It was 2006 and I worked in a salon with a gal, who was dating this guy, who started driving dirt track race cars that year. Knowing I was a car gal – and she didn’t want to go by herself – she asked me to go to the races with her almost every Saturday night that summer. I loved it and had a great time trying to figure it all out, asked a lot of questions and wanted to learn more.
Earlier that summer I had been through another crazy stupid relationship, and was so done with all the drama. So it was nice to just work and play without worrying about a relationship (something I wish I had learned many years sooner) and of course I was still a little bitter about everything. The last race of the year was at a track about 3 hours South of home. I was scheduled to volunteer at a Habitat house, but my friend begged me to go with her, she said it was a huge party and a 2 day race that weekend – so I went.
Many people had motor homes and haulers there to be able to camp at the track, so after the races Friday night, there was a large group of people just hanging out and of course having a few drinks. This is where the story gets interesting, and there seems to be his story and then my story… It’s my blog so I will tell mine first.
A bunch of us were standing around laughing and having a good time when this guy steps in and adds to the conversation. I asked him what his name was and he said with huge swagger “they call me Lightnin”. I had a good laugh at him, then asked if he had a real name – he said “John”. He proceeded to follow me around for a while and I gave him hell. I kept telling him that I wasn’t impressed by him being a race car driver and that if he was looking for some groupie to follow him around and fawn all over him it wasn’t going to be me. Later a bunch of us were walking around to visit with other camps, and he took me over to see his car…. There sat the 36 – with the name “Lightnin” over the driver door…. I had seen this guy race many times in the past few months – and he was good. And they really did call him Lightnin. Damn. By Saturday night he told me he really liked me (and I liked him too) so I threw the book at him and asked him all the hard questions I could think of right then and there. Do you believe in God? Do you have a job? Do you like my hair? Where do you live? Ever been to jail? What color are my eyes? And so on… He stood there and answered all of them with complete honesty. I guess it didn’t freak him out to bad, he called me that next week and we saw each other that next weekend.
The way he tells the story: once he told me who he was, it was all over and I begged to hang out with him for the rest of the weekend.
Three years later we went to that same race, same last weekend of September. Three years to the day, in a motel 6, with NASCAR on the TV in the background, Lightnin proposed. I of course said yes, and we proceeded to party like rock stars with the rest of our race family in the bar at the fancy hotel next door. I think I even asked one of the guys to be my maid of honor. Epic Weekend.
Best yes I ever said…
Post Script: He is going to want me to tell you, he had 2nd fast time that weekend, started on the pole and was taken out in the main event by another driver, and his car landed on top of the other car. He was ok, but the car was not in good shape. He may have got me with a bit of sympathy too… This is a pic of the 36 on top.