When I’m not behind the wheel of my GT4 McLaren racing for
Andretti Autosport, you will probably find me at a dirt track running my own
sprint cars. For the past couple years, I’ve been used to racing every weekend
from March until October, so this has been a very odd year so far – historic
times and very unfortunate for so many people. There isn’t anything I can say
that hasn’t already been said before, I am just praying that all of this ends soon,
and we are able to get back to normal as soon as possible… whatever that new
normal looks like.  

I have been in North Carolina with my mom and sister
(Amelia) quarantining since coming home early from St. Petersburg in mid-March.
We have made the most of our time, I have been putting Amelia to work helping
me clean out our shop/storage unit! I’m very proud of how it looks at the
moment. You see, cleaning it out was something I promised Dad I would do, so I
am glad to have it completed and promise kept. I think he’d mostly be pretty
pleased with how it turned out – although I also think I should maybe mop the
floors just one more time, just to be safe. 

We are also lucky enough to have a small gym at the house,
so I have been working to stay in shape and be ready for whenever the season
starts back up!  

Racing (like every other profession) is full of ups and
downs, but there are a couple stories that, to me, really stand out:  

I started racing late in life by most modern-day standards,
I was 17, about 18, to be exact and Dad had bought a go-kart for himself. He
was out running one time and I went to watch; I went to help him lift it on the
stand and it was a sealed fate from there. Pretty soon he wasn’t getting to
drive his own kart and he was my full-time mechanic! He used to joke with me,
“I bought a go-kart to come off the road – now I’m on the road more than ever
and not making any money!” I enjoyed driving the kart, but I wasn’t totally
hooked. There was a race and we were like “well, let’s try it!” Dad had me
start last and by Turn 3 I had already elbowed my way past a couple guys and
spun someone. I felt so bad. Dad was always a really clean racer and I thought
he would have scolded me for turning someone, on the first lap nonetheless! I
pulled in and was greeted with the biggest smile, “That’s how you do it,” he
said, “if they are going slow get them out of the way!” I was hooked, I dropped
everything else and started racing. From that moment forward my life was never
the same. 

With that being a high, a low has to be Millstream in 2016.
Now that I look back on it, I laugh, but at the time it was NOT funny! It was a
Sunday night race and it paid pretty good, so we decided to go. Schaeffer Oil
was the sponsor and we put a brand-new body on the car, and it looked beautiful.
We were all excited to get to a new place. We unloaded, won the heat and
started on the pole for the feature. We were pretty tight and fell back to third
early. As it slicked off, we started to close back in, and we snagged second with
10 laps to go and were catching the leader. The cushion was packed against the
wall and it was pretty thin, I went just a bit too hard and hit the wall. If I
would have lifted and settled the car back down, I wouldn’t have caused any
damage and ended up second. Instead, I didn’t lift. I tried to drive down off
the wall to preserve what little hope I had to win that night. That only made
it worse (way worse) and I flipped end-over-end, tearing up our brand-new body
and destroying Dad’s new decal wrap! The car came in on the hook and was beat
up pretty bad. “You have to lift when you hit the fence!!!!” Dad yelled at me.
It was embarrassing and I went from possible hero to true zero in about 30
feet. To add insult to injury, we had a 4-hour drive home. We got back to the
shop and we were all so wound up we stripped the car and I took it to the
chassis shop at about 5 a.m. Luckily for me, Longs Donuts was open so I got a
stack of donuts along with some milk and waited in the parking lot of DRC
Chassis on Gasoline Alley. Unfortunately, as tired as I was Gasoline Alley was
a bit of a scary place, I had to stay alert and awake until the sun came up!
They fixed the chassis and we won the track championship at Lawrenceburg the
next weekend. But from that point forward…I lifted when I hit the fence!