Hemby Bridge, NC – From previous articles, everyone by now is pretty aware of my work schedule, but if you aren’t aware, here’s the deal. I’m required to work weekends because the job demands it. Every fifth weekend, my boss will send me an email saying “Hey, if you want off Saturday and Sunday, take it. I got you covered.” I usually reply “Sure.” And that’s that. I check out USCSracing.com/schedule and I’m off to the races.
Most weeks though, Thursdays and Fridays are my Saturdays and Sundays…
Most weeks fortunately, the United Sprint Car Series will have a Friday night show within eight hours of home.
Random Fact… CPI Security Systems are lifesaving. If someone bust through your door, Monroe Police are there within seconds. CPI Security Systems are also perfect for bosses making sure your ass shows up on time for work. It’s a builder’s clock in/clock out device.
Given historical trends, a dirt track in the Southeast will rarely start features before the 10PM mark and I’ve decided that a midnight checkered flag is my deadline. If those checkered flags are waving by 12am and Google Maps is recommending a route that gets my ass home in time to take a shower before work, challenge accepted.
And it just so happened that the last two weeks have challenged all my theories of what it’s like to be a true racer.
Was I willing to work all day and night at a job I loved? Then haul ass to the shop to pursue a dream that means so much? With the notion that I’m probably gonna be hitting the highway a lone wolf chasing this dream because my normal friends have normal jobs and normal job hours?
The logistics proved it was possible and my passion is undeniable.
I try to plan for the worst in the greatest situations. It only takes seven hours to get there and the drivers meeting starts at 6:30. That pretty much means that I’m cruising down 485 around 6am. You do the math.
Most race day itineraries have found me avoiding adversities basically meaning I’ve shown up really early the last two races.
Early enough to tour the Talladega Speedway in boredom with a slight curiosity as to where Davey died.
Early enough a week later to hang out with a second cousin I haven’t seen in ten years with an opportunity to fight her daughter over whose turn it was to play with some spinner thing while being attacked by vicious pitbulls armed with massive wet tongues.
One of those nights, I’d get out of the car on the front stretch while officials handed me free Hoosier stuff to take pictures with. It was so cool because I’ve always wanted to give a kid in the stands something I’ve worked so hard for.
This time it was a hat… He was so happy and I don’t really look good in hats anyway. Too big a head and my ears aren’t level.
Both features found me exceeding my expectations and both features found me wanting it even more.
The adrenaline from participating in one of the most dangerous sports in the world can only get a tired soul just so far down the highway. I pull into a rest stop to catch a few minutes of sleep.
This isn’t part of the plan. I gotta be at work in the morning. I can’t screw this up. I love this job. I love racing. I gotta keep…………..
I’m nudged a few moments later. Crusted eyes hurt from the sunshine and my neck is killing me. I’m trying to figure out what’s going on.
Lannie tells me we’re home. I look over at him and say mmmhmm.
I jump out of the F350. The back is killing me. My hips are the standard sore as hell. I’m hiding behind the trailer shoveling dirt from my nose.
Once my senses normalize, I stand up straight and stretch my arms in personal victory with a massive smile on my face.
I stare off in the distance some fifty feet away. My uncle’s walking to his car to go home to get ready for work.
I soon realize I couldn’t have done this without him... All the personal achievements I had planned on taking hundred percent credit for over the last few days wouldn’t have been possible without him.
Apparently sometimes a man needs his uncle…