By WES RAMEY

Father’s Day is quickly approaching. For me, the day will have a greater meaning this year.

I know everyone reading this likely thinks his/her dad is the best in the world... And rightfully so. I also think mine is pretty special.

If it weren’t for the support I received from my parents (And my wife. And my brother. And my friends. And…well you get the point), I definitely would not be where I am at today.

When I was three years old, my dad introduced me to racing when the company for which he worked (Eastman Kodak), began sponsoring Morgan-McClure Motorsports. I immediately was hooked, and my world began to revolve around racing.

Mom and dad supported my habit, and I began watching anything on television that had any combination of wheels and engines. When I was eight, dad helped me build a Soap Box Derby car (ok, so maybe he was the one doing the building) and we raced it throughout the southeast. On my 10th birthday, I won our local event in Kingsport, Tenn. and was able to race in the All-American SBD in Akron, Ohio.

As I grew older, my fascination with racing continued to grow. As I started to consider career options, I discovered I could use my love of the sport to my advantage to help secure a job within it. I went to college and Dad continued to support me (Especially FINANCIALLY!). In the end, I landed the perfect job for me at Bristol Motor Speedway and Dragway.

You may ask, what is the purpose of this rambling blog? Well, as it turns out, on February 27, my mom called me at work just as we were finishing a press conference during the lunch break of a K&N Series test session. She told me dad had suffered a heart attack and she was on the way to the hospital. We did not know the severity of it until we all had arrived.

After a week of recovery, he finally was able to speak to us again. The doctors told us that his chances of just surviving the heart attack were .5% (that isn’t a typo). Not only did he survive, he walked out of the hospital the next week. I don’t have to tell you that my family considered it a miracle from God.

Last Wednesday, he had additional surgery for a pacemaker/defibrillator. While he is doing better than we could have imagined, one thing still is bothering him. For the past few years, my Father’s Day gift for him has been tickets to the Ford Thunder Valley Nationals. Even though I was working and he was in the grandstand, I knew he was there and it always put a smile on my face.

With his most recent surgery, the doctors have suggested he take it easy and not over do it. He probably won’t be able to come to the races, but, I’ll still have a smile, knowing that he’ll be able to come enjoy the event next season… something I didn’t think would be possible three months ago.

So, the moral of the story is this… tell your dad how much you appreciate him. Sometimes you take dads for granted, and it isn’t until you lose (or almost lose) them, that you truly grasp how important they are to you.

If you are lucky enough to spend Father’s Day weekend with your dad, take him to Bristol Dragway. There truly is no better place to spend time with dad… and I can say that with first-hand experience.

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there! We hope to see you in Thunder Valley! And to one special dad out there, enjoy the race on TV! Next year will be here before you know it!

Remember, with 8,000 horsepower engines, smoky burnouts and burning nitro, there really is no better Father’s Day gift than tickets to the Ford NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals. Visit www.thundervalleytix.com for more information. (See dad--that education really is paying for itself!)