*NOT INTENDED FOR ANYONE IN PARTICULAR, SERIOUSLY*
As young children we're taught to believe in things such as the Tooth Fairy, Santa Clause, and the Easter Bunny. We believe these things with innocence and total trust in what we're told. We just don't know any better. As we grow older we begin to doubt these magical beings until one day we realize it was never true to begin with. We lose part of our innocence and our trust in things. We begin to become cynical beings in some way. Although it started out bright and beautiful to us, once we saw the truth it completely changed things for us. You lose faith in what people tell you in some small way. The holidays aren't quite so magical anymore.
Now, being in racing as a fan for so long I can say I have seen many, many things. I've heard more than I've seen and it's never really bothered me. I'm not one to ever really get bothered by much. It's one of my superpowers. In the last year though, things have started weighing on me. I've noticed a change in racing or in people period. Or maybe I just never really noticed as much before because it never dealt with me directly. Racing was always about coming to the race track, meeting up with all your friends for a good time and watching some serious action. If there was drama it was left at the track. If people said they would do something, they meant it. People basically just went on about their lives unconcerned about pettiness.
Being on a different side of racing I have experienced a whole new world from the one I used to see. Part owner in a racing series, (the greatest series of all time, with the best drivers ever) and part owner in the website you are currently checking out, you are dealing with a whole new set of rules. You deal with the full range of people, personalities and situations. Going from race to race will put you in the path of some unique dealings. You are responsible for a lot more and your faith and patience gets tested daily. You continually tell yourself you love what you do and that it's all worth it. Until that day you realize that you don't eat hardly anymore, you never seem to sleep, and your stomach hurts a lot more from anxiety and stress. I'm a tough nut to crack so when I tell you this you should know this isn't something that happens to you overnight but is more of a long, slow burn. You have to put up with a lot to live this life and this isn't a pity party of one but a reality of life.
When the day comes you realize things are affecting you negatively is the day you lose some of the fun and childlike wonder you once had for something you've loved so much. I'm hardheaded as the day is long so I'll dig my heels in and keep going but so much of my faith in things with racing are slowly getting lost. I'm losing faith in what people in racing tell me, what they tell fans, what they tell drivers. I'm losing faith in the goodness of the sport when people are holding so tight onto grudges that the only goal they have is to destroy the ones they see in their heads as their opponents. Who has time for these things? It seems someone is always willing to step on and over someone to get somewhere in this sport. More money, more fans, more sponsors, whatever it may be. It's hard to not wonder if in one minute you can trust someone and turn around and wonder if they will step right over you for their own purposes or to make themselves look better.
There's also the issue of being at the top of your game and someone always wants to topple you. You work hard, try to do the right things, not perfectly, but you try and people will find a reason to dislike you or find your faults and hold onto that like a dog with a bone. No matter what you do nothing will ever make them happy or satisfy them. They've cheered for you on the ride to the top but once you get there they want to be the one to push you off the cliff. So, many times I've seen a driver make it to the top and then all the old friends begin to have resentment towards him for finally making it and just begin to hope for the day he slips up just a little and loses what he worked so hard for. Why do we build up just to tear down? Why not keep the cheering section going even after the success has came?
I've also recently began to dread opening any of my social media because I know what I'm going to see that day. One such situation I see commonly is one driver in conflict with another driver and will not relent with sly comments and posts or memes or making comments such as the other driver just cries too much. It never ends. They don't just leave it with one comment or post, they continue it daily or weekly. Where did the days go when we had problems with someone we say what we need to say and move on? Why must these drivers keep needling things? It always spills over onto the track or at the track with fights and hard feelings. Does this help our sport in any way? Are we building up what we love or are we tearing down the thing we love the most? Being in a series you come under a certain scrutiny and I see it all the time with other series but it comes to a point when you think you're doing everything right and by the book, but nothing you do seems to be correct sometimes. Everything you seem to do is wrong sometimes and you begin to lose faith in yourself and what you're doing. You can't please people no matter how hard you try. Don't get me wrong, I love what I do with the website and the series but it takes a toll.
I think being honest about this part of racing is cathartic because for me it brings issues to light so that we can all learn from them and do something constructive with what we learn. I don't know how to begin to regain my faith in racing except to see something positive in everything that comes my way and try not to let the bad outweigh the good. We all want to trust those we deal with in this sport. We want them to be as good as their word. We don't want to see drivers destroy other drivers whether with words or race cars. I've seen so much of the opposite lately and had to deal with so much negativity that my faith is wavering. Whether that means to take a step back from racing or take an extended vacation from something I love, it will have to be considered. Like I said, I'm tenacious and hardheaded so that doesn't look to be likely but I hope for the sake of our sport that things begin to change.
Stand by your word, don't treat others as a stepping stone, don't make someone else look bad to make yourself look good, and stop with the social media back and forth. If things continue as they are it'll continue to drag us all down and those set out to hurt others need to step back and ask yourself, if this was your last day on earth is this what you would waste your last minutes on or would you worry about your families and friends? Racing is the love of my life but it isn't life or death for me. Because my life is so tied into it though, it affects me a great deal. I really miss the days sometimes of just going and being a fan and watching. No dealing with behind the scenes stuff, no anxiety, no stress. Maybe one day I will get to experience that again and maybe then my faith will slowly stop dying in something I love so much. I really love everyone I come across, even the ones who don't like me. I care about the people in this sport. I care about this sport period and if one day I still find myself questioning myself, or the people in it, or my faith in it, I will smile and walk away and become that which I miss, a fan. Just another face in the crowd with no responsibilities other than finding out where the concession stand is. I'm still here, I take every day and it's new problems minute by minute and try to keep the faith going and well, I'm holding on and riding the ride and enjoying each day I'm given to be a part of this glorious sport. As George Michael sang, "you gotta have faith". I'm trying George.....I'm really trying.