SMART PICK PUTS BALTIMORE FAN ON TARGET FOR $50,000 PRIZE Former Air Force pilot to share jackpot with Brack as winner of MCI-Pep Boys contest INDIANAPOLIS, Nov. 20, 1998 - Baltimore's Ronald Ace hit his target many times during two ...
SMART PICK PUTS BALTIMORE FAN ON TARGET FOR $50,000 PRIZE
Former Air Force pilot to share jackpot with Brack as winner of MCI-Pep Boys contest
INDIANAPOLIS, Nov. 20, 1998 - Baltimore's Ronald Ace hit his target many times during two stints as an Air Force pilot in Vietnam.
Now he's done it again.
Ace is the winner of $50,000 in the MCI-Pep Boys Million Dollar Driver Sweepstakes contest conducted during the 1998 Pep Boys Indy Racing League season, which ended Oct. 11 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Fans filled out a contest ballot either in Pep Boys stores or on the MCI and Pep Boys Internet sites, picking the Pep Boys IRL driver they thought would win league races at Charlotte, Atlanta and Las Vegas. If a single driver won all three, then one entrant who picked him would split a $1 million payoff with the driver. Two victories brought a split of $100,000.
Ace filled out a ballot at a Pep Boys store near his home and chose A.J. Foyt driver Kenny Brack to sweep the three races. Brack won at Charlotte and Atlanta but finished 10th at Las Vegas.
Still, that was good enough to deliver $50,000 each to Brack and Ace, whose name was drawn from the pool of entrants who choose Brack.
Ace and his wife, Jean, will receive the check at the Pep Boys IRL Awards Banquet on Nov. 21 at the Murat Theatre in Indianapolis.
Ace is excited about winning the big prize, but he's also elated for another reason.
"I figure I'm almost as excited because I'll get to meet A.J. Foyt," he said. "He's kind of been my primary driver."
Ace, 55, will return to Indiana for the first time since he lived in Columbus when he was in the fourth and fifth grades. His father also was in the Air Force, and the family lived in Germany for three years during the Berlin Airlift era before his dad was transferred to Indiana.
During that Indiana stay, they made one trip in 1954 to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to watch practice. That's when Ace got hooked on racing. He hopes to make another visit during his Indy stay.
Ace is a racing fan. He subscribes to several racing magazines and says he buys car parts and supplies at Pep Boys stores.
"A.J. was one of my favorites," he said. "I'll start following the IRL a little closer."
Ace is a systems analyst with Commercial Credit. He recently received a late afternoon call at his office from a judging agency informing him he was the $50,000 winner. Initially, he wasn't certain the call was legitimate.
"I thought it was a stupid prank," he said. "But when I got home, I thought, 'It could be true.'"
During his first Air Force tour in Vietnam he flew a C-47 transport plane, and a B-52 bomber on the second tour. He spent 11 years in the service.
One of his duty tours took him to Orlando, Fla. He attended several Daytona 500s while living there.
Ace displayed a sense of humor when asked whether he would be excited when he was called to the stage to receive his check.
"I don't even want it," he replied with a joking laugh. "I'll probably turn it down."
Foyt probably would shake his hand for the extra $50,000.