Today we head eight hours northwest to Kentucky Speedway. By the looks on the faces of the Harrys you realize that this is no typical travel day for us. Nope. Today we get "windshield time" in the team van. You should know, all team vans smell like ass, b.o., and well... boys. Which means "windshield time" feels more like "gym bag time" :hackt: Currently, times are tough for a small race team like ours. Just one year ago we were staying in the fanciest of hotels, utilizing shuttle services, and even boarding private jets. This season we don't have the luxury of a full-time sponsor so the indulgences that we had grown accustomed to aren't nearly as plentiful. Yes, we have gotten a bit spoiled but no one in this van forgets that this used to be the only way real racers went racing. The "grass-roots" of our sport. We like to call them, "The Days of Dale" (The late Dale Earnhardt Sr). I believe that most of the mechanics, car owners, spotters and PR reps all began their careers in the "grass roots" fashion of auto racing.
Ex: Anxiously hoping into a steaming hot Suburban in the dead of summer with either family and friends enrounte to the local race track, loving every minute. This is when the seeds of their unforeseen careers are planted. And we didn't care how we got there, we were just happy to go.
As we pass each mile marker I am reflecting on my own "grass root" days. The days when an 8 hour ride to the racetrack was the highlight of my week. A white Ford pickup, toting our family owned race team from race track to race track was my team van. I grew up racing for my Mom and Dad at the local dirt tracks. Those days were the best. We raced every single weekend. The long drives were our time to discuss and dream of where all of this might lead. I learned a lot about life in that truck. (I also learned that making Dad keep the windshield wipers off didn't actually keep the rain from inevitably coming) Back then I believed I would be a racing champion. Those long talks past countless miles markers fueled that desire.
Along the way I transitioned from driver to mechanic. I get to live my life traveling from coast to coast, chasing the NASCAR Nationwide Schedule. I go into the garage, wrench on race cars and walk out everyday. It never crosses my mind that I didn't get to fullfil my dreams as a racecar driver. I am no longer a young driver with dreams of that Cup Race winning pass to keep me motivated. Now I am a mechanic with dreams of that Cup Race winning pit strategy. I have new goals now.
• Do my part to help our race team run better this weekend so maybe we can land a sponsor and not ride in this stanky van anymore. Long term: • Work my way up the ranks and position myself to be a well respected crew chief.
I realize that to accomplish all of the things that i have laid out on my "To-Do" list I have to take steps. Each step is comparable to these mile markers that keep passing by. I know where i want to go, and there's no way to jump ahead or skip some steps. I have to reach each mile marker and continue on to the next.