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It will be an emotional night at Mt. Pleasant Speedway

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Published in The Morning Sun - Thursday, July 12,2012
 

This was his spot.

It was here where my husband’s name and picture was placed next to a race column he faithfully wrote every Friday for the past few years.

JEREMY H. DICKMAN
Sun News Editor

It was here that he proudly wrote about the night when young Andy Galgoci edged out multiple-time Mt. Pleasant Speedway track champion Rich Robinson Jr. for his first career modified feature win. It was also here that with a heavy heart he wrote about the passing of one of his heroes, local race legend Dennis Boyce.

Today, I will try and make him proud as I step in.

Tonight will be a special and emotional night for many at the Mt. Pleasant Speedway. Family, friends, race fans and drivers will gather to pay tribute to my best friend, husband Jeremy “Jake” Dickman who passed away on March 5, 2012 just 53 days before Mt. Pleasant Speedway’s opening night. Opening night at the speedway was a night Jake longed for since he was a child.

As I sit here searching for the right words, I think about the first time Jake took me to the races at Mt. Pleasant. It was opening night 2001. I have never seen someone so excited. You would have thought it was Christmas morning. That night I learned why Jake loved this sport and the track so much. It was his grandpa, Carl McCrumb, who passed down his passion for racing to Jake. McCrumb was a former racer in the 1950s and 1960s in the old Jalopy Class. Before he died in1998, he spent every Friday night in the stands year after year at Mt. Pleasant with Jake along with Jake’s mom Cathy Dickman and grandma Phyllis McCrumb.

After opening night in 2001, Jake and I started going to the races together every Friday night. We became more and more involved with the track every year. He had already been running the Mt. Pleasant Speedway web site, so we decided to team up and run it together. He wrote the stories and added content while I took all the pictures. In 2002 we began to sponsor the Mt. Pleasant Speedway Rookie of the Year Awards, and for a few years we had the honor of judging “Best Looking Car” for each class. We did anything and everything we could to support and promote the track and its drivers and I will continue to do so.

As hard as it is to be at the track without him beside me, I still go because it’s where we would normally be on a Friday night. His spirit and energy is all around there, so it’s also comforting to be there. The VIP booth will never be the same, but if I close my eyes tight enough I can still see him sitting there beside me.

I know Jake hoped to pass his passion for racing down to our four-year-old daughter Maggie. He often talked about getting Maggie in a racecar one day. That thought made me a little nervous. We took Maggie along with us last year to the races for the first time, and I could see the pride in Jake’s face as he and Maggie leaned over together and watched. I am so grateful we shared that moment together as a family. That picture will never fade away.

It was also Jake’s hope that I too would one day climb into a racecar. Quite a few years back I did participate in a “Fun Night” powder puff race at Mt. Pleasant, but it was this year on June 15 I had the opportunity to drive on a real race night. With the help and encouragement from great friends Andy Galgoci and Chris Ryan, I took the field in Kyle Galgoci’s #13 Stock 4. Kyle was out of town that night, so he and his dad Todd were happy to let me use their car. When I crossed the finish line and saw the checkered flag fly that night in the feature emotions ran high. I could just picture him standing there waiting for me in the pits proud and excited.

Getting back to tonight. The Mt. Pleasant Speedway is located at 4658 East River Road. Gates open at 4 p.m., qualifying starts at 6:30 p.m., and racing starts at 7:45 p.m. Late models $3000 to win, Modifieds $2000 to win, and Stock 4’s $200 to win.

For each feature race, Jake’s car will be pacing the field. I’ll be driving, and I know he’ll be riding shotgun with me.

This is a poem I read at Jake’s funeral, and was a favorite of his.

“NASCAR Poem for Your Pocket” by Mary Jo Buchanan

May the track rise up to meet you

May every lap be caution free.
May you never hang a lug nut

Or having a speeding penalty.
May the track be ready and fast

And your fuel cell always full.

May you never be tight or wicked loose

Or have your car push or pull.
May you always go green, green, green

With no rain and only sun.
May you keep all four tires on the track

And never be in the Big One!
May you never lose the draft

Or your drafting partner friend.

And may you see that checkered flag

When the race is at the end.
May your heart race when engines roar

And your love of racing never wane.

May we meet again around the turn

That ends in Victory Lane!
….So tonight we will celebrate his life the way he would have wanted. With engines roaring, dust flying and the smell of race fuel.

By DEBBIE DICKMAN