Jack Hege, believed to be the only person to have attended every Daytona 500 as a spectator, will see that streak continue with help from Richard Childress Racing.
The 84-year-old Lexington, N.C., resident said last month that health issues would prevent him from attending this year's race. He even declined an offer from Roush Fenway Racing to fly down on the team's plane.
When his doctor told Hege on Wednesday that his broken arm, which was operated on in December, would not prevent him from traveling, he accepted an offer from Childress Racing to attend the race.
"It's unbelievable," Hege said. "It's unbelievable. I didn't dream I'd ever get to go."
David Hart, director of corporate communications for RCR, contacted Hege, who admits that "I hated to hang up. I wanted to keep talking and talking and thanking people for what they've done for me. (Hart) said that Richard wanted to do something for me, saying that anybody that had went through what I went through for 53 years deserves some help. I appreciate it."
He and friend Don Beck, who also lives in Lexington, will fly on Childress' plane and be a guest of the championship car owner for the race.Now that Hege's streak will continue, he's thinking about next year's race.
"It's something to look forward to," Hege said. "It helps a person keep going. It means a lot to me."
***Eighty-four year old Jack Hege and his friend Don Beck got to see yesterdays Daytona race.***