This article belongs to In Search of Laughs! column.
(And it has very little to do with NASCAR)
NASCAR's famed Nextel Cup Championship goes to Jimmie Johnson of
One of those new fans was my friend, Rita Applegate. At the age of eighty-three, Rita was not actually the typical kind of fan NASCAR expects, or pursues. She learned about Cup races from her daughter, a true motorhead (racing fan) since the old "High-groove" Harry Gant days. They even saw a Cup race together at The California Speedway in
By some divine coincidence, Jimmie's grandmother, Barbara, belonged to the same church as Rita: Santa Sophia, in nearby Casa De Oro, a hilly suburb of
Jimmie and the 48 car did very well this year. (With Rita's help.) He won ten races, including the last four before the season's closer, which if you didn't notice, was won by that darn Matt Kennseth in the #17 car. Jimmie married Chandra and gave her the year of his life as a driver. His twenty-six career wins make him the only driver in the modern era to win at least three times in each of his first five seasons. Jimmie always thanks his fans. He says they give him a lot of motivation.
In October this year, Rita was diagnosed with cancer. Two weeks ago, she fell and broke her hip. Ten days later, on Monday, she passed away. But, on Sunday, the day before, mother and daughter watched the
Rita Applegate, widow of Coe, is survived by her beloved daughter Denise, from
I'm not the kind of guy to idolize, or even follow athletes much. But, I am a Mom fan, and I was a fan of Rita Applegate! Rita was a Jimmie Johnson fan. She was even a member of his fan club. (Rita didn't like the hats!) Maybe, in some small way, perhaps Jimmie was one of Rita's heroes.
For the distraction Mr. Johnson gave Rita and her Denise at the most critical times, I thank him from the bottom of my heart. Thanks Jimmie! Keep doin' what you do! It gives more people joy, than you will ever know! You da man! For the thrills and hopes that he gave to Rita Applegate, I will always follow his career.
That's why Jimmie Johnson is now my heroÖfor what he did for Rita!