If my dad were still alive I'm sure nothing would please him more on Father's Day than to be watching some stock car action from the grandstands or on the television screen. There were several Father's Days that mom and dad spent at a track somewhere in the mountains of North or South Carolina.
I expect he would be amazed at the amount of coverage the sport he loved so much gets today. When he died in 1988 the networks didn't televise all of the events and there was no coverage of qualifying and practice sessions. The few in-car cameras that were in use those days were often out of focus or fuzzy and there were none of those fancy graphics that display speed and other information from inside the racecar.
There were many Sundays when dad would try to get his pickup parked in just the right spot so he could get a clear signal from the radio station in Greenville that carried the NASCAR broadcast. He'd roll down the windows and turn it up loud as he took his place in one of those folding lounge chairs for the duration of the contests.
As you might expect, a majority of the memories of my father revolve around racing and cars. When Father's Day comes around each year I think of my first ride in a racecar. Dad lifted me through the window and I stood up holding onto a rollbar as Cecil "Flash" Gordon took me around one of the Carolina tracks.
I hope I'll always remember the day that I got to ride with Tiny Lund. Dad made sure I found the line to take the ride because he knew Tiny was one of my heroes. What he probably didn't know was how much of a hero my father was to me then and now.
My mind raced back to those good ole days last week as I watched the reaction of my son after his Richard Petty Driving Experience. He had been able to take eight laps around Atlanta Motor Speedway in one of Dale Earnhardt's old cars. A photo showed him propped up on the No. 8 machine as he prepared to drive. All I could think at the time was how proud his grandfather would have been because he had propped himself up against another No. 8 so many years ago as he traveled the short-track circuit with Dale Jr.'s granddad Ralph.
Awesome Bill Update: Bill Elliott had ARCA racing star Frank Kimmel standing by in case his broken foot started aching, but the relief driver wasn't needed in Pocono. Elliott started eighth and finished 19th in the Pennsylvania run. He collected five bonus points for leading two laps and advanced into 22nd-place in the Winston Cup point standings.
Jawga Boys: Cobb County's Bill Lester was the top-finishing Georgia driver in the Craftsman Truck Series race at Texas. Lester started 13th and finished 12th in the 167-lap run at Texas Motor Speedway.
It was a rough ride for the two Georgians running the Busch race at Nashville. Qualifying for the event was rained out. Rockdale County's Ron Young started 31st and finished 22nd. Henry County's Joey Clanton started 19th, but his hopes for a good finish were out the window after an early-race crash. Clanton left with 27th-place pay.
Herb Emory, a traffic reporter and host of the Allan Vigil 120 racing show on WSB AM-750, is a guest columnist.