Through the eyes of a racer

Tanazia Deloney, reporter

The engines roar as they get ready to start. The spectators are full of anxious energy. As the starter brings up the flag, the crowd falls silent. When the flag drops, the cars take off and the crowd begins to cheer.

Sophomore Logan Kirkman is in the middle of the pack, weaving between cars until he takes the lead.

“It’s always a toss up,” Kirkman said. “Sometimes I finish first, sometimes I finish middle.”

Junior Charley Catt makes her way into the middle of the pack, with junior Joshlyn Sandlin right behind her.

As the racers make their final lap, with Catt in the lead and Sandlin somewhere behind.

For Catt, the struggle to move up is harder as she moves up to the higher class.

“When I raced the first division class, I seemed to always place in the middle of the pack which was usually 12 out of 25 cars,” Catt said.  “I didn’t have the fastest car, but I was consistent. This year, I moved up a class and I have placed usually 8 out of about 12 cars.”

These students aren’t strangers to the fast life.

“My dad raced for many years before I started,” Kirkman said. “My dad bought me my first race car when I was 9-years-old. I have competed in over 150 races.”

Racing has been passed from generation to generation.

“I became interested in racing and it has been passed through generations of my family,” Catt said. “When I was younger, I would get overwhelmingly excited being at the race track. It’s always been a second nature to me. I started racing when I was 13 years old,  but I wanted to do it way before then. I remember being 8-9 years old begging my dad to buy me a race car. I’ve been racing for 3 years and every year there is probably around 3 races every month and we race the months of May through October. So probably 55 give or take. ”

Either they have grown up on or around the track or it’s something they picked up from a family member.

“My dad races cars,” Sandlin said. “I grew up in the the garage at the track with him, but I started racing when I was 13. I have been in about 15 races.”

This isn’t a cheap sport, Kirkman also builds cars for himself and sometimes for other racers.

“For car parts, it depends and can range from $50-$1,000,” Kirkman said. “For a finished car it can range from between $25-$60,00,” Kirkman said. “It depends on how far you travel, and if you have to buy anything at the race track. Pit passes are usually $30, tires are $135 if you have to buy a new tire.”

Racing doesn’t stay in one place, racers have travelled a variety of places in order to get on the track.

“I race all over the place,” Kirkman said. “I have raced in Tennessee, Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky.”

Though there is a variety of tracks, some racers have a simple schedule.

“The track that I raced at every week on Friday nights [is where I hear about the next race],” Sandlin said. “A good family friend promotes the track.”

With racing you have to dedicate all that you have in order to stay on top of your game.

“As a child, every Friday night I would go to watch my dad and his local friends race,” Catt said. “As I got older, I found friends interested in racing and of course I always heard about big events through them, When you have a passion for racing, your weekends are dedicated for the nights at the track.”

This is a sport that may just start out as a hobby or even a sport passed through generations, but then people may become attached to it and it could become a second nature.

“I race because that’s been my dream since I was little,” Kirkman said “I personally race because I’ve been around it my whole life and I was a natural at driving a race car.”

Racing could start from a variety of things such as a passion, a natural talent or even come from the adrenalin people feel from the excitement of what is coming next.

“I personally race because I love not knowing what’s next,” Sandlin said. “Every time you go out on the track it’s something different.”

People race for many reasons whether it be the love they have for the sport or even the deeper meanings behind their careers.

“I race for the adrenaline,” Catt said. “It allows me to relieve my stress, and I guess give me time to separate my problems from the world. My main reason as to why I race is simple; my mom. My mom passed away from breast cancer when I was 12, and she always told me I could do whatever I set my mind to. I wanted to spread her story and the awareness for breast cancer but also to break down the stereotype in a male dominant sport. So I did what my mom wanted told me, set my mind to do what I wanted to do, and made a difference, and I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon.”