Previously, I posted on my social about my first NASCAR race which I attended all by myself and I continue to detail how I never feel lonely during my adventures because I meet amazing people along the way. Solo adventures are fun, scary at times but a place that may lead to many other fun adventures if you let it.
There were countless NASCAR races I remember my dad watched and I would find myself watching with him, even though I knew nothing about racing other than they go fast. I am not sure who his favorite driver was but I know he always watched the races. I moved to Florida a little over four years ago and just attended my first race (by myself) last August in Daytona for the Coke Zero Sugar 400 and it was nothing I ever expected.
I see the green flag being waved while sitting just two rows up from the front stretch, near the exit of the pit and the goosebumps on my arms were raised. The cars came around turn 4 ready to cross the checkered flag for the beginning of the race and all of the sudden a flood of excitement came over me. Wishing my dad was with me, wishing I could tell my dad I was there and wishing I could call my dad telling him what it sounded like because the tv did not do it justice; it was at that very moment that I knew I wanted to learn more and soak up what I could all with a big smile on my face. As I enjoyed the race from my seat and the Fanzone, I was already hungry for more. I wanted to be involved on the other side of the track. That is what sparked looking for jobs at Daytona or with NASCAR and I stumbled upon a job with Driving 101.
We all start to learn about something new from one direction or another and I shall spare the details on how I originally picked my favorite driver, but it began with Daniel Suarez with Trackhouse racing, then it all came together when during the last lap of the race in Martinsville, Ross Chastain "rode the wall". I then learned he grew up on a farm, much like myself and I liked that he earned his position and grew up on a farm. That move at Martinsville was a shot in the dark but it secured him a position in the playoffs and secured a position as my first favorite driver.
During one of my shifts at NRE recently, Ross Chastain was a guest at a corporate event and word got out that I was one of his fans. Before he left, I was able to meet him and get a photo with him. I rarely get starstruck and can count on one hand (maybe just a few fingers) the amount of times, I got excited to meet a celebrity or athlete. I think I was excited because like myself, he grew up on a farm and pulled a risky move that benefited him within his profession. Life is full of opportunities to take risks and it is an amazing feeling when things just work out. He was so relaxed, unlike myself who was over the moon excited about meeting my very first NASCAR driver who also was my favorite.
The moral of this story is that I went on a solo adventure last August which sparked a new interest where I am trying to soak up knowledge about NASCAR, the history of the sport, who is who, why people boo or cheer and the hard work these teams put in to get across that finish line. I may not know well known names, but soaking up knowledge is fun and I am taking it from anyone I talk to.