I had a conversation with my sister last night that was awesome. My sister and I used to be very close. And then, well, life happened. I move 1,000 miles away from her and she got sick and we drifted apart.
The last couple of years have been a struggle for me because I miss her, genuinely. She was my best friend for the majority of my life and then she was different and I was different and our relationship was different. It almost seemed like last night we reconnected in the way that we used to.
She called me to tell me that it had gotten back to her that someone was talking about her, saying all kinds of things that made her feel really bad. We’ve all been in this spot. It sucks. Especially when the things that people are saying are the things that you are worried about them saying. Ugh. It really sucks.
I told her the only thing that I could, the only thing that I really believe:
“People are saying that you are crazy behind your back? So what! Maybe you are crazy. You want to know a secret? All of the best people are!”
It’s one of my favorite quotes from Alice in Wonderland. But it’s so true. Think about all of the brilliant, wonderful, successful, amazing people that we all look up to that weren’t completely there.
Walt Disney – This dude made a talking mouse into a legend. When you really think about it that is all kinds of crazy!
Steve Jobs – This guy was one of my favorite people. Some of the things that he said were completely amazing. But some of them were completely crazy! He endorsed taking LHC because he said it inspired him to be creative. Now, maybe you are all for drugs, me? Not so much. To me, this is insane.
Me! – Yep, me. I gave up everything I had, left everyone I knew, and moved 1,000 miles away from home to chase race cars. I had no friends or connections in racing and no idea how to get them. When I arrived in NC I had no job, no money, and no place to stay. Somehow I managed to make it work for a year. Then I got laid off and had to turn around and go home, with my tail firmly between my legs. After a year of trying to figure out what to do, I repeated the process, much to my parent’s disappointment. A “real job” was just not in the cards for me. I was back in NC for another year and a half before I got a real racing job. That’s pretty crazy on anyone’s scale.
The funny thing to me is that, for years, people told me that I was crazy for wanting to go racing. But now, that I’m on my feet and making the dream work, they say, “I knew you could do it!” I rehearsed this to my sister as well. She’s on the verge of starting a journey that some people will say and have said is crazy. My only advice thought is to go for it. It won’t seem so crazy when it all works out.
Case and point –
Three years ago, while I was at home in between moves to NC, a friend of mine gave me garage passes to a NASCAR race in Kentucky. Home was Kansas City, which was a 10 hour road trip to KY Speedway. I talked my sister into going with me. The deal was I would drive and she would buy everything. Sounded good to me! We had no motel reservations or anything. We also had no idea that this place was out in the middle of nowhere. But, it was the first Cup race there and the first time I had a Hot Pass, so I wasn’t going to let anything stop me from going. I was fully intending on sleeping in the car if that was the only option.
We set out from KC about 7pm on Thursday night and arrived in Louisville about 6am the next morning. I will never forget taking my change of clothes and toothbrush into the bathroom at McDonalds. I felt pretty freaking crazy at that point.
We retrieved out passes from the NASCAR hauler and proceeded into the infield at the track. We stayed there until after the Nationwide race (around 11pm). When we got back to the car we were both exhausted and cranky. My sister all of the sudden was not cool with sleeping in the car, so we went in search of a motel. An hour later we found on that was not very nice, but they had one available room. The door to the room didn’t lock. We propped a chair up against it and went to sleep, too tired to worry about it.
The next morning we woke up to the manager banging on the door, telling us to either get out or pay for another night. In my rush to take a shower I noticed a bad breakout of bumps on my legs, an allergic reaction to something.
After a quick stop for food, we made our way to the track. We sat in the legendary traffic delay for 5 hours. My sister kept telling me, “We could be home by the time they throw the green flag.” She’s more of a fair weather race fan than I am. I’m so glad that I held my ground and told her no. We were going to the race come hell or high water.
We made it into the track a couple of hours before the green flag. We watched the race from the pit box next to Kevin Harvick. I was hanging over the pit wall so much that the NASCAR official was pushing me back, warning me that I was going to get hit by a lugnut. It was an unbelievable experience.
After the we jumped back in the car and headed 10 hours home. I have NEVER been so tired in my life!
I stood on pit road and imagined what it would be like to have a hard card (an annual credential to all of the races given only to team members). I dreamed of that day.
Today, I am back at Kentucky Speedway with a hard card around my neck. I reminded my sister of this last night. It seemed like a crazy, impossible dream… until it happened.