News Column

Newton Daily News, Iowa, Zach Johnson column

May 20, 2014

By Zach Johnson, Newton Daily News, Iowa



May 20--Twenty years ago, a classic country music group Boy Howdy released a song entitled "They Don't Make Them Like That Anymore." The song never made it big for the group, only making the top 60 on the country music charts. The song done by Boy Howdy was about a father telling his son to hold on to the one he loves because they don't make them like that anymore.

I got into my car on Saturday morning, getting set to start my weekend duty of covering the county and wide-opening weekend at Iowa Speedway, and I turn the key and this song was on the radio I couldn't help, but to smile even if it was six in the morning.

When I arrived to the office to pick up the equipment I would need for the day, I searched for the song on YouTube just to have the opportunity to hear the song one more time before I started the day. My search didn't come up with the results that I wanted as I looked through the results, it just told me that a country artist out of Canada named Jason Blaine released a song with the same title. I took the time to listen to the song and thought it was a good song.

I arrived to the Mediacom Media Center at Iowa Speedway for the photographer meeting. After the meeting, I had to take pictures at two other events before I could buckle down for my portion of the Iowa Speedway weekend. While I was driving to the Frank Gilson Pressbox fundraiser at Hy-Vee gas station, the Jason Blaine version of "They Don't Make Them Like That Anymore" came on the radio. I found myself looking around with a smile, as many of the seasoned athletic celebrities were mentors of mine growing up and thinking they don't make them like this anymore. I finished up at the fundraiser and headed back to the speedway.

The greatest thing about country music is that nearly every song has a story and a meaning behind it, and for Blaine, he was telling the love story of his grandparents. It made me tear up a bit as my best friend in the world Jeff lost his grandma last week and it made me think how much I would have loved to have my grandpa Bud with me today, as everything that he was the man that introduced me to the sport of NASCAR.

It made me think about how they truly don't make characters like my grandparents anymore.

NASCAR had two local events that drivers from the NASCAR NEXT class participated in. I spent time looking through the names, and one driver out of the five participating drivers stood out to me, Kenzie Ruston. I try not to be biased, but since the presence of Danica Patrick in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, a female in a stock car comes with many questions.

I decided before I became anymore skeptical I'd just watch her drive. I can honestly say although she didn't win NASCAR K&N Pro Series Casey General Store 150, I have a feeling through time she will be making a good name for women in NASCAR. She has a look in her eye that they don't make in female drivers anymore.

As the race came to a close, I began heading towards the Montgomery Gentry concert. I was excited about this duo being the first musical act to come to the Iowa Speedway in the NASCAR era. The duo is famous for singing about the many concepts of a small town.

I was shooting pictures of the concert while singing along with the crowd and looking across seeing a little blonde haired girl dancing on top of someones shoulders. I thought about how my late mother took my sister and me to country music concerts. I saw her face light up as Eddie Montgomery gave her a high-five and I smiled thinking truly they don't make moments like that anymore as you get older.

I thought about how contacts at the Speedway have became friendships. I remember as I was getting set to leave on Sunday morning the Iowa Speedway Director of Integrated Marketing Communications Edward Williams told me NASCAR Legend and Iowa Speedway track designer Rusty Wallace was giving pace car rides to the media. Rusty's pace car rides are amazing, he leaves you with something to remember for the rest of your life. I left the car thinking they truly don't make drivers like Rusty anymore.

I decided to take the afternoon to relax, so of course, I had to catch another legend making a big screen appearance at Capitol II Theatre this week as Kevin Costner stars in the movie "Draft Day." The movie was amazing, taking the raw emotion of the actual NFL Draft and an amazing script makes this movie a must see. While I was watching this movie, I was thinking about the idea of the new stars and future legends that have only one thing in mind coming here -- Newton is a place I need to win. The funny thing is that this simple idea isn't new, it's something built off of the traditions that made Newton the town it is today because to put it simply they don't make towns like Newton anymore.

The traditions and the memories made here are classic and perfect in every way.

We're a romantic town that may ask a girl to prom, ask the one we love to marry us on the marquee at Capitol II theatre or snuggle down for a movie at Valle Drive-In.

We're a town of blue collar workers that have made it through the best and worst of times. It's an identity that no amount of money can buy because it's a reputation built by the people because in Newton and Jasper County they don't make them like us anywhere else in the world today.

In the end, its tough to live in a world where many people have lost hope because life has decided not to make certain people like they used to. I find hope in knowing that some people respect and are inspired by legends for the simple reason they don't make people like that anymore.

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(c)2014 the Newton Daily News (Newton, Iowa)

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Source: Newton Daily News (IA)