Chat Room: Kevin Coffey

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By Lance Coleman

Name: Kevin Coffey
Age: 40
Maritial status: Married to Sherry Coffey
Children: Three daughters -- Miranda, 17, Morgan 12, and Sarah, 10.
Occupation: Co-owner of CDE Electric with Mark Dege; co-owner of Thunderworld. New owner, with wife Sherry, of Mountain Raceway Park and Fairgrounds, the former Smoky Mountain Speedway.

If you were stranded on an island, what one thing would you take?
"A television, if I had reception."

If you could do one impulsive thing, unrestricted by cost, what would it be?
"Ride into space. That would be unbelievable, and something very few people have the opportunity to do. It would be spiritual to be able to do that."

What task or activity have you still not gotten around to doing?
"Work around my house."

What are you guilty of?
"I’m guilty of not spending enough time with my family. It’s the one thing I feel more guilty about than anything. There’s a happy medium between providing and being there to provide."

What is one thing you have always wanted to do but haven’t?
"Get my pilot license. I love flying, and, hopefully, that will be the next step after I get this race track going. It gives you freedom to be up there in peace and quiet."

Do you think there is life on other planets?
"I don’t believe there are functioning beings. There might be plant life. I guess anything is possible."

What is your favorite material possession?
"That would probably be my truck. I love my truck. It’s a 2005 F-150. I’ve got it pimped out a little bit."

Who has been the most influential person in the 20th century?
"In my opinion, President Roosevelt. He started TVA. Tennessee was a real poor area. Nobody had jobs, there was nothing here. The Tennessee River flooded and created havoc. A lot of people don’t like him because of the dam system, but if he hadn’t built it, we wouldn’t have what we have today. That was an important step in our area."

What was your most embarrassing moment?
"Spinning out qualifying at Smoky Mountain Speedway."

Why did you pursue the career you chose?
"I didn’t intentionally choose my career. I just had an opportunity and felt it would be good to learn. It appealed to me because I’ve always been interested in mechanics and making things work."

When you were 5 years old, what did you want to be when you grew up?
" A race car driver."

What was your first paying job?
"Hauling hay and working tobacco."

What is one word others often use to describe you and why?
"Energetic or creative. I am always thinking about how to improve something."

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
"I would not sweat the small stuff."

With whom, living or dead, would you most like to have a long lunch?
"W.B. Townsend of the Little River Railroad and Lumber Company."

What do you hate?
"Cry babies. A lot of people look for a problem instead of looking for a solution."

What’s your favorite quote?
"Go big or go home. If you’re going to talk about something, do it."

What is your dream vacation?
Coffey says he would enjoy a trip to Egypt and the Great Pyramids.

Rebels, Tornadoes, Mountaineers or Governors?
"Govs."

What is your all-time favorite movie?
" I like ‘Days of Thunder.’ It is about racing, and they show a lot of the actual passion. Even though Hollywood blew a lot out of proportion, it shows the passion people have for a car racing."

If you won a big lottery jackpot, what is the charitable donation you would make? How would you splurge?
Coffey says he would donate to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital and go on a trip around the world on the Queen Mary.

If you could go back in time for a week, what time period or year would you visit?
"Around 1920 to see my grandfather working as a logger in the Great Smoky Mountains."

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