I love music. I also love motorsports. A weird combination, I know. In fact, the two worlds are so different that someone from one world would stick out like a sore thumb in the other. Trust me, I know. Fans of (good) music tend to be somewhat well rounded, intelligent, and have a good appreciation for the world around them. They also can be overly emotional, lazy, and a touch self absorbed. People in the racing world are blue collar hard working people. They’re incredibly resourceful. They love their families and have a rich appreciation for what the sport has provided for them, and what it means to their relationships with people. There’s also more than a few drunk rednecks..err Appalachian Americans. That said, walking into a theater to catch a great band and walking into the pits of a dirt track can seem so radically different, but there’s more to it than meets the eye.
For starters there’s the travel. Whether you’re rocking or rolling, there’s always a long drive in an oversize vehicle and a bunch of expensive stuff to unload when you get there. Then there’s the noise. Bone rattling noise. Whether it’s a bass guitar or a V8, bring your earplugs. I’ll likely be deaf by 40. Then there’s the biggest similarity of them all: the commitment. It takes a lot of resolve to head out on the road, leave your family for long periods of time, live on Taco Bell and McDonald’s, and follow your dreams. The struggle is the only constant. Every day is different, yet somehow the same. Whether you’re in California or Louisiana, Ohio or Florida, it’s truly an adventure. Usually you’re broke, hoping that the instruments that need repair or the tie rods that need replaced can just last one more night. You are always thankful for that night, and hopeful that the next one is better.
This is what makes it so rewarding. There is nothing like playing a great show to a full, responsive crowd. There is nothing like out running someone who has better equipment than you do. It’s the glory of it. The adrenaline rush. It’s a drug you can’t get over any counter, a drug I don’t want to shake. Musicians and racers do the same thing every night. They put themselves out there, for everyone else to judge. When you succeed everyone sees it, and when you fail everyone sees it.
What I love most about both paths is the journey. The unknown. That’s what makes it so sweet. No matter how driven you are to succeed, the path is fragile. I cherish every moment that I get to do what I do. Whether you’re a racer or a musician, you’re pushing the limits. Musicians explore the boundaries of art, melody, and the human soul. Racers push the limits of the human body, science, and bravery. All of these things are as noble as any cause since the beginning of humankind. Hopefully both will evolve with the times, but never lose the purity that makes them so enjoyable, and so important.