By Melissa Rollins, Editor, firstname.lastname@example.org
Thousands of fans filled Darlington Raceway over Labor Day Weekend, perhaps none more excited than Jeannette Good. A fan since before her teenage years, 72-year-old Good visited the track courtesy of Wish of a Lifetime, a nonprofit that grants life-enriching wishes to isolated seniors.
Her brother-in-law Stacey Timmerman served as her chauffeur as the pair traveled from Greenville to the Track Too Tough To Tame for the Bojangles’ Southern 500 on September 2.
Arriving around lunchtime they began their visit with a tour, seeing cars going through inspection in the Cale Yarborough Garage in preparation for the race.
Timmerman said that Good was not briefed on any of the visits itinerary so that everything was a surprise for the life-long NASCAR fan.
“Over the years, I’ve kept up with the sport so that I could talk with her about it,” Timmerman said. “She just loves it.”
After the tour, Good made a stop at the Driver’s Meeting Tent where she listened to a Q&A Session with two big names in NASCAR, retired drivers Mark Martin and Rusty Wallace. She got to meet both drivers and get her picture with them; both men also signed her shirt. Good joked that she would have to find a way to wash the shirt without washing the signatures away.
Having spent a lifetime attending races and listening to broadcasts of them, Good said that visiting the Lady in Black this year was especially meaningful.
“We just lost daddy in April,” Good said. “He would have been 95 in May. I like to say he was just a spring chicken and I just broke out of the egg last week. Coming to Darlington was always our dream. This was probably one of the more interesting wish requests that Wish of a Lifetime got.”
NASCAR provided a special connection for Good and her father.
“I have wanted to come to the Southern 500 since I was 12 so this is extremely special to me,” Good said. “Back when it was on Labor Day, daddy and I used to go outside with a portable radio and we’d wash cars and clean the carport. My mother hated racing. I was very close with both of my parents but for some reason mother just hated racing so we’d listen to it outside.”
With the throwback theme at Darlington Raceway, many of the colors schemes that Good knew many years ago were once again decking out the cars and car haulers. She recalled some of her favorite drivers of years past as well as some of the newer drivers that she sees promise in as she walked around the track. After a quick meal Good and Timmerman were ready for the race. As for the stifling heat, Good didn’t mind, ‘That’s just Labor Day in Darlington.’