IN THE DRAFT: Families celebrated Hall of Fame weekend together

Feb. 13, 2013 @ 05:00 AM

Family. How many times do we sit back and think about family? We're usually too busy or the family gets so scattered about that we fail to think about what each family member might be doing or how they are doing?

This past weekend in Charlotte, the NASCAR Hall of Fame induction was more about families than it was about racing and it was very refreshing. To me it shed new light on what NASCAR is all about.

Sue and myself, along with Marty and Sandy Oldham spent the weekend in Charlotte celebrating with the Thomas family as Herb Thomas was inducted into the Hall of Fame. We all have read about Herb and his accomplishments on the track but I am willing to bet he was more proud of his family as they came together this weekend.

Joel and Vic Thomas told me several times prior to last weekend that they were almost as enthused about them seeing family as they were about their father's induction and it showed.

When Joel would tell me who was coming his face would light up because they all were going to celebrate as a family. We met several of the family and everyone was smiling and happy during the festivities. And it wasn't just the Thomas family, it was everyone!

Buck Baker was inducted by his son, Buddy, Leonard Wood by his nephew Eddie Wood, and Rusty Wallace by his son Greg. Cotton Owens induction was accepted by his grandson, Kyle Davis, who stated that although his opinion was biased his family thought that there was no better racer than his grandfather. But that was not the clincher.

Owens passed away not long after it was announced he was going into the Hall. Bud Moore went to see him. Due to a series of strokes, Owens had not spoken in awhile, but he smiled when Moore told him the news. As part of the NASCAR family, Moore welcomed another member to the Hall of Fame.

Throughout the weekend family was at the forefront of all of the activities. It was never more obvious than Sunday morning at the monument unveilings. Sue and myself attended the ceremony and saw the Wood family, the Owens family and the Thomas family as they had their pictures made around the engraved stone in the walkway. The one person who caught my attention most was Winston Kelly. He is the Director of the Hall of Fame and every time a family would have a picture made I noticed a tear in his eye. It was personal and it showed me how important the NASCAR family is to him and how much he shared in their joy.

No one was happier about having the family together than Joel Thomas. We saw him several times during the weekend and each time he was smiling because he had family around him. Sue and I saw several family members and they all said the same thing. They thanked NASCAR for putting the weekend together and making it a true memory. For one weekend Herb Thomas, Cotton Owens, and Buck Baker were brought back to life and the families will never forget the time together. For one weekend NASCAR was a family. Thanks to Joel and Vic for allowing us to be a part of the celebration of life and family.

Well, this is my last non-sarcastic column for this year. Next week we will get really serious as we start talking racing! Are you ready for the new car? Are you ready to figure out qualifying? Are you ready to make predictions or pick your fantasy team? Are you ready for some boogity boogity boogity? I could have went all night without being reminded of that! See you after qualifying and the Sprint Unlimited. Whatever that is.