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wntr sux
| put together stories from several NASCAR moms chronicling their sons early years. Here are some of the highlights.

Brian Vickers' mother, Ramona shares the story that her son's finger was trapped in the steering wheel of his favorite go-kart:

Brian and Romana Vickers

When he was about 10 years old, he and his father were in the basement working on his go-kart getting ready for the next race. He was actually sitting in the go-kart while being weighed and just couldn't sit still. He started sticking his fingers in the holes on the steering wheel and one of his fingers got stuck. We worked for hours trying to get his finger out, but that only made his finger swell. He wouldn't let us cut the steering wheel off because it was his favorite one, so we had to take the wheel off the go-kart and he slept with it. He thought his finger would slide out just like it slid in - but that didn't work. We went to the emergency room the next morning to see if they could get his finger unstuck, but they couldn't either. And after all that they finally took him down to the maintenance department and had to cut the steering wheel off anyway.

Tell us about Brian's early ambition to be a race car driver.

He always loved to go fast and race you at everything he did, whether it was racing down the stairs, up the driveway and back, taking the trash out, getting the mail or just bike riding with his family. He saved his allowance and volunteered to do extra chores to make money so he could buy a go-kart. He absolutely loved it -- he tore up the yard racing around the house. When we took him to a go-kart race where a friend of ours was racing, that was all it took - he was hooked. He raced go-karts for several years and then moved on to Alison Legacy Series to Late Models to Hooters ProCup Series and then on to the Busch Series and now Cup.

What is it like watching your son race each weekend?

It is really exciting, but sometimes it does get a little nerve-wracking. But he has always been able to keep me on the edge of my seat, even to this day. He loves what he does and is very happy - so that makes me happy!

What has been your most-cherished Mother's Day gift from Brian?

When he was 16-years-old, he gave me a beautiful hand carved wooden box. In it were 16 polished pebbles with an inscription he wrote "one pebble for each year you have been the best mother." But of course he always comes up with something special every year, whether it is beautiful flowers or spa certificates -- I love them all and they are always special.

What are you hoping your son gets you for Mother's Day this year?

Time at home with the family and I.

Carol Bickford, mother of Jeff Gordon, driver of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet

Carol Bickford and Jeff Gordon

What's a funny story that sticks out in your memories from Jeff's childhood?

When Jeff was about 3-years-old, our Irish Setter, Rusty, gave birth to a litter of 13 puppies. Every morning after the puppies were born, Jeff would get up and go to the garage and just sit and watch them. As soon as the puppies were old enough to get out and walk around, he would sit on the garage floor with puppies crawling all over him, laughing. He loved every minute of it.

What about Jeff's early ambition to be a racecar driver?

Jeff has always had a competitive nature, whether playing video games, riding a bike or shooting hoops with his friends. I remember a time when he was first racing quarter midgets, he got lapped during a race and when the race ended he told John that he didn't like to be lapped and never wanted that to happen again. He was six at the time.

What is it like watching your son race each weekend?

As with any sport, emotions can be all over the place, high and low, up and down, and it's the same during any of Jeff's races or watching the grandkids' ball games. That never changes.

What has been your most-cherished Mother's Day gift from Jeff?

Spending time together on Mother's Day; it's a gift of memories that last a lifetime.

Carol Mears, mother of Casey Mears, driver of the No. 07 Jack Daniel's Chevrolet.

I always drove Casey to school and dropped him off. In kindergarten we always did the hug and kiss thing when he got out of the car. When he started first grade I drove him to school to drop him off and I leaned over to give him a hug and kiss. Casey leaned away from me and stuck his hand out to shake my hand telling me he's too old to do that stuff! So we shook hands. He was very serious. It totally surprised me and crushed me, but made me laugh all the way home. I told Roger (Casey's father) about what happened laughing and crying at the same time. The funny thing is this has reversed again, as Casey is a very affectionate person and now is fine with the hugs and kisses.  

What about Casey's early ambition to be a racecar driver.

I think because Casey was raised around racing and we took him to so many races, he naturally wanted to do what his Dad (Roger Mears) did. I vividly remember Casey down on his hands and knees with those Hot Wheels cars racing around homemade tracks in the dirt, day after day. He was so little then. As he got older he did all his phone calls to gain sponsorship and talked to team owners himself. He was focused and knew what he wanted. I think his success comes from beating on doors at a very young age, as he knew without any doubt, what he wanted to do and that was to race.

What is it like watching your son race each weekend?

A young Casey Mears and his mom

Well, sometimes I don't! (laughing). Those darn restrictor plate races make me very nervous. I can't stand to see him going to the front, then going to the back, then going to the front. Not to mention the "Big One" or Two!! All the other races I watch from the beginning until the end! My first thoughts are for Casey to do well. I really don't have a fear of him getting hurt or anything. I'm not beyond realizing that it can happen, but it's something I do not think about for each race.

What has been your most-cherished Mother's Day gift from your son?

I would probably say the Louis Vuitton purse and wallet he bought for me while in Paris about 5 years ago. He was very excited to give them to me and I was very excited to receive them. I was very surprised! Some of the most memorable Mother's Day gifts were the ones he made in school or just on his own. Those are precious!

What are you hoping Casey gets you for Mother's Day this year?

A RACE WIN!!! Casey has been so good to me and so generous over the years I don't expect or even want anything.... just a win! (laughing).

Diane Newman, mother of Ryan Newman, driver of the No. 39 U.S. Army Chevrolet

Ryan and Diane Newman

What  memories do you have from Ryan's childhood?

We have had a ton of fun times together over the years - whether it has been running the go-kart in the backyard, swimming in the pool, playing putt-putt, snowmobiling or raising our own beef in our yard (chasing cows at times when they would get out of their pen).

Talk about your son's early ambition to be a racecar driver.

Ryan did not have the ambition to play basketball, football, or those kinds of sports. He was always interested in anything with a motor that would go fast - go-karts, snowmobiles and four-wheelers. He started competing in quarter midgets at the age of four. Just watching him, we knew early on that racing would be a part of his future.

What is it like watching Ryan race each weekend?

Nerve-racking and very exciting! To me, some racetracks like Talladega and Daytona get me so nervous that I can't wait until the race is over. Those are especially hard for me.

What has been your most-cherished Mother's Day gift from your son?

My most-cherished Mother's Day gift is spending the day after Darlington with Ryan. I have a great time either going out for breakfast, fishing (ask him who caught the biggest fish last year in his pond!) or having a cookout.

A young Reed Sorenson shows off a gift to his mom

Becky Sorenson, mother of Reed Sorenson, driver of the No. 43 McDonald's Dodge

What is a great childhood story about Reed?

Reed was hit by a car at the baseball field when he was 7-years-old, and suffered three breaks in his left ankle/leg. He told the nurse in the emergency room it would be okay, because it was his brake foot and not his gas foot and she thought he was crazy, but he explained that he was a racer. He raced his quarter midget a month later...with a cast.

Talk about Reed's early ambition to be a racecar driver.

Reed started going to the short tracks before he could walk to watch his dad. He was completely attentive the whole time and I knew he was interested around the age of five. We put him in a Quarter Midget when he was 6-years-old and he took right off and never looked back.

What is it like watching your son race each weekend?

I love watching him run well, and I feel his disappointment when he has a bad day. I am very proud of him either way.

What has been your most-cherished Mother's Day gift from Reed?

The things he made me in school. I think I still have most of them and can remember the excitement when he brought them home. Money can't buy those things.


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