Reggie Goldwind: Born in a Garbage Can

July 4th 1981- A pregnant April Goldwind is convinced by her husband, to not only have their child at a truck stop but to abandon the newborn there as well. Little do they both know that the crying baby she tearfully wraps in a Burger King bag and places in the garbage can is future NASCAR legend, REGGIE “GOLDEN BABY”GOLDWIND.

Darlene Comstock, a waitress who worked at the Diner at the truck stop was the first to discover the child. By then five years old. Not much is known about his first five years however many of the truckers were known to buy loose cigarettes from the boy and fondly referred to him as, Golden Baby. A nickname that would follow him into his professional stock car career.

A rare image of a young Goldwind. With the dog he claims raised him. Named, “My Dad”

Comstock saw great promise in the young boy not only as a capable salesman but a designated driver. (She had a pretty bad problem with alcohol) So by the age of six he had been regularly picking up Darlene in her 74’ Gold Plymouth Duster. Barely able to see over the steering wheel he fell in love with the raw horsepower of the Plymouth and it was behind the dash of that muscle car that true love revealed itself to him for the first time. The love and need for speed.

1974 Plymouth Duster

“Golden Baby” Goldwind would live at the truck stop selling loose cigarettes for the next twenty years. Living rent free, raised by a feral dog named, “My Dad” – Reggie avoided schooling but earned extra money fixing and working on cars.

“…I think it’s important that Reggie’s story be told.”

In a 2003 interview with his estranged mother, April said, “Ya know – I think it’s important that Reggie’s story be told. And especially be made into a movie. Maybe Meryl Streep can play my character?”

When asked if she had any contact with her son, April had this to say, “Reggie don’t talk to no one. Did I leave him in a Burger King bag? Yes. Did I then place that bag in a Garbage can in a truck stop? Yes. Did I then dump more garbage over him to conceal his naked little body? Sure, did. But was it my actions that made him the winner he is today? You bet. And if he hadn’t gotten mixed up with that Guinevere scamp he’d be paying his mama’s bills right now.”

Meeting Guinevere – another waitress at that diner Darlene had worked at until her death in 1997 – would change Reggie’s life forever. Finally meeting a woman that would encourage and believe in him despite his interest in drugs taking priority over his love for cars.

It would be Guinevere that took Reggie to his first NASCAR event. She went into detail about their first date in a 2001 interview:

“Reggie… that’s called a sponsor. Cheerios are paying him to race that car. You understand that, right?”

“Reggie never even knew that racing cars was even a career option. When I took him to see the cars for the first time, he said, ‘now why does this fella think I care he love Cheerios so damn much?’ and I said, ‘Reggie… that’s called a sponsor. Cheerios are paying him to race that car. You understand that, right?’ And he was real quiet for awhile and then he said real quiet like, “Gwen… you think Cinnamons Toast Crunch might pay me to race for em’?’ And I said, ‘They might. Its worth asking at least.’ And that was pretty much that.”

Downward Spiral: Goldwind in 2001

After twenty years of selling cigarettes, sleeping in trash and fixing stranger’s cars, Goldwind with the help of Guinevere was able to afford his first stock car and was bound and determined to crack into the sport come hell or high water. The only problem? Getting into NASCAR would be the easiest part for Golden Baby. Securing a spot in the sport would be much more difficult.

2001 NASCAR SEASON

Accompanied by his now fiancé, Guinevere and his father figure Black Lab mix, “My Dad” Reggie debuted at Daytona in 2001 in the Maxwell #169 Dodge. He’d place considerably well at 19th after some pit troubles but following a crash the next week at Atlanta problems already found the young jumpstart.

Goldwind reflecting on the time in a 2017 interview:

“Ya know growing up in a truck stop never bothered me. It was mine. Ya know? I didn’t mind the people, everyone was good to me. I missed not having a ma or a pa. But I also had my dog dad. So theres definitely worse things. The drinking didn’t start until I suspected something was going on with Gwen and Jeff {Gordon}. I started suspecting she didn’t love me no more because I was always losing. What I didn’t see was she was trying to save me.”

It was true. During that 2001 debut season, Guinevere did seem to be growing distant. As the crashes, mistakes and poor finishes piled up Guinevere seemed to be hanging out at the DuPont #24 garage a lot more. After a particularly poor finish towards the end of the season Goldwind confronted the two.

“I marched right up to them – Gordon had won another race and I had ended up in the wall again for the third or fourth time that season. I had a couple drinks in me and couldn’t take the anxiety anymore so I challenged him to a fight.”

“I said, “Gwen! You wanna roll with this guy? He’s 5’8! God – he’s from California for crying ou-

“That’s when I hit him”

– Jeff Gordon

Jeff Gordon on the experience: “Reggie came up fast and furious. Spouting about me hanging out with his fiancé. I didn’t even know who she was. She was some lady that just kept following me. But I didn’t like the way he was talking to her or me so I hit him. Hard. Punched him right in the head. He screamed out something like, “Ya hit me right in my head bone!”

“Jeff Gordon punched me directly in my face. I yelled out asking why he had to hit me in my head bone and he said it’s called your skull, ya numbskull. Clean up your act or nobody is going to love you, Reggie. Hell, even Mark Martin hates you and Mark Martin likes everybody! We both looked up at Mark Martin and he nodded. It was true. Even Mark Martin hated me. Just then it had started to rain. And I laid there holding my head laying in the gutter crying. I wouldn’t finish the 2021 season. I just wanted to give up.”

Reggie would go on to finish the 2021 campaign in 31st place.

This concludes part one of: “ESPN’s 30 For 30: Reggie Goldwind: Born in a Garbage Can.” Thank you for reading.

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5 thoughts on “Reggie Goldwind: Born in a Garbage Can

  1. That is quite the story! But really, this part:

    ” Did I leave him in a Burger King bag? Yes. Did I then place that bag in a Garbage can in a truck stop? Yes. Did I then dump more garbage over him to conceal his naked little body? Sure, did. But was it my actions that made him the winner he is today? You bet. ”

    The nerve of some people! I wonder who took care of him until he was five. Regardless, this story is really mind-blowing. I’ll have to add it to my watchlist. Also, I’m glad Jeff Gordon punched him in the face. As a sober alcoholic, I can say only tough love truly helps.

    30 for 30 is awesome! I watched The Fab Five, but Catching Hell has to be my favorite. Have you seen it, about Steve Bartman?

    Liked by 1 person

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