When I First Met Jack

KARNAC was in the early stages and Jack put out a plea for writers from every track. Since at that time my ex was racing at both Orlando and New Smyrna, I decided to volunteer to write for those two tracks. Jack was very happy and our long relationship began.

I did more talking to Jack on the computer back then and really didn’t know what he looked like until I finally did meet him face to face. Well, I must say, I had not expected a long haired old hippie but that was Jack. He could not have been nicer but just wasn’t what I was expecting either.

Jack had come to Orlando SpeedWorld because of B.J. McLeod and it was B.J.
's mom who actually introduced Jack and me. But like I said, I wasn’t expecting the long hair at all.

As I got better at writing, since I had not really done it before, Jack would have me cover some races for KARNAC. I spent a number of nights at USA International with the Hooter’s Cup racers, went to Volusia to cover David Hutto with the Goody’s Dash Cars, and did some traveling with the Florida Pro Series when it was the only Super Late Series at the time. Sometimes Jack would be there also and others it was just me but we kept in touch by phone as to what he wanted.

He is the one who told me to write for the News Journal when they asked and Florida Today because I was alittle scared but he told me that I could do it and I did. And I would still be writing for Florida Today if they had not had so many budget cuts but they did and local racing was one of the first to go.

But the year my dad was Grand Marshall for the Governor’s Cup, Jack could not have been happier. He always wanted to come to Merritt Island and just sit and talk to dad, pick his mind so to speak, on writing. I am sorry that never happened but dad said it was fine with him if Jack ever wanted to come.

Jack is the one who got me and my daughter on a racing radio show in Brevard County and the one who got me writing for RacingDiva that I loved. At one point, Jack told me that I must have a 100 stories that I had written on racing, not race results stories, but stories about racing. He always pushed me to do more because he said you could feel my heart when I wrote.

And I know that if it wasn’t for Jack, I would have never found out that writing was what I was meant to do and that I was more like my dad than I knew. So thank you Jack for making me see who I was. I promise that I will never forget you and will see you again I know. But thank you for all the memories and being such a nice long haired hippie.

[B][I]Like Jane I responded to a little ad on the website asking to write a report for your local track which was DeSoto then. I had never written a race report but I figured what the heck I have read enough of them so I gave it a shot. Although my first few were kinda rough with Jack’s help I got the hang of it pretty quick.

My first press pass was the opening ASA race at DeSoto. This was where I first met Jack. Like Jack I had long hair at the time but I was suprised when I met him. Like Jane said he was this grey haired hippy looking guy with that camera bag hanging off his shoulder.

Through the years we had many adventures. Many times we watched the sun coming up on 75 on our way home from a race. We spent many hours alone on those trips and we would talk non-stop about everything. Besides racing we are both Baseball fans and what was really cool was we were both Dolphin fans.

One of my favorite memories and what would be the beginning of the radio shows was when early in the KARNAC days we went and did Bill Green’s Short Track USA show. After the show we were on our way home going across the Howard Franklin Bridge headed back to Bradenton. He looked at me and said
“So what do you think?” I looked back him and said “We could do that” a few months later we were in a radio station doing our first show.

I went and visted my Daughter in Tampa today and drove across that very same bridge. As I looked out the window I thought to myself with a tear running down my cheek…We did it Buddy…[/I][/B]

We both share alot of good memories with Jack and always will. Remember the time you came to NSS and drove the bus?? Now that was a night. And remember the year that KARNAC sponsored the Governor’s Cup race and had it televised?? We didn’t pull that many cars like we wanted but Jack got it done. And I still have all my KARNAC shirts and sold quite a few way back when Jack had them. And the night that Jack brought the radio show to Orlando and had Jerry there and Rick on the show with Don. Those were the days that we will both always remember and share.

I’ll be honest, I use to hate it when Jack would tell me to call in to the show but then he talked me into doing the radio show with Terry until Terry left Titusville. Got me over the scare of talking on the radio for sure.

But I am sure there are alot of people out there that have many special memories with Jack. Like I said, when I first went to KARNAC there was Robin and Matt (not sure where Matt moved to but he moved). And then I did beat you and Robin at Rick’s charity go-kart race although Bill Green tried to kill me. First and last time I ever drove one of those but KARNAC was there.

But the scarest time I had was when I asked Don Nerone about advertising on KARNAC for Orlando, New Smyrna and the Series and he actually said yes. Jack asked me to do it and I did but I think I was shaking in my boots the whole time. But Jack had a way of getting me to do things that I had never done and that was good.

But yes, you and I have had lots of memories together with Jack and the tears are happy tears because we did.

i met jack

last year jack had carol wicks contact me about having myself and my wife on the radio show to talk about the affects of racing on a family. So we went on and jack proceeded to stir up the pot as they say because the week before there was some drama that i was involved in and he just happened to know the other party…it was a blast…little did i know that it would be the last one he did before he became ill( i might be wrong but i think it is)…then a few weeks later jack contacted me to guest host with him on the show…but it was that week that he fell ill…i felt honored…so much so that kris bridges and myself started a radio show since jack didnt have his…but i still to this day go back and listen to old shows…Jack you are a great man…without you alot of us wouldnt be what we are today…Thank you Jack…We love you


When I first meet Jack, I was on the racing side of racing if that even makes sense. My family and friends dedicated our every Saturday night to stock car racing. It would have been taken away from us if it wasn’t for Jack and his love of auto racing here in Florida and the people in it. We have thanked him many times for what he did for us that weekend long ago. A lot of folks have really tried to figure him out and just never got it. Jack loves racing and all the colorful characters that are involved. He has been unwavering in his gift to us. “Karnac” From one end of the state to the other, angry drivers, mad track owners, first time winners, saving race tracks, helping those in need, the radio shows, and late nights on the road behind the wheel of that Rivera. Thank you Jack. Thank you being you. Thank you for spending your time with us. One of the things I always looked forward to was going over to the Karnac studios and wondering what music would be playing when I walked in the door, hmmm: Bob Marley, Eric Clapton, or was it the St Pete Boogie. I could go on and on, so I’m going to leave you with a small funny excerpt from a story Jack wrote back in 2000 when he took a trip to a little track down south.

The cow? As the KARNAC.com loaded with cameras, recorders and notepads approached the entrance to Charlotte County Speedway we noticed several Charlotte County Sheriff’s deputies and County Animal Control on the side of the road with another Deputy approaching. As we came closer Rick and I were yelling at Bill Hunt, our trusty photographer, to get his camera out. We fully expected to see a huge gator, or maybe a python on the loose, but we never expected to see what we saw. As I pulled the ole’ Rivera along side the cruisers it became clear there was a need for lessons on the old farm for the Charlotte boys. Here were three cops and a guy whose job was to deal with really nasty animals squaring off against a cow. You would have thought they were up against an unruly race fan that contributed too much to the Bud till. The cow was confronted with one cop standing 6-8 feet away half hidden and crouched down pointing his fully loaded canister of official issue Pepper Spray. I’m still mad a t Bill for not getting the arm of the cop in the picture, but we had a ‘meeting to go to’, not that we knew that at the time.

I could go on with things that made me wonder if I was in some sort of weird dimensional shift Saturday night, things such as the track’s wrecker running out of gas, but I won’t. Instead let’s get to this impromptu ‘meeting’. Impromptu generally means some dumb thing to do that somebody dreamed up at the last minute because of incredible organization or perhaps, just perhaps occasionally as a spark of genius.

Jack Smith

Your friend,
Racin Jason Beckner

life changing…

I met Jack over a decade ago. Im not sure where. Probably USA in Lakeland. our relationship was hmmm “tumultuous”… ive had more fights with Jack than anyone including my first husband! we have had screaming matches of language unbefitting dock workers! But Jack trusted me and he confided in me so many times it was scary. he wanted me to be more aggressive…
Jack knew I was pretty much alone and he wanted me to get out and meet people. he knew i loved racing and i love people in general. We met at several tracks all over Florida and Jack always introduced me to owners, racers, and other people involved in the sport. Photographers, safety crews radio personalities…
Jack had me call the racers etc. to be on his radio shows. that was one of his gifts to me. Thru the years i got to meet so many hundreds of people. Some of them have become my closest friends. Lifelong friends.
People in general have no idea the things Jack has done for racing besides KARNAC! he has been instrumental in so many benefits i cant remember all of them. He has given trophies, plaques and even some very expensive rings to “drivers of the year”… he has promoted tracks and drivers, he has put short track racing on the map in Florida! he has driven thousands of hours to do radio shows and to interview people. he has helped newbies become pros…i dont think he ever said “no” to anyone who asked him for help.
I cant even tell you the pain i have felt these last 2 yrs. knowing the way he has suffered. I am still in awe of his fight. But the fight is so painful and i find myself praying he will let go and finally get to spend time with his mom and dad and John Lennon…
I will truly miss Jack. He has been such a dear close friend. i will miss the nightly calls… i have learned so much and gained so much in my life because of Jack Smith. I am so greatful… Thank you Jack for the love and trust, for the friends ive made and for the fun trips…I love you… God bless and hold you close in His arms…:engel016:
your friend forever,
Carol Wicks