Al Michalchuk - I learned that you don't have to be loud to be spectacular. A mechanical genius. Fearless. Did it all with ingenuity and courage, rather than $, at a time when everyone else was turning to speedshop parts, and specialists. It met something to me back in 1973 when I first realized it, and that concept of "getting it done with less" still means something to me today. The memories I had of him driving the #292 coupe and Gremlin 25 years later would be the inspiration for creating 3 Wide's Picture Vault.
George Curtis - Sat with George in Section 3/4 at Flemington. He and his wife would got there early and would save 2 seats for my dad and I every week at Flemington. George would also give me a ride to East Windsor on Sunday afternoons before I was old enough to drive and when I didn't have a ride. He was from Staten Island, which when I was a kid, I kinda thought was another country (Still do - sorry Roger!). He had a vibe of "success" around him, but never snooty. He loved racing. When I was a kid, I would draw pictures of racecars with my name as the driver, and I'd write, "Car Owner: George Curtis."
Russ Dodge - He's done everything there is to do in racing, and once he stepped away from being involved directly, he became a true historian of the sport of short track stock car racing. (I'm no historian... I'm a guy with a website and a lot of friends/racing folks who know a lot more about stuff than I do, and I give them a place to share that information.) Russ is a true historian. Knows well beyond the surface level about people, tracks, organizations, and has personal stories and direct experiences with anyone who was ever anyone in the sport. There's no BS'ing Russ, and I like that. He also taught me a lot about how to read people... and the son of a gun is always right!
Paul Irving - A true free spirit... Absolute heart of gold... Easy going... Sees the good in everything... Wish I could be like that, but that's never been easy for me.... A true artist in every way you can apply the word... Painter, photographer... and his words. He sees the world as an artist, and we're fortunate that he found Victory Speedway IMiddletown) as a child, and that he has never let the excitement he has for the sport fade away.
Bob Caramella - Has the biggest heart than anyone I know, and what's so special about Bob is that he uses that big heart to help so many folks that are in such need. Bob and his terrific family started RJC Charities, and I have no idea how much they have raised over the years, but I know the dedication, and compassion that Bob has for folks that need help. Even away from the RJC, he has helped those he works with who have gotten laid off... He's helped those he knew who had a fire and lost their possessions... He is just one of those guys that always is there to help, and I am just amazed that there are folks like Bob in the world today.
Kevin Eyres - I won't say much, but Kevin is one of the finest people I've ever met and proud to consider him a good friend. Does a lot of good for folks and asks for nothing in return.... Just puts his head down and gets it done... A hard worker... a hustler in the best sense of the word... Never wastes a day... Never wastes a minute... Always on the go, but still finds time to help others. Not sure how he does it. He's another guy that in a good way, without realizing it, challenges me to think about the way I go through the day... the week... the life.
Thanks for providing the question to us Tuckahoe Tom. Gave us all a chance to think about some great folks who we never would have met if it wasn't for racing.