What I learned this weekend as I got back to my roots

This weekend was the first race for the NASCAR Pinty’s Series here in Canada. We kicked off the season at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, which happens to be our home track, and interestingly, where I grew up and learned to walk. My fiancé, Adam, and I both spent numerous weekends as kids at this track, while our fathers raced and crewed on the weekends. Our paths never crossed until 20 years laters, at the very same track.

You could say that motor racing is in our blood. We don’t know much else when it comes to sport, technology or competition. And we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Adam grew up working on and building his dad’s stock cars.

I grew up kart racing, and learning the mechanics on a much smaller scale.

We are both still involved in racing in some form or another, because it’s something we both love. Adam and his dad work weekends to get the NASCAR ready, even when he’s exhausted from his 9-5 job as a mechanic. I’m the crew chief on their team, as a way to alleviate some of the organizational burden from them during the race weekend.

Up until last year, Adam and I were karting as well. In his usual selfless manner, he’d prep my kart and take me racing on the weekends. It was our time together – our little way to spend time together toward a common goal.

I purposely found a way to combine my engineering education and my love of cars in order to craft a career in something I love – motor racing.

I swore when I was in grad school that I’d never sit behind a desk all day.

I swore I’d never be an analyst.

I swore I could never just do CFD (computational fluid dynamics).

Guess what I do now?

CFD, at a desk, all day, every day.

It took this weekend, physically at a race track, in pit lane, around the cars and the tech to realize what I did want to do, all those years ago. That was to be a race engineer, but also an aerodynamicist who would be overseeing / running wind tunnel tests, track tests and working within both mechanical and aerodynamic realms, not just boring CFD….

Now, don’t get me wrong, I see the value of CFD and I believe in it 100%, but boy, this is not where I thought I would be at this point in my career.

I miss the excitement of being in the thick of it. I felt so welcome and part of the team this weekend that I was reminded of my love for this industry in its purest form. Sometimes it’s not all about the technology, and the simulations. Sometimes it’s about the spirit, the competition and the uncertainty of anything being possible when the green flag drops.

The best laid plans don’t always lead where you think they will, whether it’s your career, your life or your hobby.

But there is always another race, a fresh start, a new career, and the excitement of not knowing the outcome when we get the green flag to start again.

One thought on “What I learned this weekend as I got back to my roots

  1. It is so interesting to learn that you have been at the racetrack for your entire life! I didn’t realize that.
    I’m glad that you had an opportunity to reflect and remind yourself of the things you love about motorsports. Never too late to start again. 😉

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