Every race car driver has to start somewhere. Most start in quarter midgets or go karts as young as five years old, and some start later on in life. Some will make it to the big leagues, and some will not. No matter who you are, what you started racing, or when you started racing it, one thing is for sure; you will always remember the place where your career began. The division you start in is not nearly as important as the place where you became a driver; your first home track.
Walking into the pits at my first home track gave me a sense of belonging. That was where I made my first laps in a race car, where I had my first win and victory lap, and where I met some of my closest friends. Your first home track gives you opportunities to make a name for yourself and become the driver you have always dreamed of being. Whether your plan was to be the next big name in NASCAR or you were simply there because it was a hobby of yours, your home track was always there to present new challenges and obstacles to you. Even though I raced on the same track each weekend, I constantly found myself learning new things about it, my cars, and even myself. With every race I entered, I started to believe in myself more and finally found something I was passionate about. Not everyone can say that at the mere age of eight years old they have found something they loved to do, and I am thankful that I did. I would not have fallen in love with this sport and lifestyle if it was not for my first home track.
Having a home track that you return to week in and week out also allows for friendships that will last a lifetime to begin and grow. Seeing the same friends, who also happen to be your competitors, each weekend creates a bond like no other. Although it may be true that there are no friendships on the track, they are definitely present in the pits. When I was not on the track, you could always find me off somewhere playing football and hanging out with my ‘track friends’ who later turned into some of my best friends. These are friendships that, although may be long distance, still are strong and lifelong. This is all thanks to my first home track.
No matter if you raced on dirt or asphalt, on a Friday night or a Saturday night, every driver remembers their first home track. Home tracks are character builders and in the long run, matter a lot more than one might think. My first home track gave me the confidence and knowledge I needed to move up into the bigger division of micro sprints. That confidence and knowledge also translated to my life outside of racing and helped as I grew up into a young adult. Going to the race track each weekend was about more than just racing. It taught me important life lessons such as how to be a good winner, and how to be an even better looser when it just was not my night. Countless weekends were spent at my home track competing for championships, but the things that I learned there are far more important than the amount of wins I had each season.
So this is a thank you to my very first home track. Thank you for teaching me discipline. Thank you for giving me something to work towards. Thank you for providing me with the feeling that I was a part of a family. Thank you for teaching me how to be confident in myself, but also grounded when I found success. Thank you for giving me the best childhood filled with some of the greatest friends. But most of all, thank you for molding me into the person and driver I am today.
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Article by : Alyssa Riker
Edited by : BJ Antonio