Bill Widen, driver and owner of Signatures Across America Racing Team, dazzled the crowd at Irwindale Dragstrip on Thursday night under the lights, as he raced against a turbo charged VW on the Lucas Oil TV show Won and Done which airs on MAV TV. The camera crew filmed as Widen and his crew prepped the car and negotiated the race terms.
Widen won the race, however the MC of the show, Rich Christensen had mistakenly started the race prematurely. One of the race terms had been overlooked by Christensen, which gave Widen the option to run another race. In order to get more air time for the car and thus his sponsors, he agreed to run again, although he was risking the $500 that he won when he initially won the race.
Another race ensued, however this time, the VW won the race. The crowd was not happy with the results of the second race. As the booing resounded from the crowd, Christensen asked the crowd if there should be a third “Tie breaker” race. The crowd went wild, cheering and applauding.
After the second race, Widen pulled into his pit to check the condition of his Nova and to start packing up to leave. Widen had no idea at this point that a third race was announced. As friends, family, and his pit crew gathered around the car, Widen learned that another race had been proposed. While his crew worked to get Widen out of the car, removing his helmet and safety equipment; the MAV TV camera crew rushed to get the cameras rolling on Widen, his team, and the Nova.
Widen told the MAV TV crew that he needed to let the car cool down, but agreed to run a “Tie breaker.” As the crew removed the hood of the car to make adjustments to the engine, the cameras were rolling.
Once the car was cool and minor adjustments made, Widen rolled back to the line for another pass. The Nova was the crowd favorite. The crowd was chanting for Widen to win. However, half way down the 1/8th mile, the water pump gave out causing Widen to slow it down. He did not win this one, but the good news is: He was invited to race on the MAV TV show Won & Done in the near future. More air time is in the stars for Widen, who has worked very hard for many years to get to this point. And perhaps the next race will be his victory.
Widen, a lung transplant recipient, has traveled across the country racing as a symbol of organ and tissue donation and transplantation with his Donate Life/Signatures Across America team. Widen’s 1969 Nova SS, which he proudly races today, was donated to the project by Teri Clark of Memphis, Tenn. in 2011 and was formerly campaigned by the late Johnny McPeake, who was a Foot Brake world champion in the car and an organ donor upon his passing in 2005.