This is for you, Nearly Old Guy. You know, the guy who blows out his Achilles trying to get out of bed to take a leak at 2 am. The guy who watches SportsCenter and realizes most professional athletes are young enough to be his kids. The guy who subscribes to “Men’s Health” hoping they’ll inform him of a way to get six-pack abs that doesn’t involve actual exercise.
This weekend Nearly Old Guy got a new hero: former IndyCar driver Jeff Ward. You may remeber Ward as a guy who after years of success in motorcycle racing decided to give open wheel a try back in the 90s. Although he only won 1 IndyCar race in his career (hey, that’s one more than Vitor Meira) Ward drove well enough to go from wannabe to Chip Ganassi Racing driver, scoring three Top 5 finishes at the Indianapolis 500 along the way.
Ward was already into his 40s when he raced his last Indy 500 in 2005, and upon concluding her entered into the retired portion of his racing career. Or so I thought until I happened to see him televised at the X-Games this weekend.
Jeff Ward, a Newport Beach resident, showed Saturday that he still has what it takes to win, even at age 47.Ward was already a pretty cool guy for a number of reasons, like naming his twin boys “Ayrton” and “Alain”, but this is incredibly impressive. As best I can tell, Supercross is a combination of racing a motorcycle through twists and turns in a parking lot and then back into a stadium where the course turns into 20-foot dirt moguls. This is seriously bone-jarring stuff. Your humble host happened to catch this, and what’s most impressive is that despite competing against a bunch of guys in their 20s, Ward led nearly every lap he raced.
Ward captured the gold medal in the Moto X SuperMoto event in XGames 14 at the Home Depot Center.
Ward, who became the oldest gold medalist in the XGames two years ago, took home the silver medal last year.
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So let us all raise a glass of Metamucil – just don’t actually drink the stuff – and toast Jeff Ward, who joins AJ Foyt, Mario Andretti as well as other sports legends like George Foreman, George Blanda and Satchel Paige in the Pantheon of “Old Guys Who Never Got Tired Of Kicking Young Punks’ Behinds”.
(Photo: Paul Buckley)