Racetrack memorial sought for young fan and organ donor

Members of the Russellville volleyball team stand with family and supporters during a rally to build a memorial to Riley Hudson, a 9-year-old racing fan whose mother used to coach the team.

Members of the Russellville volleyball team stand with family and supporters during a rally to build a memorial to Riley Hudson, a 9-year-old racing fan whose mother used to coach the team.

Collecting bits of tires from the raceway or getting her pink shirt signed by her favorite drivers, the late Riley Hudson was a “gearhead,” her mother Tara Hudson said.

Racing is a family interest that Riley had been inducted into the week after she was born nine years ago. And she loved it — whether it was the local tracks in California and Holts Summit or NASCAR’s Talladega Speedway.

“It’s amazing — you can feel the thunder through your whole body; it’s a whole different excitement level,” Hudson said of Talladega. “She was right there in it, always.”

Riley also enjoyed sharing the experience. With a big, extended family, she would marshal the younger children after the race to the fence where the winning drivers were and try to get a checkered flag signed for each of them.

“Taking care of others, that was her thing,” Hudson said.

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