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Shining Star Drag Racing memorializes daughter

Thirteen years after tragedy struck the Wade family, Owen Wade remembers his daughter who he often referred to as his “shining star.”


On Sept. 16, 1999 life changed forever for Wade when he lost his oldest daughter. Bobbie Jo Wade Jackson was at her home in Paces with her two small children on what seemed to be any other ordinary evening. 

Inside their mobile home near the crest of a hill in the Sutherlin community, Bobbie Jo sat quietly on the sofa holding her 2-week-old son, Brian Michael.

It was naptime.

In the floor asleep in the same room was her 3-year-old daughter, Madeline.

The winds were noticeably strong and brisk, and with no more warning than that, one of several large oak trees in the back yard was uprooted and fell crashing almost through the middle of the trailer.

Instinctively perhaps, Bobbie Jo cradled in her arms and fell on top of her infant child a split second before the tree pinned the two inside their home.

High winds associated with Hurricane Floyd toppled the huge oak tree onto her mobile home claiming the life of this young woman instantly and injuring her infant son.

According to Wade, Bobbie Jo somehow was able to save the 2 week old from serious injury, and he survived after spending several weeks in a Richmond hospital. 

Initial reports of the incident said relatives and neighbors had to use a dozer and a forklift to remove the victims.

“They are both teenagers now, and they both have dimples like she had,” Wade said speaking of his grandchildren, Brian Michael and Madeline.

Before her death, Bobbie Jo was working full-time at Dollar General warehouse and attending Danville Community College night classes to become a Certified Public Accountant.

Wade, through the years, has always found comfort in drag racing. His team once was named Wade Racing but after her death was renamed Shining Star Racing to honor his daughter’s memory.

“I just focus on that, and it gets my mind off of her,” said Wade of drag racing.

Although they race in several locations, he mostly races at Roxboro Motorsports Dragway in Roxboro, N.C.  where they race older trucks such as his 1982 Chevrolet S10.

Wade said he wanted to do something special for his daughter this year because the loss is beginning to get to him. He has a granddaughter who is named after her. “Bobbie Lynn” will be 8-years old on June 29. 

Bobbie Jo’s birthday is June 23, and she would have been 35 years old.

“She was my shining star, and I just wanted to do something nice,” said Wade.

Wade plans to get the announcer at the next drag race he attends in Roxboro on June 29 to dedicate the race to the memory of his “shining star.”

Wade thanked not only his family but expressed a special thanks to Riverdale Auto Parts and Earl Wimbush of Wimbush Racing for their continued support of Shining Star Racing.

Wade resides in Scottsburg with his wife, Arlene. He has three children, Chris, Tiffany and Jeremy.