Grieving drivers applaud decision to cancel races

ALLEN, TX (September 17) -- Like all Americans, Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series drivers were shocked by the terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C. The nightmare that came true on the morning of September 11th will forever be...

ALLEN, TX (September 17) -- Like all Americans, Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series drivers were shocked by the terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C. The nightmare that came true on the morning of September 11th will forever be etched in their minds. Racing became secondary as they grieved for their innocent countrymen who died in the sadistic attacks, and fully supported the decision to cancel the O'Reilly Texas Showdown at Texas Motor Speedway.

"I'm sure it was a tough decision to make, but it's awful hard to compete when something like this happens," Donny Schatz said. "I had mixed feelings about it, but it was good to get back home. Where I live, I don't get home very often. It gave me a chance to get home and recharge my batteries a little bit. You have to take the good with the bad, and this was definitely the worst thing that could happen. I've talked to a lot of people and I've yet to hear one person who was upset about the races being canceled. I'm ready to go racing again though.

"I have a sister who lives 20 blocks from there (the World Trade Center). My youngest sister (Krista) lives in New York City. She just moved there a couple of months ago. In fact, my mom took her there when we raced at Williams Grove in July. She hasn't been there very long and I think she wants out of there now. I rolled into Tulsa about 2:30 Tuesday morning and my phone rang three of four times before I answered it. It was some Australians who asked me, 'Is your sister OK?' I said, 'What do you mean?' All the phones were down there for a while, so we weren't real sure. She's a little shook up, but she's fine.

"I'm glad it's not any worse than it was. It's definitely devastating and I hope our country takes appropriate action, whatever that might be."

Steve Kinser called for America to bond together in the wake of the most horrible terrorist attacks in our history.

"That was quite a catastrophe we had there," Kinser said. "We didn't get to race last weekend, but I think that was the right thing to do - not run. We'll continue with the racing again this week (at Nebraska Raceway Park). It was quite a loss for everybody; it's like nothing we've seen in our lifetime. It was definitely the biggest terrorist act. America is bonding together and we definitely need to find a way to put a stop to it. It's a shame so many people lost their lives in New York and Washington D.C. Our heart has to go out to the victims and their families."

Craig Dollansky was traveling from his home in Minnesota when he received word the race was canceled.

"With the country trying to get going again, I think it was a wise decision not to race," Dollansky said. "It took everybody by storm. What happened shocked everyone. It was a major tragedy. There were a lot of families affected by it. I think the whole country needed to mourn with them. I don't think it would have done anybody any good to run a race or play an NFL game. It's so tragic; all you can do is pray for the families and the people who were affected by it the most. I hope they can get their lives back to normal as quickly as possible. Hopefully, the government officials will deal with it the way they need to. I'm hoping to go racing again this weekend. I'm ready to go racing."

Andy Hillenburg is concerned the attacks could forever damage the American entertainment and sports industries.

"I think it was very wise we didn't race last weekend (at Texas Motor Speedway)," Hillenburg said. "It just makes you realize racing doesn't mean anything when something like that happens. It makes you realize how important the United States is. I'm wondering what this is going to do to America's entertainment business. Entertainment and sports is probably going to become second hand. There's some concern there on my part. I just can't come with any words about the tragedy itself. The United States has ever seen anything like this before and, hopefully, we'll never go through anything like this again. I was glad we didn't race last weekend, but I'm ready to go racing again."

Dale Blaney believes getting back to normal life will help the grieving process.

"It's hard to believe it's all real," Dale said. "Sitting there watching it Tuesday morning on TV, it was just hard to imagine it was really happening. I guess the quicker you get back to normal and get back to doing things we've always done, the better. Getting the football games going, getting the NASCAR races going and baseball is hopefully going to start today (Monday) will be a big plus, I think. I've just been sitting here at home with my family and enjoying time with them. Hopefully, we'll be able to go out to Lincoln (Nebraska) and race this week. We'll just have to see what happens with the war deal. Once we get back to racing, I think we'll feel better, but I don't think this thing is going to go away for quite a while."

-WoO

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About this article
Series World of Outlaws
Drivers Andy Hillenburg , Donny Schatz , Steve Kinser , Craig Dollansky
Teams Williams