Archive for Wednesday, September 25, 2002

Goodcents win nets weekend at Speedway

September 25, 2002

A local truck driver is going to get his fill of fast motors this weekend.

Jim Owens, who drives for KanGas, usually gets his fill of breakfast at Mr. Goodcents in Tonganoxie. The restaurant chain, along with O'Reilly Auto Parts, sponsored the Green Flag Get-Away sweepstakes. The contest would award a contestant with an elaborate weekend at Kansas Speedway.

After filling out just two entry forms, Owens, who is from Tonganoxie, won the contest.

An avid race fan, Owens attended a major race for the first time at last year's Protection 400. Owens wasn't planning to attend this year, but that changed when Tonganoxie Mr. Goodcents owner Mark Matheson called with the good news.

"I was really surprised to get the call," Owens said. "I had just a couple of cards in the drawing but I didn't expect to win."

Owens initially thought Matheson was pulling a prank when he called. Interestingly enough, though, Matheson didn't realize his breakfast regular was the big winner when he called.

During the conversation, Owens said he would buy Matheson some scratch-off and Powerball lottery tickets.

When Owens brought them to Matheson, the restaurant owner was dumbfounded.

Matheson said he usually knows customers by their first names, unless they write a check.

After realizing who had won, Matheson checked to see if he was also a winner. Owens' luck rubbed off slightly for Matheson.

"I got a dollar out of the deal," Matheson said. "I then invested it in the state. The Powerball was up to like 100 million."

Matheson is still waiting for his prize, but Owens, a Tonganoxie resident for 33 years, will enjoy his winnings beginning Friday. He and his wife, Susan, will stay at the Marriott in Olathe. They will be taken by limo to qualifying races on Friday, along with the Mr. Goodcents 300 on Saturday and the Protection One 400 on Sunday.

A limo will take Owens from the speedway to a Kansas City hotel throughout the weekend, and Owens will also wave the green flag for Friday's O'Reilly Auto Parts Qualifying race.

Owens isn't sure whether he'll wave the flag.

"I haven't decided yet, but I probably will," Owens said.

Along with that opportunity, Owens and his wife will watch the races from a suite at the speedway.

Winning the contest wasn't easy. Owens had to beat out contestants from the 125 Mr. Goodcents locations in 12 states and all O'Reilly Auto Parts stores as well.

Matheson was happy for his loyal patron.

"It was quite a feat for him," Matheson said.

Known as Big Jim to Matheson, Owens suggested a new breakfast item for the restaurant. Coined the Big Jim Special, the breakfast sandwich includes sausage, bacon and cheese inside half of a wheat sub.

"It's pretty good," Owens said.

Last year, the restaurant chain appeased a few racing appetites with ticket packages for last year's Mr. Goodcents 300, the inaugural race for the company's sponsorship. This season, however, was the first time for such an extensive prize to one customer.

A self-proclaimed NASCAR fanatic, Owens will see the final racing weekend of the season at the Kansas City, Kan., speedway.

On Saturday, the Mr. Goodcents 300 starts at 1 p.m. as part of the Busch Series. Sunday's Protection One 400, part of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series, will start at 12:30 p.m. and will be televised on NBC.

Both races are sold out, but Owens will have a prime seat when the green flag is waved on Saturday and Sunday.

"I'm really wound up about it," Owens said.

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