Honor Their Hero “Their
Page To a Friend
Ten years after fate took away
our reigning Winston Cup champion the fans still
remember with a passion that is addictive! A full
house at the Greenfield Wisconsin Hooter’s
Restaurant sure reminds us that as the time goes
by the pain of loss might weaken, but thankfully
the memories of his greatness grow! Even the folks
that just stumbled across the festivities during
their regular Hooter’s run got in the spirit!
I want to take a moment to
thank everyone that took time from their busy
lives to honor Alan Kulwicki.
I want to thank Dennis
Mielcarek for letting us join him at the cemetery
and for doing all the heavy lifting to get things
set up for the get together.
I want to thank Sarah and the
folks at Hooter’s for their hospitality.
I want to thank Alan’s cousin
that shared a table with me; and an old friend
that shared her photographs and memories with me
I want to thank everyone there
for making this “FIB” feel welcome; I didn’t even
tell them I hate the Bears! (Go Packers!) “FIB”
does mean “Friendly Illinois Buddy,” right?
The evening started with one of
Dennis Mielcarek’s AK videos, the interview Benny
Parson did with Alan after his Championship.
Listening to AK’s words about the future was very
spooky. I started pondering what would the future
have been like if Alan was still alive today. A
few times I had to choke back a few tears, but
looking around I saw I wasn’t alone!
It was then my turn to share a
few thoughts with the audience. I admit I felt out
of place speaking in front of so many people that
knew Alan a whole lot better than I did. I
received so many E-mails from people from all over
the country that wished they could be there with
us, that was my way of bringing them along in
spirit. There was a lady named Stacy that named
her daughter Bristol Allyn in honor of AK. Larry
and Pam Bean who restored Alan’s famous
“Underbird” to its original condition sent their
thoughts. But the most poignant words came from
Alan himself. “Obstacles are what you see when you
take your eyes off the goal.”
The second of Dennis
Mielcarek’s memorable videotapes was one I had not
seen before. It was a tribute to AK done by the
local media in Milwaukee. Such great scenes of
Alan doing things “His Way.” When Garth Brooks
“The Dance” played along with the scenes of AK and
his family it was a moving moment. All these
pictures moving past reminding us once again how
fleeting life can be. Once again I reflected back
on his life and how he got robbed of his chance to
bask in the glory of being the reigning champion.
A caravan of cars and trucks
left for the cemetery for the candle light vigil.
Many of the vehicles had “AK 7” all over them! It
was a bit spooky being at the gravesite at the
exact time ten years after the time of his death.
While a bit chilly it was decent weather by early
April standards in Milwaukee. So many fans came up
to me to share a thought, thank me, and just let
me know they were glad to have company to share
their memories of their hero! Thanks also to the
fan that led us in prayer.
The question remains, what made
Alan Kulwicki so special to so many people?
Here was a driver that avoided
the glare of the spotlight. A work-a-holic that
made money go farther than his competitors with a
good old-fashioned work ethic. Here was an
educated man that never forgot his common sense
values and who helped get him to the top. But most
of all, a man serves as an inspiration to many
people; whether they loved him or just watched him
race! Alan you sure did it your way…and we thank
you for the memories!
Frontstretch Enterprises, LLC
Dennis has followed NASCAR since the days
when you were lucky to get a snippet of a race on
ABC’s Wide World of Sports. His all time favorite
drivers in the old days were Buddy Baker, Donnie
Allison, and the “Silver Fox” David Pearson. A
certifiable racing junky, he can be found on many
summer evenings at Rockford Speedway.
Dennis is a fan of the sport more than any
particular driver. But a race season is not
complete unless Mark Martin, the Labontes, Dale
Earnhardt JR, Kevin Harvick, and Tony Stewart find
their way to Victory Lane!
can find his coverage every week on Tuesdays (Odds
and Ends) and Thursdays (Fantasy Insight) with
occasional feature stories tossed in from time to
time. you can E-mail Dennis at firstname.lastname@example.org