Lake Norman & Mooresville

‘Oldest fan' loves thrill of speed

The need for speed is in the blood of Mary Hickle, a six-year Davidson resident.

She is not your typical NASCAR fan. One of the highlights of her 86th birthday was sharing the Richard Petty Ride-a-Long at Lowe's Motor Speedway with family and friends.

She loved experiencing real-life racing thrills by riding shotgun in a two-seat stock car driven by one of the professional instructors for a three-lap NASCAR qualifying run. She kept asking the driver to go faster, but he slowed her down to 169 miles per hour.

Her interest in NASCAR began when she moved from Lancaster, Ohio, to live near her only child, Linda Hickle. In Ohio, she was an active leader in Daughters of American Revolution, volunteered at her church and a local hospital and loved reading. In North Carolina, she has become an avid NASCAR fan as well as helping with her church and Lydia's Loft, which provides clothes to the needy.

After attending two NASCAR races, she was hooked. Her favorite driver is Michael Waltrip. She is very proud of the photo with Waltrip at the Raceworld opening in May. When she met him, she said, “I am your oldest fan!”

She has shared this interest with a friend, Robert Norris, who's been fighting health issues but enjoys races. She has definitely enjoyed her move south.