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Quebec: Uniting to fulfil mosque attack victim’s dream

Mamadou Tanou Barry once dreamt of bringing a permanent supply of fresh water to his native town in Guinea. But his dream was brutally cut short when a gunman opened fire on a mosque in Quebec City, killing Barry and five other Muslim men as they prayed.

The attack[1] at the Quebec Islamic Cultural Centre on January 29 sent shockwaves across Canada, and prompted candlelit vigils, rallies, and an outpouring of support[2] for the victims families and the larger Muslim community. Now, three months after the killings, Barry’s family, their supporters, and the Guinean community in Quebec City have launched a campaign to commemorate all six victims – and turn Barry’s unrealised goal into reality.

Organisers hope to raise about $18,000 to establish two water wells in Central Guinea, which is where Barry, a father of two, and his friend, Ibrahima Barry, a father of four who was also killed in the attack, were originally from. The wells will be dug in their memory, and in the memory of the other victims: Aboubaker Thabti, Abdelkrim Hassane, Khaled Belkacemi, and Azzedine Soufiane.

“We can t replace these fathers,” Souleymane Bah, president of the Guinean Association of Quebec, said. But the project will show the men’s families that the world has not forgotten about them, he told Al Jazeera.

“All we’re asking is for sensitivity, joy, and generosity from people, in the hopes of realising this dream.”

OPINION: Why the Quebec mosque shooting happened[3]

Organisers hope to build the wells in Guinea this summer in collaboration with a French NGO. Kim Vincent, another campaign volunteer, said the goal is “to create some sort of positive action as a result of such a horrible event”.

Security measures

The Muslim community across Canada, and in Quebec in particular, is still coming to terms with the deadly attack. Mohamed Labidi, interim president of the Quebec Islamic Cultural Centre, said the first priority after the shooting was to re-open the mosque and bring some semblance of normality back to the Muslim community in the city. Quebec mosque shooting puts islamophobia in focus

“We spent one week cleaning and putting the space back in order,” Labidi said. “After we tried to re-launch all the activities we did before,” including prayer services, meetings, and Arabic lessons.

“Especially for those who lived through the tragedy, who were eye-witnesses, yes, they were quite traumatised by it, and we feel it daily. But it didn’t stop them from coming back to the mosque to pray.”

He said mosque officials have taken steps to provide greater security at the mosque, which prior to the attack was always open, especially during prayer times, giving anyone access to the building. The mosque is now locked, but about 1,000 electronic entry passes have been distributed to regular congregants, Labidi said, and plans to reinforce the building’s glass facade and build more emergency exits are under way. He said putting a better security system in place was a long-standing priority, but the attack created a sense of urgency.

“The hateful acts started with graffiti on the walls, continued with leaflets passed around to houses in the neighbourhood, and culminated with the pig’s head” that was left on the doorstep of the mosque in June 2016, Labidi said.

“All that put us on guard that something was being prepared. It was like a race against the clock.”

In the immediate aftermath of the attack, both Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard described it as “a terrorist act”. But the alleged shooter, Alexandre Bissonnette, does not face explicit terrorism or hate crimes charges. The 27-year-old has been charged with six counts of first-degree murder, and five counts of attempted murder. Labidi said charging Bissonnette with terrorism is important because it would send a clear message to society at large “that hate can cause tragedies, [and] can cause audacious criminal acts”.

Anti-Islam rallies

In the months since the attack, anti-Muslim rhetoric has seen a rise in Canada. Far-right hate groups, spurned on by Conservative Party politicians, have recently become more vocal, rallying in several major Canadian cities against a federal parliamentary motion on Islamophobia.[4]

Passed in March, the federal motion condemns all forms of systemic racism, including Islamophobia, and tasks a parliamentary committee to study the issue, and track hate crimes. Opponents said the bill would lead to Islamic law in Canada, and stifle freedom of speech, and far-right groups held protests against it at city halls across the country, often shouting anti-Muslim slogans.

OPINION: Quebec mosque shooting – Beyond the official rhetoric[5]

Mosques have been vandalised in Montreal and Ottawa, and Montreal police recorded a spike in reported hate crimes in the city immediately after the attack in Quebec City. Elsewhere, anti-Muslim protesters calling for a ban on Islam picketed outside a Toronto mosque in February, and several incidents of anti-Jewish and anti-Muslim graffiti have been reported. A poll released earlier this week found that 59 percent of Quebecers thought that racial discrimination is a “very serious” or “somewhat serious” issue.

Still, Labidi said the Muslim community received a great show of solidarity and sympathy from people across Quebec and Canada following the attack, and that this openness and sense of inclusion is still being felt today.

“There are very positive signs,” he said.

“It continues, and we hope it doesn’t fade because I hope that everyone learnt the lesson from this, to have a better integration of Muslims and a better openness towards Muslims from their co-citizens in Quebec and Canada.”

Quebec: Uniting To Fulfil Mosque Attack Victim's Dream Six people were killed in the attack on January 29 [Mathieu Belanger/Reuters]

Source: Al Jazeera

References

  1. ^ The attack (www.aljazeera.com)
  2. ^ outpouring of support (www.aljazeera.com)
  3. ^ OPINION: Why the Quebec mosque shooting happened (www.aljazeera.com)
  4. ^ motion on Islamophobia. (www.aljazeera.com)
  5. ^ OPINION: Quebec mosque shooting – Beyond the official rhetoric (www.aljazeera.com)

‘Star Trek: Discovery’ adds several Canadian actors

By The Canadian Press on April 28, 2017. TORONTO Several Canadians have joined the cast of the Toronto-shot series Star Trek: Discovery. Rekha Sharma of Vancouver will play Commander Landry, the security officer of the Starship Discovery.

Toronto s Kenneth Mitchell has been cast as Kol, a commanding officer in the Klingon Empire. Clare McConnell of Toronto is in the role of Dennas, a leader in the Klingon Empire. And Toronto native Damon Runyan will play Ujilli, another Klingon leader. London native Shazad Latif was originally announced in the role of Kol but will now play Lieutenant Tyler, a Starfleet officer in the Federation.

No date has been announced for the premiere of the series, which has been pushed back a couple of times. It will debut on CBS with all subsequent episodes available on the streaming service CBS All Access. In Canada, the first episode will premiere on CTV, on the same night as CBS. All remaining episodes will initially air on Space (in English) and Z (in French), and then later stream on CraveTV.

Strap In Racing by Big Bigelow: Can NASCAR Survive Without an Earnhardt in the Field?

When the 2018 Cup season rolls into Daytona next February, it ll be the first time since 1978 that a guy named Dale Earnhardt won t be racing full time in Cup. I m guessing you heard Earnhardt Jr. is retiring after this season? I for one am not surprised. I d have bet he wouldn t race at all this season after missing most of last season. Plus, if you read between the lines, he said he was returning because he wanted to retire on his own terms.

He can t be having any fun with an average finish this season of 23.75. He has one finish better than 14th a fifth at Texas. Half the races he s finished 30th or worse, including 37th at Daytona, 30th at Atlanta, 34th at Martinsville and 38th last weekend in Bristol. He s 24th in points a whopping 226 behind the leader. To answer my own question, I believe the answer is yes. A couple of years ago I m not sure it would. Earnhardt Jr. is so popular when he takes the lead at any track people outside barbequing in the next town over can hear the roar of the crowd. ESPN stats tell us when Earnhardt Jr. retires at the end of the 2017 season, four of the top 30 drivers in career Cup Series wins will have retired over the past three seasons.

Jeff Gordon, a four-time champion whose 93 wins rank third all time, hung it up after the 2015 season, returning for eight races last season in place of an injured Earnhardt. Tony Stewart, a three-time champion and 49-time winner on the Cup circuit (ranking 13th), retired after last season. Carl Edwards, like Earnhardt one of the winningest drivers among those to never win a championship, shockingly retired following last season, when he was among the four drivers racing for a championship in the season finale.

The good news for NASCAR is there are some good young guys running up front. With eight races in the books, the average age of the top five in points is 28. That includes Chase Elliot who s 21 and Kyle Larson who s 24-years-old. Joey Logano, who seems like has been around for more than a decade, is only 26. Ryan Blaney is 23, Erik Jones is 20 and Trevor Bayne is 26. Six of the top 13 drivers in points are 26-years-old or younger. In my opinion there are more good young drivers around than there are good quality rides. The segments have changed the game big time, even more than I thought it would. Toss in the seven playoff points up for grabs in every race and the on-track product is as good as it s been. It ll still take some time for the older fans to get that bad taste out of their months from the daffy Chase deal, but I think if they sit and watch a few races they ll enjoy what they see. Sure, it ll never be like the old days, but nothing is.

All-Star Race

NASCAR recently announced the format for All-Star Race on May 20. The race will feature four segments, three 20-lap segments followed by a 10-lap segment with only 10 drivers. The winner of each of the first three segments will lock up a spot in the final stage, as long as they remain on the lead lap after the third stage. The cars with the best average finish in the first three segments will make up the remaining spots needed to fill the 10-car final stage.

The remaining 10 cars will be lined up by average finish of the first three stages and given the option to pit. Exit off pit road determines starting order for final stage. The winner will be awarded $1,000,000. The strategy component: Each team will have one set of softer tires available to use at their discretion. This softer tire provides the car with more grip and, thus, more speed. But there s a catch: teams that choose to put on their softer tires to start the final stage must start behind those that choose regular tires.

Darla Hartt

With the sale of Thunder Road, the majority of attention is on Tom Curley and Ken Squier. Vice President/General Manager Darla Hartt, who has been around since 1979, is also in for a major adjustment this season. The day I heard Thunder Road was sold, I dropped her an e-mail asking how she felt. She replied, This is a good thing, and will allow both Tom and I to spend some time at a slower pace, less stress, and finding out what other people consider normal ! Obviously, we ll be around for the Tour events at Thunder Road, but any other events will be at a whim. We are both pretty happy, but will certainly miss a few folks who ve come to mean a lot to us. I interviewed Darla in depth back in May of 2013.

A couple of questions I asked were:

BIG: Tom has said, starting this season (remember it was 2013), he s cutting back. He recently announced his son-in-law Derek Lynch will be running the Quebec Series and it s no secret Thunder Road is for sale. Do you see yourself continuing with the new owners or will you be done when Tom hands the keys to the new guys? DAR: I think most people realize that Tom and I are partners outside of racing and that obviously has a lot of bearing on our future. I ve spent over two-thirds of my life involved in the business of racing, and feel very privileged to have done so, and continue to enjoy it. That being said, there are lots of things on our list that we d like to do, so only time and circumstance can dictate what the future will bring. BIG: How do you feel when you think about someone other than Tom and Ken owning Thunder Road?

DAR: Change is a necessary part of life, but having spent so many years nurturing this, as Tom, I am most interested in seeing it continue to grow, and will do whatever I can to ensure that. As far as someone else owning Thunder Road other than Tom and Ken? At some point it s inevitable, but I think the footprint they leave will have a sustaining, positive effect on its future.

From The Mail Bag

Billy from South Paris, ME wrote: I was surprised to learn at the PASS race at Oxford last weekend that the race teams have to pay an entry fee for each race. Do you know what the fee is and does the ACT Late Model Tour also charge the teams a fee to race?

Can you also tell me what each series pays out in race winnings? I found an entry form for the upcoming PASS race at Star Speedway in Epping, NH, May 6. The fee for licensed drivers who file early is $80. If you miss the deadline the cost is $110. For non-licensed drivers the early registration is $100 while those missing the cut off pay $125. I m sure it s cheaper if teams file a full-season entry form. The payoff is: 1. $3,200, 2. $1,800, 3. $1,200, 4. $1,000, 5. $850, 6. $750, 7. $700, 8. $650, 9. $600, 10. $550, 11. $525, 12. $500, 13. $475, 14. $450, 15. $425, and 16th back pays $400 each.

ACT charges $350 for teams who file a full-season entry form for the 10 races. Others, who just race now and again, pay $50 a race if they file a timely entry and $100 if they miss the deadline. The payoff for Lee was: 1. $3,000, 2. $1,800, 3. $1,200, 4. $1,000, 5. $900, 6. $800, 7. $775, 8. $750, 9. $725, 10. $700, 11. $680, 12. $660, 13. $640, 14. $620, 15. $610, 16. $600, 17. $590, 18. $580, 19. $570, 20. $560, 21. $550, 22. $540, 23. $530, 24. $520. They ended up starting 29 cars, so I m guessing from 25th back received $500 each.

RESULTS Oxford Plains Speedway, April 23: 1. Reid Lanpher, 2. Cole Butcher, 3. Glen Luce, 4. Ben Rowe, 5. Nick Sweet, 6. Donny Culprit, 7. Joe Squeglia, 8. Shawn Martin, 9. Cassius Clark, 10. David Farrington, 11. Scott Mulkern, 12. Tracy Gordon, 13. John Peters, 14. Jeremy Davis, 15. Scott McDaniel, 16. Johnny Clark, 17. Derek Griffith, 18. TJ Bracket, 19. Matthew Swanson, 20. Travis Benjamin, 21. DJ Shaw, 22. Angelo Belisto, 23. Dylan Gosbee, 24. Joe Pastore, 25. Garrett Hall, 26. Greg Fahey, 27. John Salemi, 28. Joey Doiron, 29. Travis Stearns, 30. Sarah Cornett-Ching, 31. Mike Landry, 32. Adam Polvinen, 33. Brad Babb, 34. Tim Brackett, 35. Dan McKeage, 36. Mark Lundbland, 37. Joey Polewarczyk Jr., 38. Bobby Sezer Jr., 39. Kyle Treadwell, 40. Mike Rowe.

N.H. Governor s Cup 150

ACT LATE MODEL TOUR RESULTS Lee (NH) USA Speedway, April 23: 1. Dillon Moltz, 2. Alex Labbe, 3. Jonathan Bouvrette, 4. Scott Payea, 5. Jason Corliss, 6. Donald Theetge, 7. Spencer Morse, 8. Eddie MacDonald, 9. Rich Dubeau, 10. Bobby Therrien, 11. Rowland Robinson Jr., 12. Dany Trepanier, 13. Jimmy Hebert, 14. Kyle Welch, 15. Miles Chipman, 16. Josh Masterson, 17. Quinny Welch, 18. Matt Anderson, 19. Ray Christian, 20. Claude Leclerc, 21. Mike Ziter, 22. Glenn Martel, 23. Corey Mason, 24. Mathieu Kingsbury, 25. Mark Jenison, 26. Oren Remick, 27. Jimmy Linardy, 28. Mark Hudson, 29. Scott Dragon.

Upcoming Short Track Racing:

PASS heads to the Beech Ridge Motor Speedway in Scarborough, ME, for the Beech Ridge 300. Post time is 2 p.m. This race also awards PASS Super Late Model National Championship Series points. Thunder Road Kicks off their season with the downtown Barre Car Show and an open practice. The car show runs from 9 a.m. to noon with a pit stop contest at 10:30 a.m. At noon the cars fire up and drive to the track.

Bear Ridge Speedway The Upper Valley Car Show is being held in partnership once again with The Fireside Inn in West Lebanon, NH, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Speedway 51 Management has canceled the car show at the Green Mountain Mall set for April 29. They have continually contacted racers about attending this show and have not received the kind of commitment necessary to make it work. Thunder Road It s the ACT Late Model Tour Merchants Bank 150. The Tigers and Streets are also in action. Post time is 1 p.m.

Until Next Week

Visit a short track this weekend, but remember: If you re not having fun, stay home and don t bother those of us who are.

Darla Hartt 2013 Interview

Q&A with ACT s Darla Hartt

BIG: First off, it wouldn t be politically correct to ask, What s a cute girl like you doing a place like this? So allow me to rephrase that. How, in a sport where only a few decades ago rule No. 1 was, No women or children allowed in the pits , did you become the Vice President/General Manager of a major sanctioning body? How long have you worked for Tom Curley, and what was your first position?

DAR: My first involvement came as the result of the shortest want ad ever in the Times Argus, looking for someone to fill a temporary secretarial position. As a high school senior I needed a job before college, and when I recognized the Catamount/Thunder Road hotline number as the ad contact, I was in heaven! I answered the ad, went for an interview, impressed the boss with my fast and accurate typing skills, but the real sell was my ability with stenography. Tom had never seen that done, and was very impressed and, as I recall, dictated a couple of letters that he probably needed to get out that afternoon. I got a call that afternoon offering me the job, which I joyfully accepted part time after school for the last two months of school and full time through the summer. What a thrill. That was in April 1979. I was hired as the secretary and at my first race at Catamount was taken off my original assignment and thrust into the concession stand. That was the beginning of my learning how to flex as it s known amongst our staff and officials. I believe this will be my 35th race year with Tom, and I still am always excited to see the season begin.

BIG: Tell us a little about your childhood, where were you born? What were you like in high school?

DAR: I m a native Vermonter, born and raised in Waterbury Center. I m the middle of five kids, and had a glorious, normal, dirt road childhood. My maiden name is Ripley, and I grew up on Ripley Road, on land that was part of my grandfather s farm, with lots of aunts, uncles, and cousins in close proximity. As is true with lots of kids in Vermont, my elementary school served just my town, but the middle and high school incorporated kids from towns in the area. My cousin Beth was the same age as me, and as young teens we spent lots of time together in Moretown. I was able to catch the bus from school and go spend weekends there.

BIG: Where did racing start for you? What was the first track you went to, how old were you and who brought you?

DAR: It was on one of those weekends that I first got to jump in the back of my Uncle Cedric s pickup truck with other cousins and kids, and head to the races. I think our first was Catamount. It was awesome. The cars were fast and beautiful, the racers had great nicknames, and we were certain that we could impact the results just by cheering louder than other fans. I was under the spell immediately, and must admit I still am. We went to races at Catamount and Thunder Road as often as we could and never missed the opportunity to visit the pits after the race to see our favorite. Joey Kid Kourafas was a particular favorite, and we both treasured our Never Say Surrender Kourafas Fan Club cards. Dynamite Dave Dion was another favorite and it would be a big moment for me when I met him years later as a member of the staff. Racing can also be a troublemaker sometimes, as when Beth s brother bought his first car, unfortunately for him, it was purple, the same as Perry Paquettes. We couldn t resist painting a big white number on it, just like Perry s, which I believe was 32. We were not popular at her house for a while. Ironically, Beth would end up marrying her own race driver, Owen Wimble, years later and their daughter Lacey is now Brooks Clark s wife. Unfortunately, Beth passed away long before Lacey was old enough to date.

BIG: Did you go to college? If so, did they offer Racing 101? What was your major?

DAR: Summer of 1979 turned too quickly into autumn, and I was pleased when Tom wrote a letter for me to be excused from student orientation at Johnson State College, since they d booked against the Milk Bowl, and I had to be there. But, I headed to Johnson after the Milk Bowl, and pretty quickly realized that the party scene wasn t where I wanted to be, especially after the great summer I d spent working at the NASCAR North office. So I called Tom and asked for a meeting. At that time, the office was closed from October to March, but I explained to Tom that I loved my job, didn t love college, so he needed to figure out something for me to do until the next race season, and he did. For my first two winters, I did racing research for Ken Squier during our off-season. His assistant, Della, was my mentor, and hearing the tidbits that I d gathered and assembled used during his broadcasts was a real tickle for me. It also made it possible for me to stay with Tom and David Paris during race season as our entire office staff. Eventually we got to the point of being full time, year-round. I came into racing at a wonderful time, and just happened into a great situation. Ken was doing lots of TV work with racing and had convinced Tom to work with him during our off-season, so I occasionally got hired as well. My first airplane trip ever was to Rockingham to help with the production of a stunt driver competition and race broadcast. We flew down on Thursday and, in those days, people dressed to travel. We went directly from the airport to the track, where Ken hurried through the back gate, Tom was being shuffled in and me, in my business skirt, had my first experience with the old policies. Despite no practice happening, no official racing anything going on a Thursday, I was informed by the gate guard that women weren t allowed in the pits in skirts. Only with some convincing from Tom was I finally admitted. A whole new experience for a little girl from Vermont!

But, I must admit, the best experiences have been at our own tracks with our own touring teams. The characters I ve become acquainted with, the special friends I ve made and the emotional highs and lows I wouldn t trade for anything. I have special, life-long friendships that were forged in the pits, along the highways, and over years and years of spending every summer Thursday night or weekend together.

BIG: This is one of my all-time least favorite questions, but I ll ask anyways. What do you see yourself doing today if racing didn t work out (our work defines us, so how would we know)?

DAR: Well, the original plan and the reason for enrolling at Johnson State, was to become an elementary or special ed teacher. If I hadn t answered that want ad with the hotline number, who knows?

BIG: As an official you re not allowed any favorites but, between you, me and the few dozen people who read this column, who are a few of the drivers, owners or crews from the old Pro Stock and NASCAR North tours that stand out in your memory, and why?

DAR: Favorites from the past? There are lots of them, but some of the ones who come to mind: Dick McCabe, Junior Hanley, Dave Dion, Beaver Dragon, Jean-Paul Cabana, Tracy Gordon, Claude Leclerc, and Dave Whitlock. They all helped to bring racing in the Northeast to a new level of acceptance by the mainstream. Their professionalism, attention to detail, competitive spirit and desire to constantly improve their programs made them each very successful, and made our jobs as organizers easier by presenting a wonderful product. Whitlock was not only a top competitor, but he and his team usually six in a crew cab truck travelled hundreds of miles to and from each event, without one word of complaint, ever. Stan Meserve and Bubby Wilder, both former officials, each contributing far more than their job titles ever indicated. They both brought a lot of heart to the pits, and truly cared about ALL the racers. Anyone would be well served to emulate either of them. Gardiner and June Leavitt, who put on so many miles when Gard was racing, then as car owners, then as parts purveyors, they just are racing in the Northeast, and have fed and cared for more of us than any of us can count.

Elaine Stockwell and Charlotte Fadden, ladies who not only supported their favorite participant, but helped put the show on with their efforts in scoring and organizing. Doc Nielsen, our chief scorer for so many years, who impressed on anyone in his path that good systems are important and what s right, is right. Dave Moody, who started a bit after me, but we essentially grew up together in racing, and share so many stories, some of which can t be told.

BIG: Again just between you, me and the few dozen people who read this column, are there any drivers you just as soon not share a meal with from the old days and why?

DAR: Really no. I ve got opinions certainly, but really, they re all part of the reason I ve enjoyed what I do for so long. They keep it real, and they certainly keep it exciting. And, I always enjoy a good discussion.

BIG: You re one of only four people (the others being Moody, Wilder and Joey Laquerre) who have won both of the two most prestigious awards given at the year-end banquet: the Don MacTavish Award (started in 1969 Darla won it in 1987) and the Ken Squier Award (started in 1978 Darla won it in 1990). Can you remember the moments when you found out you were going to be honored and your thoughts?

DAR: The MacTavish Award Oh, I certainly remember the moment. I won it with David Paris and neither of us had any idea until our names were read. And that was quite an accomplishment since back then we were the entire banquet committee. Seems to me there was a fib about someone forgetting to pick the trophy up from the engraver. It was a huge thrill, although I wasn t around when Don MacTavish was competing, I knew about him about his dedication to racing, and from Tom Curley and previous recipients and friends who knew him, I was well aware of what high esteem he was held in. It is an honor to be included as one of the names engraved on that cup, and I get to welcome a new addition each year. The Ken Squier Award? Well, were it not for Ken having built both Catamount and Thunder Road, my career path would have been much different, and I continue to have a front row seat to his dedication to racing in this neck of the woods. It s humbling to be given an award for doing something you just love, but I am very proud of both the Squier and the MacTavish.

BIG: Thousands of fans have never been at the back gate at Thunder Road, six hours before post time when the pit windows open and we re greeted by you, Tina Gallison and Marsha Guyette and others, and your very long day begins. People who listen to the scanner on race days hear, Darla go to channel whatever a few dozen times during any event. What are some of the challenges you face race day?

DAR: Could be almost anything. I m involved in the administrative end of things primarily, so if we run out of tickets, I find a solution. I coordinate special guest appearances, fireworks, and all kinds of things. I am the point person with security, and gate personnel. My job description on race day doesn t necessarily have a description. When you ve been around as long as I have, if you can t do it yourself, the likelihood is you know the person who can. In the past few years I ve been assigned to the spotters stand to coordinate information with the team spotters and race control. That is a volatile, exciting place to be, and one that I really enjoy.

BIG: What is the most enjoyable part of your job?

DAR: There are lots. Finishing a successful day with a great race, sharing a victory lane moment with a brand new winner, traveling to lots of different tracks, painting the wall at Thunder Road, sharing memories with old pals, and recently, working with newer staffers to help ensure that racing is in good hands going forward. My very favorite is going into the infield on Milk Bowl morning, in the mist, to just contemplate the seasons past, and wonder for a moment about who might stand in victory lane later in the day, and whether they ll actually kiss the cow!

BIG: What is the least favorite part of your job?

DAR: Knowing that there is no explanation or words that will soothe a disappointed team, and sharing their pain.

BIG: What are your thoughts the morning of a race? Do you enjoy going to the track as much as you did say 20 years ago?

DAR: I try to be very organized in my thinking. With the list of tasks at hand that makes things easier for everyone.

Do I still enjoy going to the track? Oh yeah, although I think my reasons have changed a bit. It used to be that I enjoyed the frenzy and had a secret rooting interest for the day. Now, I really am interested in a smooth, enjoyable day for everyone, and my special interest is in the teams who need a lift, or the newer teams who are trying to find the right fit. Don t get me wrong, I m pleased for the veterans when they have a great day, but there is something really great about a situation like Jimmy Hebert s first win at Lee this Spring, the pure joy the team experiences is infectious.

BIG: What keeps you busy during the week at the Waterbury office?

DAR: My week at the office? I am the sanction liaison with tracks on the ACT and the Quebec Series, do the accounting of each event, coordinate tire records, design ads, handle correspondence, take care of ticketing, various ordering and scheduling, and whatever comes across my desk.

BIG: What are a few of your favorite tracks, and why? And no I m not going to ask about least favorite tracks, that wouldn t be fair.

DAR: My favorite tracks: Thunder Road is definitely at the top of that list. Where else can you get your racing fix, while staring out at such a beautiful view? And I m a fool for history, and the Nation s Site of Excitement is steeped in it. I will admit, though, it was a bit daunting when we were preparing for the 50th anniversary to realize I ve been around for considerably more than half of that! A lot of my history is there too, I guess.

The only other one I ll name right now is Dover because that s where I got a kiss on the cheek from Bobby Allison. He was my hero in a Cup car. And there we were, our race series, in the same pit area those were the days.

BIG: Tom Curley is known to have what can be called a very short fuse . You do a great job of going through most race days with a smile on your face. But there have been times when you go, let s say a little nuts yourself. What is it that gets you the most fired up on race days?

DAR: On race day the thing that most often raises my ire is someone who thinks a rule is for everyone else. We have always prided ourselves at treating everyone the same, and it does get my goat when someone insists that they should be the exception to a rule that applies to everyone, and then gets upset with me when I disagree. I m a stickler for systems, and try to always put a lot of thought into the reasons for each element. There is a reason for every rule, and I m happy to explain it, but sometimes am not afforded the opportunity, that does it for me.

BIG: Tom has said, starting this season, he s cutting back. He recently announced his son-in-law Derek Lynch will be running the Quebec Series and it s no secret Thunder Road is for sale. Do you see yourself continuing with the new owners or will you be done when Tom hands the keys to the new guys?

DAR: I think most people realize that Tom and I are partners outside of racing and that obviously has a lot of bearing on our future. I ve spent over two-thirds of my life involved in the business of racing, and feel very privileged to have done so, and continue to enjoy it. That being said, there are lots of things on our list that we d like to do, so only time and circumstance can dictate what the future will bring.

BIG: How do you feel when you think about someone other than Tom and Ken owning Thunder Road?

DAR: Change is a necessary part of life, but having spent so many years nurturing this, as Tom, I am most interested in seeing it continue to grow, and will do whatever I can to ensure that. As far as someone else owning Thunder Road other than Tom and Ken? At some point it s inevitable, but I think the footprint they leave will have a sustaining, positive effect on its future.

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