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For the Times They Are A-Changin'


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For The Times They Are A Changin' August 9, 2004 Amy Richcreek

I was fortunate enough to be asked to drive for an article in High Performance Pontiac magazine this past March. They needed six women from across this part of the United States and I was thrilled! Their first comprehensive article on women in racing, it was a big honor to be asked. Despite my recent heart and lung illnesses and upcoming surgery, there was no way I was going to miss out. I called the surgeon and postponed my gallbladder surgery. April 29th dawned bright, cool and clear - perfect weather for making maximum horsepower. High Performance Pontiac had rented all of Norwalk Raceway Park for the photoshoot and racing. Norwalk, as always, would have the track in tip-top shape for this event. I couldn't wait to return to my favorite track!

We unloaded the car and headed up to the starting line for the driver's meeting. I was dismayed to find how quickly I now became fatigued, how short of breath I was when attempting to walk what had been my regular long-distance pace. The last time I had been at Norwalk before this was seven months prior in August, at the Nationals. I slowed down considerably, took it as sign of the times and an omen of things to come. If I became this tired, this slow, in the April cool; how would I ever handle the Nationals in the August heat and humidity? I figured I'd better be getting Plan B together as Plan A was too pokey to be acceptable on those long, long stretches of concrete and asphalt.

Fast forward to August at the Norwalk Nationals 2004:

My cousins let me borrow their John Deere 4 x 6 Gator for a pit vehicle. Let me tell you, you get respect driving a monster like that. Our friend Paul Spotts let me pit crew for him with his vintage front engine dragster since both our cars were broken. The Gator was my perfect disguise - all I did was make sure we had everything loaded in the cargo bay then sit down and drive. "Everything" for driving a front engine dragster at those speeds is kinda like putting on the armor of God: helmet, fire suit, fire gloves and shoes, arm restraints, neck roll, toolbox, tire pressure gauge/air tank box, battery/starter box and ice cold Powerade. I'd tow us up to the staging lanes, walk about 15 feet, help Paul with his suit and safety equipment, make sure he was in the shade as much as possible, then walk back another 15 feet and sit down in the Gator. I'd do other easy, menial tasks, like handing tools off, helping with the jackstands and floor jack, dumping in the oil when the oil needed changing, picking up the skinny front tires when they needed changing. Between that and chasing the dragster down the return road and towing it back to the pits I really looked like I was doing something. Hah! No one had any idea that I would have trouble walking and shortness of breath at the track. And I am still in the middle of the sport that I love.

Not that I complain of want; for I have learned, in whatever state I am, to be content. I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound; in any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and want. I can do all things in him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:11-13

Now my friend, can you find me a corresponding thought in the Old Testament? I am sure that there must be one somewhere........I'd love to hear it!

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hopefully, you will not mind my butting in. last year at this time i was so ill, i was sure i was going to die. i am not a whole lot better now, but then i had had to stop working, we had to sell our house and we had to sell our car and get cheaper ones. i have to tell you, i loved that car. it was a subaru r/s and i know my husband loved it too. so there i was, sitting useless, day after day, after working my whole life, watching my husband work so hard, knowing it was my fault we had to sell our house and get a cheaper car. i felt like Job, i must say. although Job was such a righteous man and never doubted the Lord. then one saturday in september i found out that my very best friend had just had a tragedy no mother should go through. her son had killed someone. you would have to know this man to find it so incredibly unbelievable. he had called her to tell him he had to kill himself and just wanted to hear her voice one more time. she talked him into turning himself in and he was placed on suicide watch. she has three other adult children, but they have never been a real support for her. she traveled 10 hours to where he was with her daughter. her daughter made it clear she could only stay a couple days. i looked at my husband and he said pack your things. he called his work and took a day off and drove me down there and brought her daughter back. we stayed for a week and a half. we had to go clean and empty the house where this nightmare occured. she was not allowed to see or talk to joshua. she just moved like a zombie. i made her eat and shower, and even tho i was feeling so awful, i made her take me shopping. i tripped and whacked my big toe and fractured it. and as much as it hurt, i heard her laugh for the first time in days, because i was laughing so hard , even tho it was sooo painful. after 10 days, i convinced her that she could do no more and needed to come home. she agreed. when we got back, she held me for 10 minutes and said i never could have done this without you. joshua is still in jail awaiting his trial. they can find no one to say anything for the prosecution, not even the family of the victim. he is going to be in prison for a long time. the chances are she will not see him free in her lifetime. my husband came to get me from her house and as we were driving home, he said how were you able to function? i said i just prayed everyday for the Lord to give me the strength to help my friend. and he said, look at it this way. you always question why you became so ill. if you had not, you would have been working, we would have had a car with bald tires that wouldn't have gotten us to oregon, and we wouldn't have had a little extra money we got the day before this happened from selling the house. you would not have been able to be there at all for your friend. i must tell you i walked around on that broken toe for 4 days and waited till i got home to check it out. my friend said, if it was broken i wouldn't be able to walk. it was a very bad break actually and i was in a cast for 8 weeks! when i got home i was very ill and really don't think i've ever recovered, but while i was there i did things i never thought i could. and if i wasn't plagued by illness, and things hadn't happened like they did, i never could have been there for my very best friend.

Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, The Creator of the ends of the earth, neithers faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might, He increases strength. Even the youths shall be faint and weary, and the young men shall utterly fall, But those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:28-31 morgan

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I just wanted to thank you both for those beautiful and inspiring stories. wow! i felt so honored, amy, that you posted that for me! what a gift.

i shared them with my mom (who is not spiritual like i am) and she was just crying her eyes out...i hope it is okay with both of you that i shared them with her.

i wanted you both to know that i will respond more to both of you soon...and that i wasn't ignoring your wonderful kindness, herdswoman/amy...

i just hadn't had the steam yet! and i need to hit the sack now...i just wanted to thank you and let you know...more to come from my end!


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Emily, you are most welcome.

BTW: The HPP issue with me in it came out today. Hmm... very odd, looking at it, kinda surreal. The three of us ladies with traditional racecars were definitely birds of a feather. Adrenalin freaks, experience junkies and all around nice gals. Funny, but the young girls with the newer front wheel drive cars just sorta stayed away from the old babes in the fire jackets, lol.

Here is another "parable" that I wrote after the Nationals and a picture of the dragster that I got to play with:

(I can't seem to copy and paste the pic here.....so you can go to www.spottsperformance.com and click on the button on the left 'Spotts Dragster" Awesome machine!)

Paul Spotts Personal Best August 7, 2004 - Amy Richcreek

For those of you who haven't met him, Paul Spotts is very cool, a kind, strong and gentle man, a very interesting mix of adult ADD and nitromethane. He's also a single father of three gorgeous teen/preteen daughters and a nationally known builder of race engines. Paul let me pit crew with him on the dragster this year at the Pontiac Nationals as our car was broken. I had the use of a 4x6 wheel John Deere Gator as a pit vehicle, so we used that to tow the dragster up the starting line and then after a race, back to our pit area. An acquaintance, Mike Nixon, had his son Trey there in his wheelchair (Trey has severe cerebral palsy.) So Friday night at the barbeque I quietly asked Paul if we could take Trey on a run with us, he could sit in the Gator next to me when we went up to the starting line. Paul said sure. So first thing Saturday morning, Trey was waiting for us with his parents, wheelchair, leg braces and all. Trey had the time of his life - about made me nuts asking questions at first, but it was more than well worth it. Then all he kept saying was "Wow" really stretched out, like "Waaahhooowwww".

We started setting personal best records with the dragster, three of them back to back. Finally ended up with a time of 7.36 seconds at around 188 mph - and for covering only 1320 feet, that is WAAAAHOOOOW for sure!

I saw Trey later that afternoon, slumped over in his wheelchair. He didn't see me until I said "There's my co-pilot!" He snapped upright, eyes shining behind his trifocals, grinning ear to ear. "Paul did GOOD!" he exclaimed. "Yes he did" I replied, thinking about this young man's happiness and how he'll remember being in the staging lanes with us - no Mom or Dad, just a regular part of the crew right down to his ear muffs. I thought about how we set those records right afterwards, one after another, only on alcohol - not even using nitromethane. I thought about the old saying 'What goes around, comes around.' "Yes," I thought, "Paul did real good."

So what was the personal best? I think that is for each reader to decide. For myself, I know that there are very few people who would take a handicapped child and put him in the middle of their Quick 16 agenda, ever, let alone at a national event. But I also know that Ray Cox took him for a ride in the pits and let him purge out an entire bottle of nitrous - just for the fun of pushing the button, hearing that really cool hissing sound and watching the cold crystal mist fly up in the air. Well done, gentlemen!

And the King will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.' Matthew 25:40

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