Joe Middleton - March 2003
For those fans who visit Orlando SpeedWorld and New Smyrna Speedway, they know the familiar #71 Open Wheel Modified of Joe Middleton.
Joe, who was a long time racer in Super Late Models and Open Wheel Modifieds, was always the one who would show no matter what.
With his wife by his side, the two would get the car ready and go racing.
Joe was one of those drivers who would help anyone and everyone, no matter what division you drove in. He was always there willing to help.
About a year and a half ago, Joe had to leave racing which was very hard for him. He was at every regular race that I can remember and he would be at the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing with his #71. Joe had seen racing change over the years and the expenses go up but although he would not like it, it did not make him quit. He wanted to race and as long as he could get in that car and do it, that was what he was going to do.
His wife Marilyn would always be at his side and between the two of them, that was usually it for a crew. She had every set up, every tire pressure, every lap down on a piece of paper for Joe. She was the best Crew Chief he could have ever needed.
Joe had to leave when he got sick with cancer, but every now and then you would see him and Marilyn in the pit grandstands watching the races. But I always knew that Joe much rather be out there in his old modified than sitting in those stands.
Joe Middleton left us this week but for those of us who really knew Joe, he will not be forgotten. We will always hold the memories of him and his race car in our hearts. He will always be one of our racers who forever will race on the track.
God bless Joe and Marilyn Middleton. We love you Joe, we will miss you but we know that you will race with some of our best now on that golden track in heaven.
Joe also had a many-year career racing in the Buffalo area. He originally ran Mini-Stocks at Lancaster Speedway, then moved up to the Late models at Holland Speedway. That Camaro is the same one he hauled with him on his move to South Daytona.
He was definitely a dedicated racer, although never had the bucks to race up front on a consistent basis.
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