CEDAR RAPIDS, IOWA
June 17, 2011
Tim Dwight, former track and football star of Iowa City High and the University of Iowa, and NFL football player from 1998-2007, returned to Iowa compete in a celebrity-filled Legends car race on Friday during Van Meter Industrial Night at the Hawkeye Downs Speedway. Tim, voted the all-time greatest athlete from the Cedar Rapids area in a 2007 survey in the Cedar Rapids Gazette, was only too happy to race for charity in this fund-raising event for the Children's Miracle Network based at the University of Iowa Hospitals.
Dwight said that, though he hadn't raced these Legends cars before a few weeks ago, his experience in riding motorcycles gave him a feel for this track event. His competitors in the race were Mike Gassman, a Van meter executive, and Jared Aarons, local television personality. Dwight started out slow, but took the lead early on until spin-outs by Aarons forced a restart. Gassman then took the lead and kept it for the win, with Dwight coming in second.
Dwight has been in a hurry all day. He started out the day in Iowa City running a football camp and didn't get to the track until ten minutes before the start of the celebrity race. Dwight didn't mind much, remembering how much he hated waiting around during his school days for his start time in the sprints and the long jump. Despite two previous rain-out dates for the event in the past two months, Dwight held to his commitment, showing up all three times all the way from California and happy finally to be racing this last time.
Off the track, Dwight contributed even more, socializing with the fans, signing autographs and getting pictures taken; a helmet he signed was raffled off to raise even more cash for charity, boosting the total to hundreds of dollars. And Dwight gets back more than he gives, he says, in the way he'll enjoy reliving the race from the pictures and videos. Next week, he'll be taking part in an Ironman triathlon, but his goal here was to make the most of any chance to do a great thing and to be involved fully with the fund-raising.
A high point of the evening for Dwight was the chance to spend some time with Sierra Manning at track side. Sierra, eleven years old with an inoperable brain tumor, is currently a patient at the University of Iowa Hospitals and rode in the evening's pace car, proving the importance of the Children's Miracle charity to all.
The evening also had a regular slate of races for weekly points. It seems that Dwight had warmed up the car he drove in the celebrity race -- Rod McGlothlen drove that car to a win in the Legends feature race, a feat he has already accomplished with three different cars.
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