Jimmie Johnson made history on Sunday night at Homestead-Miami Speedway, capturing his sixth NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship in eight seasons.
I’ve learned that the business of motorsports is hard work. While Johnson makes it look easy at times, it takes an incredible amount of effort, resolve and focus to do any job at the highest level of racing.
While I would never compare what I’m trying to do to what the Hendrick Motorsports No. 48 team has accomplished over the past decade, I can tell you that racing is most certainly very difficult to find even the smallest success in.
At 25-years-old, racing is the absolute only thing that I have.
I’ve dedicated my entire life to chasing race cars that go around in circles. Each of you reading this know what I am trying to accomplish in making it as a motorsports journalist — and that this is the most grueling grind I have ever experienced in my life.
I didn’t intend to share this out of vanity but to recognize that whatever success that I have found this year — like Johnson’s 2013 season — came down to the people that have supported and helped me. I’m just a kid from Axis, Ala., (the stereotype that comes to mind when you envision Alabama), who wants something more.
And this year, I’ve started to find it.
In addition to my long-standing jobs at SB Nation and Mobile International Speedway, I earned my coolest title to date in Executive Editor for Popular Speed, a new NASCAR concept website, envisioned by Sprint Cup winning spotter Mike Calinoff.
When he and his metaphorical right arm Amanda Ebersole invited me to spearhead their newest project, it was the biggest honor I have ever received that someone so notable would trust me to be one of the faces of something with such lofty goals.
And because of everyone involved, Popular Speed has grown beyond our biggest expectations, breaking numerous news stories, providing hard hitting analysis and quickly earning a positive reputation (I think and hope) around the NASCAR garage.
Just based on what the site has been able to accomplish in just four brief months, the moon is truly the limit for the next season now that the beta phase of Popular Speed has passed with flying colors.
Through SB Nation, I was also able to cover much of the IZOD IndyCar Series season and the inaugural Southern Super Series Late Model tour this season. I think it must be frustrating to some of my readers and motorsports friends who follow me for just one discipline.
But like I’ve said before, racing is all I have — racing of every kind.
To those who humour me when I go to an IndyCar or short track event, I thank you and hope that I provided something has some degree of appeal.
Many people don’t realize or understand that I’m still in school at the University of South Alabama. I’ve yet to graduate because I spend more time chasing race cars than attending classes. So needless to say, my budget resembles every college student’s ever.
Like many young journalists before and after me, I’ve been known to sleep in haulers, trucks and most recently the homes of my widely expanded motorsports social circle.
So the point of this post is to thank everyone who has been a part of my journey this season.
I really feel like I’m making a lot of progress and I couldn’t do this without each and every one of you who give me a place to stay, a traveling mate, a shoulder to bounce my wackiest ideas off of or to just hang out the coolest diners until 3 a.m.
(I’m looking at you Texas Tavern with Langley, Kim and Andy)
You make this a lot of fun and I hope that 2014 brings more of the same. This is what I live for and may my checkered flag come far down the road. And with that in mind, I have to thank every one who of you who have clicked a story, retweeted, interacted or said hi at a tweet-up.
Thank all of you so much.
We’re just getting started.
Mom, Dad, April, Jeff, Bob, Mike (all three of you), Yvonne, Chris (both of you), Kenn, Andy, Tim, Rick, Cassie, Josh, Jenna, Kelly, Amanda, Aaron, Alanis, Jordan, Brian, Cone (seriously), Virginia, Farrah, Chase, Kane, Brandon, Tony, Allen, John, Shaun, Christley, Cunningham, Sara, Jessica, Adam, Unique, Rick, Stix, Langley, Kevin, Jerry, Dontae, Dustin, Aunt Cynthia, Uncle Terry, Matt, Dave and everyone… the list is far too long.
I can be hard to deal with because I almost have this dogged tunnel vision approach to my career and you have worked with me accordingly. Ya’ll rock.