I thought a lot about the most memorable events of September 12 at Carteret County Speedway. My mind kept replaying the vision of Craig Lendino's ear to ear smile when asked if he had a good time at the end of the night. Some people tend to focus on what Craig can't do because of Down syndrome. When we see Craig, we focus on what he can do -- and what he wants to do.
We first met Craig at Martinsville Speedway in 2013 and kept in touch over the years. He's been a regular visitor for our races at Carteret near his home on North Carolina's Crystal Coast. When Craig and his friend, Tammy, came to the track on Saturday, we put him to work as an honorary crew member. He helped push the car to pre-race technical inspection, assisted our indefatigable car chief Dan Givens with changing tires, and stood by his favorite driver prior to entering the tech bay. He also got to show off some dance moves in the short music interlude over the track's public address system prior to the invocation.
Craig was able to meet CARS Tour owner Jack McNelly, and even visited Victory Lane. A very special thank you to Layne Riggs and his team for including Craig in the celebration. It might have seemed like a small gesture, but it meant the world to see Craig enjoying the moment in Victory Lane.
We loved seeing Craig included in so many things during his visit to the track. I think what makes our race team a family is how we strive to make everybody feel like Craig did on Saturday.
Craig, you truly made our day/night at Carteret a special one. One team, one family. Forevermore.