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David, Amy and their three daughters Jamy, Emily and Ashley Macken pose for a family photo while watching a race at the Super Oval. Amy died last Thursday of cancer. Photo submitted by David Macken 

EAST WENATCHEE — The decision to come to Wenatchee Valley’s Super Oval and race this past Saturday was understandably not an easy one for David Macken and his three daughters — Jamy, 17, Emily, 14, and Ashley, 12.

Having lost their wife/mom Amy to cancer just two days prior, the Macken family had a lot more on their mind than just racing. David messaged Super Oval General Manager Jeremy Anders during the week and told him it could be a last-minute decision. But Amy, a lifelong racing enthusiast, squashed that notion before she died. She would have none of it.

“We kind of had a disagreement about it,” David said Wednesday. “It was one of the last times she was still with it coherently and talking. I couldn’t see us going racing on Saturday — whether she was still with us or not — but she was adamant about it. Regardless of what would happen, racing is who we are and what we do. We were going to be racing.”

On Saturday, David and Jamy both hopped in the driver seat, while Emily — who chose not to race — and Ashley watched in the pit.

“It was probably one of the most difficult things that I’ve ever done,” David said.

Neither Macken placed first, but so what. Both took a checkered flag, finished in one piece and earned the respect of every driver on the track; eight of whom donated their race winnings to the Macken family. Anders also set up a GoFundMe page for the family, which as of Thursday has generated $3,775 from 33 donors.

Jamy said she hadn’t decided whether or not she was going to race until Saturday morning.

“I thought about how my mom would have wanted me to race; win or not, she loved watching me,” Jamy said. “There was one point where the race got four-five cars wide and I could picture my mom just freaking out in the stands. I’m glad that I raced.”

Growing up in the shadow of the famous Stockton 99 Speedway, auto-racing was just a way of life for both David and Amy Macken.

“We knew each other long before we actually met,” David said. “It was never a question as to what we were doing or where you were going to be Saturday night, because that was race day.”

After getting married, settling in Moses Lake and having Jamy, David started racing mini-stocks and sprint-cars at the Ephrata Raceway Park. Once that track shut down in 2017, the Macken’s took a little break from racing but they never stopped going to the Super Oval and other tracks to watch. Jamy started to get the urge to get behind the wheel and began racing Plumb Perfect Roadrunners that next year.

Naturally, David wanted to race again as well. So, when he heard that the Super Oval was bringing back B-Mods at last year’s end-of-season banquet, he started looking for cars. This past Saturday was the first time his car hit the track — Jamy, Emily and their cousin Breanna had all raced in each of the Super Oval’s previous three events.

As he completed the 30-lap circle, the only thing racing through his head was his wife.

“I thought about her nonstop,” David said. “I was nervous for that first moment getting out of the car, not knowing how it was going to go, but I was really appreciative with how gentle NCWLIFE was during our (post-race) interview. I can’t thank them enough, as well as Jeremy, who was a tremendous help and the sponsors that made the night possible.”

When asked whether or not David and his daughters planned to race at any of the Super Oval’s final four events of the season, there was no hesitation.

“Yessir,” David said. “We’re looking forward to hitting every race where there is an opportunity for us. There were two things Amy didn’t allow us to miss: church and racing. This past Sunday was exceptionally hard to be at the track, and enjoy that with everyone, before moving seamlessly into the next thing she was a major part of. Everywhere I look she’s there with me. I don’t expect it to get easier but I’m thankful for those opportunities and know she impacted our life greatly. She will truly be missed.”