2014 has officially come to a close, which means no more racing this year and the 2015 season is quickly approaching. I don’t know about you, but I am ready. As I reflect back on 2014, I realize it has been a whirlwind year for me. I was trying to think of a Facebook post to write to sum up my year, but it started to look like a book, so I figured a blog would be a better way to capture it.
My year started off as a pretty typical year. Our team raced a few races down south and then my official “working” season for the ARCA Midwest Tour began with the Joe Shear Classic at Madison International Speedway. Of course that is one of my favorite races of the year and has never ceased to have some of the most down-to-the-wire finishes I’ve ever seen. It’s actually kind of a challenge for me to work it because it means so much to me, but it’s also a privilege to be able to write about it in the end.
I could go on about my summer and racing, etc., etc., etc., but that’s not really what this blog is about. It’s more about what this past year has taught me and how it created in me an unfathomable appreciation for all of us “racers” and how much we learn from each other about life. I got to know and even reconnected with some of the most exceptional people I’ve ever met in my life. I believe that relationships all start with a common ground, which in this case is clear, but what I’ve discovered is that sometimes, racing is just the icebreaker and the bond that develops doesn’t really have anything to do with racing at all.
Growing up, I was much like my dad, and those who knew our family best can vouch for it. I was shy, quiet, usually looked at the ground, and didn’t say a whole lot. I would hide out in the trailer or stay close to the car most of the day. When my dad was on the track, I’d go somewhere that no one else was, or find a way to disappear into a large group, then slip back to the trailer. In fact, at extended family gatherings, my dad and I would sit together and just observe everyone else. We weren’t trying to be rude, we just didn’t have a whole lot to say. I still do this in certain situations but over the years I’ve gotten better.
My 2014 racing season has enlightened me a little bit, however. I’m still the same person, and at times it takes me a while to start talking, and sometimes when I’m in an unfamiliar group I never really get there. But other times I’m perfectly content as my dad and I were, and just sit back and take it all in. I have a lot of great friends and wouldn’t trade them for the world, most of which I have gotten to know this year. But I’ll be honest, I keep a pretty small number, varying in ages and personality types, of what I consider really close friends (hopefully they all know who they are). With a personality like mine, the more people I’m surrounded by, the quieter I get, so having a large number of close friends would kind of defeat the purpose.
There are certain people that come into your life that make you feel completely comfortable being you, whether that be quiet or crazy, or sometimes a little bit of both. I’ve had some pretty great people who have done that for me. And you know that saying, “pay it forward?” Well, I can only hope that I can do that very thing for the people I meet. I have met some of the coolest people since I started this blog. Sometimes I am taken back by the words they share with me about how a blog has touched them or how they can relate. I can put a lot of things into words when it comes to writing, but how much it means to me when I get these messages is beyond any words I could even piece together. So many times I am so incredibly humbled it brings tears to my eyes, just as it is right now thinking about it.
What I’ve been reminded of is that we all love to watch cars go in circles whether it be pavement, dirt, or really any kind of racing, but there is so much more to us “racers.” 2014 has been one of the most amazing years of my life. Looking at racing from the inside out has opened up doors I never even knew existed, and created relationships I would never have otherwise taken the time to build. It has also brought so many racing memories back to the forefront of my mind, which is quite obvious in all of my blogs. Racing is a sport, racing is a family. We are all in this crazy, racing life together. While the logistics of the sport may change over the years, I know that my passion never does. For me, it isn’t the sport itself that continues to transform me, it is the people. Those are words I never thought I’d ever hear myself say.
I was so nervous yet so excited to get started with this blog back in September. I was looking forward to writing with freedom without the parameter requirements of my usual writing. The response after my first blog was so overwhelming. You all gave me the confidence that I could actually do this thing. I went through some ups and downs over the past few months, not wanting to release some here and there, and between you and me, I’ve got a few unpublished blogs sitting in my files.
None of us know what the future holds for racing or even our own lives for that matter, but the one thing I know that will carry on is the amazing relationships that racing has brought into my life. I look forward to what new experiences 2015 will present and how many more memories it will both create and bring back to life. Who knows, they might all be captured together in one place one day. 😉
So to those of you who have continued to encourage me, thank you. To those of you who have spent even a moment of your time reading even just one blog, thank you. To those of you who have made such a tremendous impact on my life, thank you. Y’all have made my 2014 a year to remember and I can’t wait to blog about all the new memories and events in 2015.
May you all have a Blessed and Happy New Year!
Oh and don’t forget the first event of 2015! I can’t be there, but I hope you can!
What: Midwest Racer’s Auction & Trade Show
When: Friday & Saturday, January 2-3, 2015
Where: Stock Building Supply Bldg 1849 Hobbs Dr, Delavan, WI