NASCAR CHAMPIONSHIP TEAM OWNER BARNEY VISSER RETURNS
On Saturday at Daytona International Speedway, championship owner Barney Visser made his first public appearance since a November heart attack grounded him from all NASCAR activities. After largely ignoring warning signs for six months — people, don’t be like Barney — the 68-year-old from Denver took himself to a hospital the Saturday before the Nov. 5 race in Texas.
Two days later, after doctors realized a stent wasn’t going to work, Visser underwent a successful three-way bypass operation . He missed the season’s last three races, including his No. 78 Toyota team’s Cup-winning finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway late in November. He skipped the December awards banquet in Las Vegas, the NASCAR Hall of Fame banquet in Charlotte and his team’s pre-season testing sessions. When he arrived in Daytona Beach Thursday, it marked his first trip outside Colorado in the better part of four months.
Visser looked fine during his half-hour press conference. He was his usual bright and articulate and revealing self, and veteran Visser- and Furniture Row Racing-watchers noticed a gleam in his eyes and heard a new enthusiasm in his voice. He admitted he should have done something about his chest discomfort much sooner than he did.