At a very young age, possibly even before I was even born I was a race fan. Mom and Dad used to take me out to the track to support Toby Tilley, who my uncle turned wrenches for. Up until middle school or so every week we'd be sitting in section 21 at the Stadium, rain or shine. I even made my dad drive me around the track to prove they canceled the race if it was raining. I was a racing connoisseur for a very long time, until 2012 when I finally became involved in the sport I had loved so much.
I had always wanted to be a race car driver, but once I became of age that I realized that wouldn't be financially possible for a long time I figured the next best thing would be turning wrenches for someone. I began helping Michael Tilley at the Stadium in 2012 and quickly learned that race cars were a pain in the ass, but the feeling of success you get when winning is like no other. I was promoted to spotter in 2013 and spotted for his father Todd at Caraway, and also Michael at the Stadium. We had an up and down year in 2013 but these guys were like family, so of course, I stuck around. We ended up winning four races in 2014 with the help of Gale Force. Once you get the taste of finally winning it's like an addiction that can never be cured, I was hooked.
While learning the ropes of spotting and teaching myself the lingo, do's and don'ts, I was also trying to teach myself to take pictures of these said race cars. My dad bought a camera for me when I turned sixteen, it wasn't anything flashy but it got the job done for a very long time. I began taking pictures and trying to spot each weekend at the Stadium and was fairly successful at both if I may say so. I don't really know which was harder, the camera or the headset. Nonetheless, I learned both and frankly, I am still a student of the game today. But, for some reason, I quickly became popular among the pit area for my pictures, I had no idea why at the time but I did and it felt good. I had always wanted to be known around the pit area for something, I didn't care what.
Year in and year out I grew much closer to most of these guys and gals in the pit area and realized how down to earth most of them were. I'm telling you all of this because these guys at every track are hometown heroes to fans, their family, everyone, really. It doesn't matter if you race a Late Model Stock or a U-Car, there is someone somewhere that cheers for you. I quickly realized how much these guys appreciated the product that I put out to them, that being my pictures. I had no idea what I was doing, and to be honest, I still don't. All I know is the smile on some of these drivers, crew members and family members faces from the result of the pictures I take is a very rewarding feeling and I can't quite describe the feeling it gives me. I had finally had a purpose, something I had searched so long for.
I've been around racing, I've been involved in racing, I've skinned enough knuckles working on race cars to know what these guys go through every single week to get to the track. And the absolute very least I could do is supply these crews and families with the photos and media coverage that they deserve. I'm not the best and I probably will never be the best but for people to continue to support me every single year that I have been doing this since 2013. And not only support me but look forward to what I am doing, and what I plan on doing is unbelievably humbling.
If I can make a guy feel like a superstar by capturing a moment at the track that tells a thousand words or write a small article covering who he is and how he got here then my mission is by far accomplished. Most of the drivers and crews in the pit area truly are like a family to me and I hope I can always be around to supply the things that they need. One day when I finally hang the headset and camera up, I hope that someone with the same mentality comes along to keep this sport alive and give it the coverage it needs. It isn't easy some days. There are many days where I truly don't feel like being at the track, but I get out of bed and do it for these guys because it means that much to them and their respected teams.
So to answer my question of why do I do what I do? To simply put it, I do it for you guys. Everyone that supports me, has given me a chance or taken a chance on me. I thank you all a hundred times over and I will hopefully see you around whatever track it may be that I go to each week.