Sunday’s first-ever NASCAR Nextel-Cup Series win by driver Casey Mears in the Coca-Cola 600 in Charlotte also brought home the gold for Floyd Countian Darian Grubb, Mears’ crew chief at Hendrick Motorsports.
Grubb, an engineering graduate from Virginia Tech, has spearheaded a drive in NASCAR to remember the students and faculty killed in the shootings of April 16. It’s his second trip to victory lane, having guided Jimmy Johnson to a Daytona 500 win as an interim crew chief while Chad Knaus was suspended for rules infractions.
The victory by Grubb has special meaning here in Chateau Thompson. His father, contractor Dwayne, built our home in Floyd County (for the original owner in 1977) and his mother, Wanda, graduated from high school as part of my 1965 class.
A few years before returning to Floyd County, I met Grubb at a NASCAR event. He worked for Richard Petty’s team at the time. I recognized the Southwestern Virginia accent and asked about his home town.
"Oh, I’m from a place you’ve probably never heard of," he said. "A little place called Floyd."
Oh yeah. I’d heard of Floyd.