Survivor In The Fast Lane

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Monday, October 17, 2011 - 7:03am

101-year-old breast cancer survivor takes a lap with her favorite NASCAR driver.

At 101, Nannie Sue Neal is the oldest living survivor of breast cancer in North Carolina and, as it turns out, a huge, life-long fan of NASCAR.

She will celebrate her 102nd birthday on Saturday, the same day as the Bank of America 500 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway.

On Wednesday she was named Honorary Race Director of the Dollar General 300 Miles of Courage race that will be held at the Speedway Friday night.

A lunch in her honor featured a cake decorated in memory of the late Dale Earnhardt, who was her favorite driver.

Marcus Smith, who is the president and general manager of the track, welcomed Neal.

"We are so thrilled to have you celebrate your 102nd birthday and also breast cancer awareness month," Smith said.

Neal seemed to soak it all in, smiling and waving.

"I might look like a road map, but I'm here and still alive," she said.

She was born in 1909 in Madison, N.C.

She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1954, long before many of the medical advancements of today were available.

“They didn't have chemotherapy. They didn't have a lot of the things they have today. You either survived or you didn't, and she survived,” said Neal’s granddaughter, Bettylyn Krafft.

After lunch Neal was escorted down to the track where the pink pace car that will be used in the race Friday night was waiting.

She had her own personal driver, Kenny Wallace, who took her around the big oval as she smiled and waved.

"You find a woman like Nanny Sue that's 102 years old and she is a survivor, let alone still living-It is an honor for me just to take her around the racetrack,” Wallace said.
 

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