God Speed Elvis
Story By: Pete MacDonald
If you ever had the pleasure of meeting Theodore “TJ” Kingsland, better known as Elvis, you met someone who had more heart than just about anyone that I’ve ever met not just at the race track but in my 32 years of life, period. Undoubtedly one of the nicest souls walking this planet, TJ loved our sport more than anything. He ate, slept, breathed the sport. He would do anything and anytime and anywhere to help you out no matter what the circumstances.
Unfortunately, TJ passed away in his sleep on Saturday night, just hours after working the Allentown Indoor Race. If there is a comforting thing to come out of it was the fact that just hours before, he was happy and at a race track.
I first met TJ back around 2007, until then he was just the goofy kid that blasted Elvis and just about every race track function he went to. Always talking about his “hunk of burning love”, playing air guitar amongst more Elvis shenanigans. You were always greeted by a fist bump from him and no matter how bad of a day you were having, TJ made you laugh, I will miss that.
TJ loved to flag the races more than anything, just like any driver never left home without his helmet bag, TJ never left for the races without his set of flags, just in case he was needed. One night way after hours at NES and we were having golf cart races in the pits, who had his set of flags? TJ did. Flagging the 1/4 Midget races at Atco and later on becoming a corner flagger at both New Egypt and Bridgeport Speedways along with the Indoor Series races in Allentown and Atlantic City meant everything to him, just being involved in the sport meant a lot to him. Whatever needed to be done he was willing to help. Nothing was ever too big or small to accomplish and he never had a bad thing to say about anyone, something that is VERY hard to do in this business. He just wanted to be included, something that is missing big time in our sport these days.
A few years ago when he was working with us at New Egypt, I went to leave one night and noticed him sitting out on the front steps all alone, I went and sat next to him and asked him what was up and he was in tears. Someone had yelled at him during the night and he was so beyond worried that he was going to get in trouble and not be allowed back to the track anymore, so he sat in the dark and cried to himself. We sat and talked to each other for probably an hour, he calmed down and ended up heading home, calling me the next day to thank me for talking to him.
Even on occasion the past season while answering phones at New Egypt, TJ would call if Bridgeport wasn’t racing or if it was a mid week race or something like that and would ask if we need anything or a corner flagger or anything like that. He just wanted to help out, I regret now telling him that we were good for the night.
Seeing him at the race track from Syracuse to Florida, I will miss my buddy Elvis.
There has been a GoFundMe set up to help out with TJ’s funeral expenses. to donate visit: https://www.gofundme.com/f/p5njq-remembering-teddy?sharetype=teams&member=3464428&pc=fb_co_campmgmt_w&rcid=r01-157832121636-68583f41bddc4a85&utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=fb_co_campmgmt_w&fbclid=IwAR3f4E274Qij7r4_labTOHjTuW4LsA6NN9yGPMIoIQch56lFgh-rAl-ROQk