What does racing mean to me? Racing is about wanting to go fast, and achieving that goal. It’s about winning. No matter how close you come to first, if you come second, you’re not a winner. You can’t go to victory lane and celebrate your achievements, or do a burnout and climb the fence. You can’t have a checkered flag or a trophy.
Racing is a passion. Not everybody does it knowing that they can win. If you really think about it, only about 20-30 cars on a given week have the speed to beat the others and be competitive. The rest don’t enter hoping the other 42 cars get wrecked; they do it just for the racing. Maybe you’re a young kid trying to make it; you’re not looking for a win. When trying to make it in the sport, you need experience. You have to follow more experienced guys around knowing you can’t catch them, but you try anyway.
Racing, for me, is an escape. Away from all my problems and stress. Racing is also a dream; one I also know has a slight chance of succeeding. I wanna be involved in the sport in some way. I don’t care if I’m sweeping the floor after the race, I wanna be at the track surrounded by the fans, teams, and drivers every weekend. When I go to the track now, it matter what the standings are, or who’s going to win money, when I go I want to see my favorite drivers win. I want to watch a great show. Getting to meet any driver, regardless of who it is, it’s still an honor and a joy. You look up to these people, and being able to talk to these people and share a few moments with them is priceless.
Last year, I went to the NASCAR Nationwide series race at Iowa. Just like any normal race at Iowa, there was lots of passing and it was intense. Sam Hornish Jr, who was driving for Brad Keselowski who had a broken ankle, dominated the race until a brake fire totaled the car. After his issues it was all up to Carl Edwards and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. If you had never watched a race before, you would have never guessed Edwards and Stenhouse Jr. were teammates.
The way they raced each other and were bumping each other every lap. On the final lap, Stenhouse Jr. had it in the bag. From my seat high above the start finish line I watched him go through the turns, and on the backstretch. When he went into turn 3, we were all about ready to leave when out of turn 4 Stenhouse Jr’s car went up in smoke. The car shook all over, trying to break loose. We all saw Edwards coming. What was he going to do? Go up? Down? All of us were surprised when he picked neither. Slam! Right into the back of Stenhouse Jr’s car, making it shake. The rest of the cars came flying through, scattering everywhere.
That’s racing! Not crashing. Not hitting others. Passing, bumping, trying to achieve something. Working so hard to win something and not giving up on your dreams. Knowing that things can change in an instant and you can’t change it. In just a few tenths of a second you can go from winning the race to crashing and not being able to keep up with the pace car. I have only been around racing for about four years, but I’m addicted. Racing means a lot to me, and it shows many different sides of me, but I love racing!
By Caleb Slouha