You've read stories here over the years congratulating folks on winning a hard earned championship, and you'll notice that those mentioned here actually race and even live like true champions. Finishing the season with the most points at a track will earn you that title and a nice trophy, but these guys know there's much more to it than counting points. I've lost count on how many championships Mike Miller has won over the years, (and he just might snag another one this year if all goes well) but the respect he's earned in the pits has little to do with a trophy count. His personality, respect for others, and willingness to help anybody are much bigger factors. It doesn't hurt that he could wheel a fuggin dump truck to the front of any field either. ;-)
At the start of this season I got to know Modified driver Randy Smart as you might have read earlier on this site. If anybody at Midvale Speedway reminds me of Miller, it would have to be Randy. This young fella is not only smooth, he's just plain relentless when he can smell the front of the pack. He will get there, and do it without roughing up the rest of the field. Always a class act on and off the track, Smart has won championships before, and earned plenty of respect along the way too. The Modifieds are such a close group when it comes to performance it takes something extra to stand out all season long. Randy did just that. He started out the season on a terror, winning 4 of the first 5 features. Before long others were looking to take away any advantage Smart may have on the track. Hell, the track was even kind enough to provide him with one of their carbs towards the end of the season. ;-) Well, it turns out that they may have hampered his winning streak, but they couldn't take away his talent and determination. In a manner that reminded me once again of Miller, Randy made one hell of a statement on the final points night of the season. Not only did he once again set fast time, but he shattered the track record while he was at it. He mentioned his desire to do that early in the season, and I had no doubt that he'd pull it off. Hats off to ya Randy Smart for not only one hell of a season, but for doing it with class and dignity even when they tried to make it tough on ya!
The points are over at Midvale and conservative thinking is probably out the window at this point, so it should be interesting to see what Smart has in store for the competition this week. With the recent streak Miller has been on lately I'd bet he'll bring his best to the season ender this week too. Ya might not wanna miss this show!
On a sad note, news came yesterday that Ernie Coffman past away, and I gotta tell ya that I was shocked a little bit. It's sure as hell no secret that he and I didn't exchange Christmas cards. Hell, we didn't often agree on much of anything, but we always managed to treat each other with respect while fully understanding how much we disliked each others ideas. We may have called each other plenty of names over the years but we could at least talk things over, and then call each other names again on the way out. I'll miss that. ;-) Thoughts and prayers go out to the entire Coffman family.