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Mother's Day at the Speedway

By: Jeannie Broussal, Special to The Press Tribune
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The celebration of Mother’s Day extends even to the track at All American Speedway. This Saturday night, the Speedway will present every mother at the track with a flower and will recognize the mother attending with the most kids, the most grandkids, as well as the oldest mother in the crowd. A poll of the mothers of drivers on the track was unanimous - a win for their kid would be the best gift they could receive for Mother's Day. For Jan Owens, her wishes go even beyond that. "The best Mother's Day present for me would be to have my three sons come in first, second and third," Owens said. "Besides that, just being with them and sharing good family time together is the best thing." Owens is mother to Street Stock drivers Mickey Owens (No. 08), Kevin Owens (No. 21) and Randy Owens (No. 71). All mothers of racecar drivers want to see their children happy and succeed in whatever they are doing. With racing moms, it is a common thread. Owens, known as "Mama Owens" around the track, said racing is a great family event. She has not missed a single race since her boys started racing. It's her life. "I love racing,” Owens said. “I have a cousin who used to pit for A. J. Foyt, so I watched IndyCar racing with my father growing up." She also watched drag racing and raced a couple of times herself at Sacramento Raceway. Owens sometimes finds it extremely nerve-wracking watching her sons race, because they are racing against each other. "It wasn't as hard when they were racing in different divisions," she said. "My biggest fear is that one of them will take another one out. Home life wouldn't be so great if that happened, but I know they are good drivers and will stay out of trouble." Owens is proud of her sons' reputations of being clean drivers. "I'm very proud of the accomplishments that the boys have made," Owens said. "It makes me proud to see their success and the name that they have made for themselves. They are always willing to lend a hand to help other racers." Nancy Blamey is mother to No. 37 Bomber driver David Thompson and says watching her son race is very exciting, but also scary. Thompson was a passenger in a car that was hit by a drunk driver when he was 22, and he was hurt pretty badly, so she has reason to be afraid. Thompson started drag racing when he was 18 years old. His grandfather owned Baca's Racing Engines in Colma, south of San Francisco, and he grew up around drag racing and drag boat racing. Blamey says that after Thompson's father died, he took it upon himself to continue racing. He has been racing at circle tracks for just four years. He started out in Bombers for one year, switched to Street Stocks for a couple of years, then went back to Bomber racing. "When he's racing I am there," Blamey said. "It brings us together as a family, and makes us closer. Everyone in our family is supportive of David's racing. His grandparents are at every race, along with his wife, his three kids and his sister." Blamey loves when Thompson passes another car. She has an air horn that she blows whenever David goes by the grandstands. She also blows him a kiss when they line up for the race. "Seeing the smile on his face and seeing how excited he is before a race, with all the stuff that's gone on in his life, racing has lit his life up again," Blamey said. "I'm just so proud of him. Seeing my kids happy is the best Mother's Day present I could get.” Suzanne Scott, mother of Late Model driver No. 35 Matt Scott, said it's a lot of fun having a son who races. "When we first started out in Quarter Midgets it was a lot of packing and unpacking because we traveled a lot,” Suzanne Scott said. “We got to go a lot of places and see a lot of things we wouldn't normally get to see. It can be very emotional at the races, and it's a very busy lifestyle. I get nervous, but I can't say I have ever been afraid. I feel better about him being in a racecar than on the football field or on a motorcycle. Each year that goes by I feel a little more comfortable." Scott is another mom who is always at the track when her son is racing. She also said that time management was important because having a kid race takes a lot of time. "I support Matt wholeheartedly as far as racing goes,” Suzanne said. “You always want the best for your kids. I think every mom does. You want them to be happy." Scott said her favorite Mother's Day presents have always been gifts that her children have made. One year Matt and his sister made breakfast for her at a track in San Jose and Matt gave her his winning trophy that day. Jonathan Mawhinney drives the No. 17 Late Model car. His mother Cindi Peterson said racing is stressful as well as exciting. She grew up in a racing family and is at the racetrack every weekend with about 30 family members and friends. He was the state champion in Nevada and has been racing since he was 12. "It's scary the first day of every division he's raced in,” Peterson said. “His first Late Model race was the scariest." While she enjoys Mawhinney’s racing successes, there are other accomplishments that please her even more. "He's very grounded," Peterson said. "He's had great mentors who have taught him a lot. He volunteers at schools, coaches his twin sister and brother in basketball, and goes to Shriner's Hospital at Christmas time. He wants to give back because he knows how lucky he is.” During the race season the family's life revolves around her son's racing. "Everyone in the family is involved with his racing,” Peterson said. “His 85-year old grandfather regularly attends Mawhinney's races.” Karen Henry has two sons racing at All American Speedway. Justin, 19 and Travis, 21. Travis races the No. 07 Street Stock and Justin races the No. 31 Late Model. Both boys have been racing since they were kids, with both boys starting out in Quarter Midgets. "Our lives are all about racing and has been for the last 12 years," Karen said. "I love the excitement and the competition involved in racing. I like to see them do well. Travis built his own race car and maintains the car and to see him do it himself is really exciting.” Karen Henry also said she thinks racing has kept her family close. "We've always done stuff together as a family--camping, gold mining, and racing,” she said. Saturday, All American Speedway will feature the NASCAR Whelen All American Late Model Series fifth championship race. Also racing will be Modifed, Street Stocks, Bombers and NCMA Sprint Cars. Gates open at 4 p.m. and racing begins at 6 p.m. For more information go to: www.allamericanspeedway.com.