The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Montour County

February 24, 2014

Rain delay doesn't stop Danville NASCAR party

DANVILLE — The Goodwill Hose Company greeted the start of the NASCAR season Sunday by inviting the community to visit the fire hall and watch the Daytona 500.

About 15 people gathered at the station at 2 p.m., and while the race was delayed for six hours because of rain, there was still plenty to talk about.

One of the hot issues was the return of the No. 3 car, driven by racer Dale Earnhardt until his death in January 2001, when the car crashed into a wall during a race.

“I think its great that it’s back, but I’d rather see it given to (NASCAR racer Dale Earnhardt) Jr.,” said Brian Barnes, captain at Goodwill.

Barnes identified himself a casual NASCAR fan, but his sentiment about the car was shared by more diehard fans at the fire company.

“If anybody deserves to be in that car, it’s Junior,” said Howdy Knapp, lieutenant at Goodwill. “They should have never taken it out of retirement.”

He hopes that the car has only been brought back for Daytona and that it will go back to retirement for the rest of the season.

Goodwill firefighter Bill Bingaman echoed that statement, although his loyalty was ultimately to another racer.

“My driver’s Jeff Gordon,” he said. “I hope he does good.”

Jim Litterer, of Danville, was attending as a guest of the company and said he was happy to see Earnhardt’s car back on the track.

“It should be back in. I’m sure Dale Earnhardt would be happy,” he said.

Gordon and Earnhardt weren’t the only racers talked about at Goodwill, though.

“I am a huge Jimmie Johnson fan,” said Roxanne Stoker, of Danville, a community member attending the gathering.

“I’m waiting anxiously to see him win a seventh championship,” said Stoker, who will be having a Jimmie Johnson-themed wedding in October.

Stoker said she got into NASCAR through her job working with special needs children. One of them was a big fan of NASCAR.

“I asked him to pick a driver for me,” she said, and he picked Jimmie Johnson.

Deb Knapp, wife of Howdy Knapp, is also a big Johnson fan and, like Stoker, hopes to see him bring home championship No. 7.

It was the first of a series of parties the company plans to run during the NASCAR season this year for each of the big races. Hot dogs and hoagies were served while people chatted and watched TV.

Goodwill’s next NASCAR event will be held on for the Talladega “Aarons 499” on May 4.

The fire company will also host a Mardi Gras party from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. March 8 with a disc jockey performing at 9 p.m.

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