This coming Wednesday, June 8 many of the top short track racers in the Midwest will come together at Kalamazoo Speedway (MI). They will come together not just to race for a big check and shiny trophy, but to remember one of their own.
It has been over one year since veteran driver Gary Terry lost his life in an accident while providing instruction to a driver at the Richard Petty Driving Experience at Walt Disney World in Florida. Now, 14 months later, his home track in Kalamazoo, Michigan pays homage with a race in his name.
Earlier this Spring Kalamazoo Speedway announced the inaugural running of the Gary Terry “Follow Your Dreams” 125, as a tribute put together by the Terry family and the Speedway.
“When Gary started his career he started at Kalamazoo Speedway, he went to New Paris and several other tracks, but Kalamazoo was his home track,” said track owner and promoter Gary Howe. “He was somebody I felt one of the few that was going to go somewhere in motorsports. I’m good friends with his family and it was a tragic loss last year. His family approached us over the offseason, we put together a real neat race and I think it is going to be a fantastic event.”
The event is a straight-up 125-lap race featuring Kalamazoo’s ace division, the Outlaw Super Late Models, with a rules structure similar to the popular Kalamazoo Klash. Not only is the home track contingent expected to show up in force, but Howe expects entries to top over 40, with the best Outlaw stars coming from four Midwest states.
Howe is looking forward to finally having the chance not just to honor his good friend, but a family that has become an important part of the track.
“If he had any issue of not being a great racer, it was because he was too nice of a guy. He was a fantastic person,” said Howe. “He was one of those guys that loved life, he loved talking to people, joking, kidding around. He was one of those guys you could hope to have, as a track owner, to have four or five of them with families like his involved in your racetrack. He was not just a good, fast, or hard racer, but a good man and a good family, for the sport itself. That was him and still is the Terry family.”
Terry’s time at “The Zoo” was at its most prominent in the late 90’s where he collected wins in the track’s Sportsman and Super Late Model divisions. He also made starts in the ARCA/CRA Super Series and former ASA National Series and then moved south competing in the old NASCAR Autozone Elite Division Southeast Series where he set down roots in Florida.
-By Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com State Editor (CT, MA, LI); Twitter – @Connor51CT
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com