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Duayne Hommel
Duayne Hommel with his son Daegan. Photo sent by Paper Man
Photo sent by Paper Man
Photo sent by Paper Man
Photo sent by Paper Man
Photo sent by Paper Man
Photo sent by Paper Man
Duayne Hommel at the 2003 Dream 100. Photo by Roger Warrick
Do You Believe?
By Kelley Carlton

I spent this Saturday night, as I have many others in the last few years, at a great race track doing
what I love to do. But there was something different this particular Saturday night in Northeast
Tennessee. I had been privy to some very good news several days prior to the running of the 8th
Annual Ray Neely Memorial at Tazewell Speedway, but unfortunately I couldn’t really share it with
anyone. Duayne Hommel was to be at The Taz on Saturday night. Mike Hayes, one of Duayne’s
longtime crew guys, called me to help make comfortable arrangements with the track.

I was so excited about having Hollywood coming that I could hardly stand it. However everyone felt it
was in Duayne’s best interest if we kept a tight lid on his visit to try and allow him to enjoy the race in
comfort. When the big motor home pulled through the pit gate I had chills run up my spine. Jimmy
“Pup” Thomas was the first to greet Junior, Gayla, Duayne and the gang. Pup also knew of the
impending visit and was probably more excited than anyone. My guys escorted the RV up the hill to a
spot just behind the pit grandstands.

I made my way over to grab a brand new O’Reilly Southern All Stars hat that I had intended on giving
to Duayne. After wading through the sea of well-wishers Junior opened up the door of the RV and
there he sat. It had been several months since I had seen Duayne at The Sheppard Center in Atlanta
and I wasn’t sure how I would feel seeing him again. After the Sheppard’s visit I had really had a
tough time dealing with the emotions I felt. I mean Duayne was a member of the family that I had kept
nearly every weekend for 3 years. It was, to say the least, tough.

But this night would be different. I handed Duayne the hat. He looked at the hat for a few seconds and
then it happened. Our eyes met and in that moment I knew that he recognized me. I had heard the
great reports of the strides he has made but this was different – this was personal. I was overwhelmed.
I hastily said my goodbye and headed to the scoring tower at The Taz.

Sitting in the tower waiting for our portion of the show to begin, I had some time to reflect on
everything that has happened over this ordeal. From my 15 years of medical experience in my real job
I knew the harsh realities of events such as this. I know that Duayne has defied those realities for no
medical reason. So there must be something else.

I came down out of the tower to take a break and check in with Kirby over at the Dirt Trax
Motorsports souvenir trailer. That’s when I saw the new stickers that Mike had made. They simply
have the familiar H2 and the words “We Believe”. And suddenly there it was, as plain as the sticker I
was looking at. All the prayers from the millions of members of the racing community, all the visits, all
the posts on message boards and every other single thing that people did to express their love and
support for Duayne. It was all right there in those 2 simple words.

If this isn’t proof that prayer and positive thinking work, then I don’t know what is. I know it reminded
me to be a believer. Do you believe?

Kelley Carlton
Director of Marketing
Southern All Star Dirt Racing Series