SPOTLIGHT ON SPEED: DEAN STEWARD
At 74 years old, Dean Steward is happy to still be drag racing.
In fact, after a 2010 bout with lymphoma, Steward feels fortunate to still be around at all.
Steward was diagnosed with lymphoma in February of last year, forcing him to miss the early portion of the season.
Steward, who underwent chemotherapy and lost about 40 pounds, was able to return to action last June and his health has continued to get better and better.
“I’m very fortunate,’’ said Steward, who competes in the Pro class in Heartland Park’s E.T. Bracket Racing Series. “I have been in remission for almost a year now and I’ve gained my weight back, so I’m doing real fine.’’
The local racer is currently sitting 15th in points as the series heads into its final four races of the season.
“I missed a couple (races) this year because of parts breaking,’’ Steward said, “but other than that I’m always going to be out there.
“My goal has always been to be in the top five or 10 but this year, especially because of those missed races, I’m not gunning for the top.’’
Steward’s only goals are to continue having fun and to be competitive.
“I’ve been told that I make some of the young guys nervous sometimes,’’ Steward cracked. “I’d say the year’s been average, or a little bit above average, but I’m happy with it for my age and my car (1980 Mercury Capri), everything considered.’’
And while trying to finish out the current season strong, Steward is already looking ahead to 2012.
“I still plan on running,’’ Steward said. “I have considered when would be a good time for me to retire, but as long as I’m doing as well as I’m doing and having fun at it and my health is good I’ll continue.
“I’m a much better participant than I am a fan. I don’t get near as much enjoyment out of watching.’’