Pineora Kartway was the scene Saturday night of the Paul Conaway Memorial Race.
Conaway, who passed away in October, was a long-time fixture at the track, racing with his two sons, Brooks and Corey. Kimberly Kidd, track manager, said it was something they wanted to do to honor Conaway’s memory.
A late afternoon thunderstorm delayed the night’s racing as crews worked to get the 1/4-mile track back into shape and by about 8:30 p.m. karts were out running the track. Ten classes competed for prize money and bragging rights and racers’ ages ranged from 8 to adult. The Conaway family provided trophies, plaques and prize money (in addition to the regular prize money from the track), for the night’s winners, as a way to pay tribute to their late husband and father.
Conaway and his two sons had raced together since 1991. Paul suffered a stroke about four years ago and passed away last October. Before that, though, the family said racing had been an every weekend thing.
“This has always been a family oriented thing for us,” Carolyn Conaway said. “They worked on those go-karts all during the week, those two boys and their dad. And I knew where they were, even when they were teenagers, I knew where they were. And on Saturday nights, they spent the night together out here and so it was always family.
“I came out to watch them race and then washed their oily clothes the next morning. I was too nervous to stay home wondering what was gong on here and too nervous to be here, too — to see your boys out there on the track. It’s been a good family experience.”
When asked if they raced for the fun of it or with hopes of going on to professional racing, Corey said, “I think everybody that races — oh, to make a living doing that, that would be nice.”
But brother Brooks said the two of them might be getting too old and maybe their kids could do it. Corey laughed and said, “Grandmomma doesn’t want them to do it, and the mammas don’t want them to do it.”
Brooks has an 11-month-old “who thinks he’s ready to get in one” and Corey has a 3-year-old and one on the way.
The boys reminisced about racing with their dad.
“You go in the shop, you think about racing — you think about him,” Brooks said.
Said Corey: “Yeah, he was our best friend. He was the mediator between the two of us.”
The mother, though, finds it difficult to watch them race against each other.
“Now that’s hard on a momma, ’cause somebody’s not going to be happy,” she said.
The evening’s winners are as follows: Garrett Rahn of Rincon in Purple Plate; Austin Hearn of Richmond Hill in Blue Plate; Haley Langford of Ridgeland, S.C., in Junior Box Stock; Brooks Conaway of Stillwell in Box Stock 360; Corey Conaway of Clyo in Box Stock 400; Danny Meeks of Claxton in Stock Lite; Chad “Houdini” Haithcock of Bluffton in Stock Medium; Danny Meeks of Claxton in Stock Heavy; Justin Hinely of Rincon in Animal Medium; and Allen Davis of Guyton in Animal Super Heavy.