August 11th 2002 – it had only taken him a little over an hour or so to go from Watkins Glen International speedway to Niagara Falls, NY.
Abandoning the race in progress a news helicopter followed Reggie Goldwind’s Nascar as it left the track and pulled up on to the road. It made a quick left at the traffic light and hopped on the thruway headed West. Now after a high speed chase, Goldwind’s NASCAR was at the edge of Niagara Falls and he was standing on top of it with a megaphone. The car looked as if it could be swept up by the current of the Niagara River at any moment. Niagara Falls police surrounded the area, guns drawn – unsure of what he might do next. A hostage negotiator was called in from the FBI to deescalate the situation.
The FBI negotiator raised his megaphone and addressed the distressed Goldwind.
“Mr. Goldwind. May I call you, Reggie?”
Goldwind pacing on top of his car just shrugs as the water just below the top of his tires rushes past his car. The roar of the falls in the background like the low hum of a hungry abyss.
“Reggie… I have to ask. Why are you here?”
Reggie pauses and seems to think for a second.
He then raises his own megaphone. “Well.. I figured I was born in a trash can, might as well die in one. Figured, Niagara Falls, New York is about as close to one as you can get.”
The Niagara Falls Police officers all look at one another and shrug agreeing.
The FBI negotiator sighs and thinks for a moment. He has an idea. “Reggie, I don’t mean what brings you here. I meant why are you here acting like a fool threatening to jump down the Niagara Falls”
Reggie raises his megaphone and yells into it.
Everyone stares at him but can’t hear him. It seems his megaphone is malfunctioning.
“Reggie, Reggie hang on. Your megaphone ain-“
His megaphone kicks back on as he’s finishing his speech “…from California and he don’t love her like I love her.”
The FBI negotiator looked back at the other officers, “Anyone know what this idiot is talking about?”
“I do.” A man in an unmarked fire suit and cool 90’s shades emerges. He’s tall, blonde, mustached and has a mullet. It’s the sexiest man the sport of NASCAR has ever seen, “The Anomoly” Billy Sprinkle.
The negotiator looks him up and down unimpressed. “Well, spit it out will ya before the Falls spits your buddy’s mangled corpse out.”
Sprinkle takes off his shades and looks the negotiator up and down. “You ain’t a man. With your microphone and your FBI coat. You ain’t nothing to me.”
“Yeah? And who are you, fuck face?”
“Call me daddy, son. Because I made love to your mo-“
The FBI negotiator throws his hands up in the air and begins storming off. “I can’t work with this guy! He don’t follow the script – he does whatever the hell he wants”
“CUT” a man from a director’s chair yells. The actors all quietly separate, some talking amongst themselves as they relax. The actor playing Reggie Goldwind, Owen Wilson, hops down from the prop NASCAR in the Hollywood set river meeting an assistant halfway who is wading through the water to take his lunch order.
“The Goldwind Story” is being shot under the watchful eye of its namesake. Reggie and his wife, Guinevere walk over to the Stone Cold Steve Austin (who is playing the FBI negotiator) and give him a hug. They make some light banter about meeting for lunch tomorrow and the Goldwinds move on. Gwen and Reggie move on to the actor playing Billy Sprinkle. The ruggedly handsome, Timothy Olyphant. They hug and the Goldwinds move on to signing autographs for fans.
Back in the interview studio Reggie sits down mic-ed up. It’s his first interview since he’s retired as one of NASCAR’s greatest racers. His rivalry with Billy Sprinkle is seen as one of the most iconic rivalries in motor sports history.
Goldwind begins, “it was that moment in August 2002 where I was at my lowest that I finally realized a couple things I needed to. One – just because you’re born in a garbage can wrapped up in some Burger King wrappers with Dr Pepper spilled all over ya doesn’t mean you’re trash. Two – once Billy Sprinkle showed up in my life – he gave me something to focus my energy on. We might have been rivals but he gave me something worth fighting for. Before I only had things to die for. Now I had something to live for.”
“I’m not sure why Sprinkle did what he did. I’m not even sure Sprinkle knew why. He disappeared just as mysteriously as he appeared. He was like a bolt of lightning. Never to be contained. When he called me Trash Baby Goldwind, it hurt – but it fueled me. When he made love to my life and sent me a DVD of it. That hurt a lot too. When he impregnated her and made me raise his child – that … you see… well that was a lot.” Goldwind starts to tear up. “To answer your question … I don’t know who or what Billy Sprinkle was – the only thing I do know is that Billy Sprinkle was unforgettable, good or bad.”
With the newcomer Sprinkle tormenting NASCAR racers – Goldwind finally got clean and focused on racing in his #33 Baby Blue Kleenex Chevrolet. He would go on to win the Winston Cup Championship in 2003. But looking in disgust from pit row as Goldwind hoisted the trophy was “the anomaly” Billy Sprinkle.
This concludes ESPN’s 30 For 30: Reggie Goldwind: Born in a Garbage Can Part 2. If you missed part one please click Here
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