Ageless Racer, George McGovern
by Kolbe Nelson
July 25, 2011 9:27 PM
Former United States Senator George McGovern, our Taco John's Athlete of the Week, likes to do things to keep himself feeling young. So last year for his 88th birthday he jumped out of a plane, this year, he's jumping into a race car. This bucket list though, has more meaning behind it than most.
"Tonight I'm gonna dedicate this race to save hungry kids," McGovern said, "They're still out there and we need to put an end to that... Last year I said I was jumping for the hungry kids, tonight I'll say I'm racing for the hungry kids."
The race didn't come easy though. When McGovern showed up at Huset's speedway yesterday to learn the ins and outs of his speed machine, he found steering may be the least of his worries.
"It takes something of an acrobat," McGovern said, "Just to get in one of these cars. You're in there all alone, the seat is about that wide. I think i had fairly small hips, but I had to twist just to sit down in that small drivers seat.
On top of that, there's a little bit more get up and go in a sprint car compared to you're average sedan.
"It has a lot more horsepower," McGovern said, "This car that I'm driving here tonight will be about 700 horsepower."
And his practice track was another rude awakening.
The senator was actually more excited about coming out and driving on the actual track after testing on a bumpy cattle pasture.
"I think this practice run out here in the pasture was really a test," McGovern said, "Because there's lots of bumps and gullies and it's not very flat so I think when I get in the stadium tonight I think it's gonna be not only easier, but more pleasant than driving around on a typical South Dakota cow field."
With all that in mind, McGovern wasn't too worried.
"I don't think there's any real danger tonight," McGovern said, "If you here me yelling help, call the ambulance."
And when the green flag flew, McGovern was all systems go. So what's the next birthday extravaganza for McGovern? Well we'll have to wait and see.
"What I'm thinking about next year," McGovern said, "Is I hope there'll be a next year, we never know do we? Whether you're 18 or 85, you never know if there'll be another bithday. So we'll just wait and see when we get there."
Wise words from someone with so much youth.Follow KDLT Sports at @KDLTSports and KDLT Weekend Sports Anchor Kolbe Nelson at @KolbeNelson for opinions, links, and updates on Twitter. And don't forget to check out the KDLT Sports Facebook Page .