80-year-old Washington County resident relives dream at Mason Dixon Speedway


Elmcroft of Hagerstown senior living center put this on through their "Second Wind Dream" program

WASHINGTON COUNTY, M.d. (WDVM) — A resident in Washington County thought he would never see a racetrack again, but that all changed when the Elmcroft of Hagerstown senior living center stepped in to help.

80-year-old Vernon Cockrell was given the opportunity to race again after being off the track for years. Family and friends gathered at Mason Dixon Speedway to bring an old dream to life.

“I was here the opening day, the day they opened the track I was here I drag raced along with the rest of them, I came down every week,” Vernon said.

Vernon raced for over 20 years in a 65 Nova. He struggled to hold back tears as he watched old memories come to life through the sound of revving engines and the smell of gasoline. To make the event even more special, Vernon’s grandson was in the driver seat to take him on one of his last rides. They pulled up to the starting line, and zipped off, reaching 100 miles per hour.

“Its an honor, I can’t really say it enough, it really is special to take someone on a ride like this they look forward to it I’m sure he’s happy to be back and I’m happy to do it for him,” Jared Caldwell said, Vernon’s grandson.

The ride was made possible through Elmcroft of Hagerstown senior living center and their “Second Wind Dream” program. Staff members say, once a month they get to ask residents what they would want to relive or do in their lifetime.

“Warms my heart so much to make this happen for Vernon who used to be so big into racing and doesn’t have the opportunity anymore, we put him in a race car and sent him down the track again,” Heather Meyer said, the director of the healthy lifestyle for Elmcroft.

“I’m thrilled they set this up for me, it’s really nice,” Vernon said. Vernon’s car he raced back in 1961 was called “NOREV” which was part of his name spelled backward.

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