After the incident with Kurt Busch in Phoenix I had every intention of writing a comprehensive look at the real story behind his arrest. I used a couple of sources within the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office and actually received information that would have been a great column.
I sent the column out on Thursday, but as they say, things happen for a reason. I had to attend the Parts Peddler trade show in Syracuse from Friday until Sunday. For some reason, the e-mail failed to go out. Upon my return I found an essay that had been written on my fax machine.
After reading the essay a young man had written for his class at school I started thinking about all the negative things that have been printed this season. Yours truly included, I felt a sense of shame and guilt that there are probably thousands of students like this young man that just want to race.
Nelson McMickle is 15-years-old that attends high school in Missouri. He sounds like one of the kids that have hopes and aspirations of going into racing any way he can. His desire has probably surpassed his talent at the moment, but he is getting the opportunity in a division that is affordable to his family.
During the essay Nelson explains his feelings during his first race day at a local track. He waited three seasons to race with the man that was dating his mother. His expectations were high, but he never gave up hope that someday he would be called upon to drive.
“The season was about four weeks in. I didn’t think that I was going to get to race this year either,” said Nelson in the essay. “One day Greg called me into his office. He had me look at this car and tell him what I thought about it. I told him it was really nice. He said I’m glad you said that, because it will be here in a few hours.”
Nelson finally made the step he was looking for. He goes on to explain how exciting it was during his first weekend at the local track, how he felt in the car, and even though he didn’t pass many cars, he was proud of himself, as were his mother and Greg Hall.
The desires of thousands of young, and old, race fans are reflected in that essay. Young boys and girls throughout our country have the ache inside to get into a racecar and have fun with it. That desire keeps those youngsters on a focused path to success. Some fail, but the focus they have learned teaches them some very important lessons in life.
These kids can be found at the tracks on Friday and Saturday nights throughout the country. They work on the cars during the school week, their parents and guardians know where they are, and you can rest assured the majority of these young drivers are not out doing drugs and positioning themselves in harms way.
Racing is a dangerous sport, but the positive enthusiasm for life that it brings to all that participate far outweighs the danger.
The incident with Kurt Busch was an isolated incident that happens so rarely in our sport that it makes the news. His outburst with the officers was an unfortunate display of someone that is an intense competitor that lost his head for a few minutes. The officer was trying to do his job, and Busch was wrong for getting that mixed up with anything else.
The incident was a minor infraction compared to some we’ve heard about in the NFL and NBA. NASCAR racing can and does send a message of hope that someday the young drivers throughout the country have a chance to elevate to the “big time”, but until that happens, the local tracks can handle them just fine. It’s our jobs to encourage these kids to look a few steps ahead of the game, establish a goal and go after it. If you don’t believe, you will never conquer. That’s fact, and if you still have doubts, ask Carl Edwards.
Till next time, keep turning left.