Thursday, March 19, 2015
A Family Like No Other
So, most people go to bed at night thinking they will wake up the next morning to start their normal lives as usual with their usual routines. Most people do anyways. I'm going to let you into some small insight into my life. I'm not one of those people. I go to bed at night ready for coffee in the morning already but also more than that, I'm fearful. Fearful of what you might wonder? Checking my phone. It may seem ridiculous to some but the story behind it isn't. I try to not check it but with family all over the place it's a necessity. My fear comes from the morning of September 8, 2011. I went to bed the night before thinking as most do, that I'd wake up to start my normal routine, and that morning I did until I remembered to check my phone and seeing it was lit up with missed calls and voice mails I knew something was wrong. To hear your grandma crying and upset through a voice mail telling you that you're father has been in a wreck that morning and it doesn't look good will kind of stop you from ever wanting to check your phone in the morning again. It will scar you for the rest of your life especially when you lose the one man you knew loved you more than anyone else ever would.
Things like that will resonate with you forever and its not something you just get over. Soon after, I kind of threw myself into a more intimate relationship with racing besides just the parts I had already been involved in. It became even more of my life and with the emptiness losing my father had left, I started gaining a family to heal the hole left behind. When I tell someone that the people in racing are my family I mean it from every fiber in my being. These have been more than just friends and acquaintances. They have been a laugh when I've needed one, a listening board when I needed to vent, and pure love when I've felt my lowest. It's not just about cars and tracks and setups in racing, it's about the people that make up the sport. It is quite simply, a family. Our bonds to the sport are our bonds to each other. Some people may not look at it as a family because some just aren't wired that way and not everyone gets along and likes each other which is ok also but those people have too much hate and ugliness in them and that's for them to live with, not me.
Recently something happened that took me back to a morning I had wished to never relive and that was one morning last week when I woke up the same way only to feel fear again at seeing my phone lit up with messages but this time about a friend I love so very much, Tony Bennett, being involved in a wreck and then being told it was critical and not knowing many more details than that. Pure terror and fear became real in those moments because he wasn't just a friend for me, he was part of my racing family. He was part of so many other people's racing family and the sheer amount of love for the man was overwhelming. As we all began to ask people for their thoughts and prayers for him to make it and heal, people in racing who had no idea who he was began to post well wishes and positive thoughts for him because even if they didn't know him personally, he was part of the racing family. He wasn't just another faceless name, he was a family member they took as their own and came together for those agonizing hours to circle him in love and positivity.
Racing family. Do you see what I mean now? My racing family has always been there. They are part of me and I am part of them. The heart all these people have is something that simply can not be put into words. When we lose a member of our family or lose a member of our own personal families who's always there when we need them? It's those we see at the track and even those we have never seen at our tracks but race somewhere else and share our love for racing. It brings us all together in a way not many other sports can. We are tied together. We raise money for those who need it, we help give parts to drivers who may not have the money to buy new things, we don't look down at those who need us, we send positive thoughts and love to those in our family who need it. We are a family and we will always come together when one of us needs it. I speak for about 95% of us. Like I said, there are the 5% who live in the uglier side of life than I do.
We are a strong family and we are never going to leave each other. We are here for good or bad, at least I know I am. I don't think a life without the racing family is much of a life. Tony is still in bad condition but he's here, he's alive, and he's fighting and we are all trying to send him love to help fight for him and giving our love and support to his family who he loves more than anything. It's been a hard ordeal for them but they are strong and they know he's fighting to come back to them. The racing family is here for anything they need and anything he needs. One of the ways to help will be next weekend on March 28th, at Waycross Motor Speedway, we will be passing the helmet (thanks to Michelle Stone and her huge heart) to raise money to help Tony and his family with medical expenses which will be high to say the least. With the huge crowd expected to turn out for the UDLMS series race and the All Star Stock Car Series races at Waycross I'm hoping to fill the helmet several times. Some of our family may have a lot and some may have a little but they always give generously and whatever they have to give they do. There are always problems in every family but when time comes, we all come together for what matters. I am always and forever going to be grateful for those in my racing family who have came into my life. My love for them will never die and the friendships I've made I will always keep. I've given my soul and heart to this sport and to these people and do not for one moment regret it. Every person I've met and even the ones I haven't met personally but know through racing have touched my life in some way. Some good, some bad, but the good ones I wouldn't trade for the universe for they are my racing family and I will love each and every one of you past my last breath. For Tony, I send my love and positive thoughts every single day for him to fight and get better and for his family I want them to know how incredibly loved they are. The racing family is strong and this family will always be there in moments of grief, pain, and the heights of wins, births, weddings and anything else life brings. Whatever may come, we will always be here, and no matter what, we are together and WE ARE NOT GOING ANYWHERE.