Motorsports: Heartwarming father-daughter story

Who says racing has no social relevance? Here's a heart-warming story of a father-daughter reunion that was brought about by racer Don Sak, who put a picture of Tori Wollingur on the dashboard of his Speedvision World Challenge Corvette for the Detroit race.

Just a month later Tori was reunited with her father. Sak Racing partnered with Valvoline and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, donating the hoods and dashboards of Don and Bobby Sak's World Challenge Corvettes and Don's Trans-Am Camaro in an effort to assist in the search for missing children. Apparently, race cars work a lot better than milk cartons. Now that Tori is back with her father, the team has displayed pictures of Amber Jean Swartz-Garcia on their cars at the recent Sears Point race. Let's hope they get similar results.

The last-ever (maybe) CART race at Michigan proved to be another edge-of-your-seat nailbiter. Patrick Carpentier found himself in the right place on the last lap and managed to slingshot into the lead at the checker.

Last week I mentioned how the drivers hate racing at Michigan with the Handford Device, but it makes for exciting racing! My main man, Memo Gidley, was right there in the thick of things for the first half, leading 68 laps until problems dropped him to a 14th place finish, four laps back.

Watching the race, I had a niggling memory itch, so I went back to check some old records, and verified that in 1995 I drove in an Endurance race at Sears Point, with my team finishing seventh overall. Co-driving to a second place in the same event was none other than Memo Gidley. So I'm proud to say that I shared a track with the latest American CART star (and waved him by every time he came up to lap me).

CART is already moving to replace the loss of Detroit and Michigan.

Negotiations are well underway for a seven-year contract to run through the streets of Denver, starting on Labor Day weekend in 2002. CART ventured into the Denver market with a street race in 1990-91, tying up downtown traffic for a week each time. $100,000 in street improvements are earmarked to alleviate future problems, and the Denver City Council is asking questions about the cancellations of the Rio and Texas races, to ensure that they're not party to any future lawsuits. Pretty soon the lawyers will have everybody too scared to do anything.

It's still to early to give NBC Sports a report card on its NASCAR coverage, but early indications are that it has managed to maintain the impressive ratings that FOX had built in the first half of the season. It scored an impressive 5.6 national rating for its Chicagoland Speedway telecast, making it the highest rated sports program of the weekend and the highest

May-to-November afternoon NASCAR rating since the first Brickyard 400 on ABC in 1994. But although the ratings were high, most racing experts give NASCAR low marks for artistic merit at both Chicagoland and Loudon.

Loudon, site of two driver deaths last season, is not a favorite of drivers, either.

"It needs about 10 degrees of banking, in my mind," says Jeff Gordon. "A flat, tight, long-straightaway race track for Winston Cup cars is not suitable. These are not the conditions we need to put on a side-by-side race."

Other drivers voiced similar sentiments. With more and more venues clamoring for Winston Cup events, one wonders how much longer Loudon can remain on the schedule.

Indy Racing League driver and Supermodified Racing League owner/driver Davey Hamilton underwent a successful surgery last Wednesday on his right foot and ankle at Indianapolis Methodist Hospital. It is hoped that this will be the final reconstructive surgery required as a result of his crash six weeks ago, which necessitated multiple operations to reconstruct his feet. Hamilton has raced locally at Champion Speedway in Supermodified cars, and holds the outright course record at the track. If you would like to send him good wishes and expressions of support, write him at:

Davey Hamilton, Indy Racing League, 4565 West 16th Street,

Indianapolis, Ind. 46222.

Or email to:

Roger Diez is the Nevada Appeal's motorsports columnist.


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