for them all. But living in Alaska, it is a little expensive to fly south to catch a race.

I talked to Rex about this never dreaming in a million years that he could get a shirt signed by Jeff. But with Rex's help, Cory has a signed and framed shirt for Christmas. When I first asked Cory, "Why a Jeff Gordon shirt?" he said, "Grandma, he believes in God." We had never talked about that before, but needless to say, it made this grandma cry.

Up here in the state of Alaska, where nobody down south has figured out that we really are the 50th state, Jeff has touched the heart of a little boy. And as I said last year to you, "Good things happen to good people."

Besides all the glory that comes from NASCAR, Jeff is playing a bigger part in people's lives. He is a positive role model and for that I wish to thank him. Good is still ahead for him. He's appreciated and has people pulling for him. Thank him for me and tell him it will get better.


Linda McKinney

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