If you've ever felt the air shake when someone in the neighborhood revs their weekend racer, you miss it when it's gone.
Where I grew up, the new man next door had four dirt track stock cars he warmed up before he left for work in the morning. He'd fire one up, then another, the pitch of their engines moving in and out of deep harmony.
After the first month of that symphony, my dad built a fence, the kind neighborhood Covenants, Conditions, Restrictions, were invented for. Instead of an eight foot wall of silence, it was an eight foot wall of slightly muffled V8 thunder.
For six months that sound was the best alarm clock made, even if it started a 4:30 a.m. Then they moved away. The quiet was too quiet. The windows didn't shake. Dust didn't drop off lamp shades.
Since it was a small town to begin with, they probably moved closer to the racetrack. Each year when NASCAR kicks off their season, the memory of those neighbors come back full throttle.
I like to think of Greg Biffle as their son.
Here's a racer from our corner of the country sitting front row for Sunday's Daytona 500. For all the big moments in Oregon sports, the Ducks in the BCS games, the Blazers in the playoffs, Nike runners making the Olympics, having one of our own on the outside pole of NASCAR's signature event is as big as it gets.
Who is Greg Biffle? He didn't fall from the Petty or Earnhardt family tree. There is no Foyt or Andretti racing royalty blood in his veins. He's not Ricky Bobby, unless there's something we don't know.
What we do know is Greg is a championship racecar driver pushing harder all the time. But, he's not going too fast to forget where he's from and those who followed him from the beginning. He knows where his roots are.
How many athletes own their personal field of competition? The Giants won the Super Bowl in the house that Peyton Manning built, but he doesn't own Lucas Oil Field. Does he own any football stadiums? The Yankees played in the House That Ruth Built before they tore it down and moved across the street, but how many baseball players actually own a baseball diamond?
If Greg Biffle wins the Daytona 500, you can say he owns that track, but it's not the one he actually owns. His racetrack is out in Banks,
We know about climbing the race ladder because of Greg Biffle. From
How much does winning pay at
2005 was a landmark year for
From the Foundation's mission statement: The Greg Biffle Foundation was founded in 2005 by Greg and Nicole Biffle to create awareness and serve as advocates to improve the well-being of animals by engaging the power and passion of the motor sports industry.
Financial support for the foundation comes from a variety of sources including individual contributions along with the sale of NASCAR Pets calendars and various racing and other sports memorabilia.
When you watch the greatest stock car race in the world this Sunday, think of the tens of thousands of miles it took each driver to cover before they could line up for their next 500. Some of those miles came on dirt tracks, some on paved, but none came further from the Southern traditions of racing than Greg Biffle.
Win or lose, he is the undisputed King of Stock Car Racing in the Pacific Northwest, and he wears the crown proudly.
For Greg Biffle Fantasy NASCAR fans, click here.