116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS – When a friend asks you for help, you help them.
That’s why last Friday, 101 days before her due date, Crystal Cassill and her husband, Jeremy, made a deal with longtime friend and local racer Tony Olson.
Since Crystal wanted to know the gender of their second child while Jeremy was more hesitant, the agreement was that if Tony could take his T23 sport mod from worst to first, they’d make a reveal to the entire crowd at Hawkeye Downs Speedway on opening night.
“I said we might as well take the new car out and support Hawkeye Downs,” Olson said. “Obviously we go every night to win so it didn’t change that aspect, but I knew (Jeremy) wanted to know just as bad as (Crystal). He just wanted a special way to do it.”
Friends since they were kids, Olson was determined to come through for his buddy and fate made sure the setting was perfect.
“Through hot laps and heat races the car felt good,” Olson said. “Then, they put the lineups out and I was dead last. I was going to the back no matter what, but it just so happened that way.”
The car handled “amazing right out of the box” for Olson, who went from eighth to first by the fifth lap. By lap 10, Crystal could no longer hide her excitement.
“Crystal was jumping up and down and ready to go to Victory Lane,” Olson said. “After the race she was in tears and Jeremy walked right up to me and handed me the envelope. His hands were shaking like crazy.”
Results in hand, Olson still was unsure of how to let the crowd in on the special occasion.
“I’m trying to go through my Victory Lane speech and I didn’t really know how to go about it,” Olson said. “I wanted it to be something special, so I just brought them up front and let Jeremy read it. We found out it was a boy.”
The crowd at Hawkeye Downs got to hear Crystal scream for joy when the reveal was made, giving the two families of friends the perfect ending.
“We always want to win but this added a cherry on top,” Olson said. “I know how special it is to them and with all of the anticipation behind it, it was pretty special to be a part of it for them. I won’t forget it, just for that reason alone.”
Hawkeye Downs will host weekly racing again Friday night with pits open at 4:30 p.m., gates at 6 and hot laps starting at 6:40 for the legends, hornets, late models, hobby stocks, sportsman and sport mod divisions.