This is the column I never wanted to write…. Because there are no words!! Kevin Gobrecht was much more than a great sprintcar driver. He was our friend. He was a class act who always had time for his fans. I mean no disrespect to the World of Outlaws or Amoco Racing because God knows their grief is genuine and heartfelt.

But Kevin belonged to Central Pennsylvania Race Fans. We had the privilege of watching this fresh faced kid dominate go-karts and micro sprints before he ever strapped into a 410 sprinter. If you don’t believe that he belonged to us, then you weren’t at Lincoln Speedway on the night after his tragic accident.

The first visible evidence when you walked through the gate was that each of the drivers had the letter G on the wing of their sprint cars. Listening to Wayne Harper read the tribute with his voice cracking had both the drivers and fans fighting back the tears.

Normally after the playing of the National Anthem you can hear a buzz coming from the grandstand area. Not on this Saturday night. There was the tribute, the moment of silence, the playing of the Anthem and then…..nothing!! With a full moon lighting the night sky creating some sort of surrealistic atmosphere, people stood weeping openly for the G-man. Group shock, group therapy, whatever it was showed how deeply we all cared about Kevin, a hometown hero who was just beginning to make his mark on the World of Outlaws Circuit.

Seeing the #12 Apple Chevrolet sprinter in victory lane at Lincoln for the first time since Kevin put it there in 1997, with former outlaw Greg Hodnett holding the checkered flag….well, that was it for me boy! It was like the G-man was reaching out to touch his fans.

The last time I grieved for a driver was in 1993 when Davey Allison lost his life at Talladega. The difference is that I didn’t give Davey Allison’s mom a hug 48 hours before she lost her son. I saw Donna on the Wednesday before Kevin’s accident. I hugged her and called her the most quotable mom in motorsports. Now there are no words and my heart is broken for Donna and the rest of Kevin’s family. Our prayers and thoughts are with them in this most difficult of times. God bless you, G-man. Somehow this just doesn’t seem fair.

Jim Weaver
The Merchandiser
October 6, 1999