Car culture tends to be soaked in testosterone, so we sometimes forget that, in most cases, the cars we love were designed by someone whose mother encouraged them to pursue their design and engineering talent. In motorsports too, while daddy may teach you the difference between a wrist pin and a connecting rod and when you should use a wrench instead of a pliers, it’s the mothers who let their sons (and increasingly daughters) go racing and then worry and pray about their safety. One of the more famous racing videos is of the finish of the 1993 Daytona 500, with retired racer and announcer Ned Jarrett making the call from the booth as his son Dale held off Dale Earnhardt Sr. to win stock car racing’s most prestigious race. Jarrett, a consummate professional, tried hard to maintain some impartiality during the broadcast until the last lap. Normally in the booth for commentary and color, Ned Jarrett didn’t usually do the play-by-play work but the directors turned the mic over to him for the final call from the backstretch. “It’s the Dale and Dale show as they come off of turn four… you know who I’m pulling for, it’s Dale Jarrett. Bring her to the inside, Dale, don’t let him get down there… He’s going to make it, Dale Jarrett’s going to win the Daytona 500. All right!” As if to prove my point, just as Dale Jarrett’s car crossed the finish line, the director of CBS’s broadcast cut not to his father Ned in the announcers’ booth but rather to Martha Jarrett, Dale’s mom, sitting in a van, too nervous to watch the action on the track, as Ned Jarret says, “Look at Martha! Oh dear.”
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