The said it wouldn’t be easy

I can’t tell you how long I been telling the same old story, “Oh yeah I am getting on the drag bike real soon we will start testing then get ready for the NHRA license, yup real soon.” I told that story to so many people and repeated it so many times that I didn’t blink or even care if it was true because honestly I wasn’t ready and it was the story a lot of people wanted to hear. While I was creating that dream writing career I became overwhelming with other people wanting me to race that I developed a huge of fear of failure. I mean lets be honest when you are talking to some of your heros about making the leap to racing a drag bike they become invested and you don’t want to let them down.

Slightly off the radar I been doing things in my own time and with the last two months of shadowing my dad at the track, I can finally say there is no better time than now to start sneaking in some random nights at Atco to begin testing. Shadowing my dad was the best thing I could have done because he is learning all over again as well with a new drag bike thanks to the RPM Shop. Together we are able to discuss all the runs which certainly gave me peace of mind.

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Rolling my dad through the water box, to the burnout, and lastly to that final yellow ember before he launches I began running through every step in my head almost as I was on the the bike with him. I knew he was about to bring the clutch in or by a simple move in the seat where his head was. I knew the driver and I knew the bike. I wasn’t busy sitting on the starting line ready to pump out another article thinking about my notes or who I have to go speak to now it was all about that run my dad was making down the track.

For someone with my crazy brain peace of mind is everything. That sigh of relief that I am finally ready to race and for once I am not secretly panicking about everything and anything. It was interesting Angelle Sampey posted a rather neat video on youtube where she walked fans through an entire run, a run I can picture through listening and steps I knew. It can seem scary if there are parts of the run that you look at and go I have no idea what I am doing! With only a little motorcycle experience in the seat as I have it can seem rather daunting.

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My plan of action? Fire up the bike and lets drop that clutch because like I said there is no time like right now. I have waited years to be a drag racer, to be on both sides of the fence as writer and racer and without a single lie within the next few weeks I will be heading to Atco Raceway and facing that quarter mile.

Its Gatornationals time, lets see some Pro Stock Motorcycle!

To me, there is nothing more daunting then having to sit down and write my first post in over a year much less having to tell you everything you need to know heading into the NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle season opener. Hard to believe that time has come for the 46th annual Amalie Motor Oil Gatornationals at Auto Plus Raceway in Gainesville Florida. The news coming out the the PSM class is overwhelming if you follow the riders on social media sites, as they all have been working hard. So here is it a quick run done on what you are going to see this weekend.

Victory Factory Racing has teamed up with two time champion Matt Smith and his wife Angie this season. The bikes will continue to be powered by the S&S V-Twin but will sport a rather different body designed by Victory. Similar to the Harley Davidson style these news bikes are bound to turn heads. The Smith’s have been at it all winter since the deal was signed back in December. Pictures and statuses of how the team was doing was enough to get anyone anxious to see the bikes flying down the strip in Gainesville.

Chaz Kennedy leaving Star Racing was another huge headline and shocker as he took on a more privateer effort running a rather fiery looking Buell with the help of sponsors like Rush Racing. Chaz has certainly learned a lot over the years a with George Bryce and even his past years as an AHDRA champion. No stranger to racing, but it will be interesting to see him not flying the Star Racing logo and running his own bike. Could he finally get in the winners circle this year?

Speaking of Star Racing  Angelle Sampey is running the full season back with the man she won her three championships with, George Bryce. Angelle raced a few events at the end of last season to get back in the swing of things so to speak after being away for so long and proved she still has it. According to social media she did well in testing just over the last few days. I think we can expect to see her back in the winners circle sometime soon. As for who her teammate will be since the departure of Chaz, I guess that depends on who wins the rider challenge George has thrown down. 30 riders all competing to run in the NHRA for Star Racing, now that is one heck of a way to earn your spot on the team.

Vance & Hines seems to be back on top and hungry for more after Andrew Hines won his forth championship last year and his teammate, a past champion himself Eddie Krawiec, finished second behind him in points. The pair had there struggles when the NHRA made a few rule changes to their motorcycles. They “found what they needed” and went back to their winning ways. I know as a fan I am looking for a 6.70ET run at the Gatornationals and I certainly do not count out those two to make it happen.

Changes in the Lucas Oil Team with Adam Arana leaving to be in the coast guard. Obviously congratulations to him and wish him all the best. His family on the other hand made a number of changes in the off season to their Buells as they not only wish to be back in the winners circle, but back to being champions. Hector and his son Hector Jr. have had their up’s and downs last year so eager to see what both riders can do this weekend.

Lastly Karen Stoffer is back! Yes it will be a treat to have Karen and Angelle running again. Karen who has been out for the last season will be running her own team this year with husband Gary at her side. It will be unusual to see her not sporting the Geico colors as we are so familiar with, but anytime we can get someone like Karen back in the sport is a good day. Anyone else want a Karen vs Angelle match up?

I am sure plenty of information has been left out with all the other teams, but how long winded can one get I was not kidding when I said the Pro Stock Motorcycle class was hard at work this off season. Be ready to see it all come to a head Friday for the first qualifying session of the year. Either follow on social media or even ESPN 3 will have you hooked up with the qualifying sessions. Bring on the racing, pro stock motorcycle has begun folks!

Staying Connected

I do not think I need to explain to anyone this day in age of the power of social media. What it has done for my career over the years has been truly wonderful, I honestly owe a lot of my opportunities and my connections due to social media. A game changer for anyone who owns or is a business. This platform has allowed me to connect with people all over the world and provide coverage like never before. To this day it make me laugh to be sending comments back and forth on Facebook with a racer who might literally be just a few hundred feet away in his trailer.  

When I decided to embark on this writing career in motorsports I vowed to make sure to respond and stay connected. Nobody has to read my articles, nobody has to comment on my Facebook, nobody has to send me wonderful emails thanking me for the brief mention in my last story. It is not just good business, but I see it as being a good person and being proactive in this industry. With all that said I had a “fan girl” moment when Adam Braun, creator of Pencils of Promise and author of the book “The Promise of a Pencil,” took the time to leave a comment on my instagram after I raved about how inspiring the book had been. I wish I was kidding when I say I told everyone who would listen! I’m sure when I responded to his message I had a case of word vomit, not sure I made sense I was blown away he commented. 

For many reasons Adam Braun had inspired me on my own business as a journalist/PR girl and most importantly as a person. Quick background, Adam like I mentioned CEO and Founder of the foundation Pencils of Promise has built over 200 schools in underdeveloped countries. He is a triple major out of Brown University, so when he gave business tips or created the wonderful mantra’s in the book, I listened. For instance one mantra that has stuck with me, “speak the language of the person you want to become,” or even “never take no from someone who cant say yes.”

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All in all, I think it is important to stay connected with the people who support you no matter how popular you might get. I am always so grateful for the wonderful people who keep in touch and support all my work. I may not be building schools in underdeveloped countries, but I think to think I am helping. I said it before and I will say it again, when a sportsman racer genuinely thanks you for the mention in your post race coverage it means the world to me. You guys are a huge part of the reason I do what I do.

Now excuse me while I continue to read Adam’s inspiring book, again ; )  

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Speak the language of the person you want to become.

To say I am obsessed with the book “The Promise of a Pencil” By Adam Braun is an understatement. A wonderful and inspiring read on how Adam created the foundation Pencil of Promise. The above quote is one of his amazing mantra’s and one that certainly speaks to me. Throughout my seven years of muddling through the world of journalism and PR I always managed to hold my own by sounding confident. Just because I have yet to earn my degree does not mean I dont know a bit about this field. I always spoke to people about the greatest I want to accomplish. I am a writer, I am going to do x,y,z…….. So to speak. 

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“What do you love about writing?”

Roughly a month ago I had an interview with the local grocery store because I am looking for part time work. As the man and I are briefly chatting he turns to look at me and says, “what do you love about writing? I see you are a writer you have been for quite some time and that is what you are in school for to get a communications degree.”  I was taken back. What do I say. I have been asked this question a thousand times and every time I have given some generic answer and brushed it off.

I gave a simply answer, “I love everything about it.” continued to ramble and finished the interview. That question though stuck with me as I left and continued to rattle in my brain. So here is it the true answer to why I do what I do.(As best as my brain would allow me to attempt to put into words) Why a job I happened to walk into because I thought it looked fun, ended up turning into a passion.

Just like any kid I had big dreams. I think yearly I wanted to be something completely different. One year a veterinarian, the other a nurse, mechanic, among a million other wonderful idea’s. I guess there are similarities, I love to help people. I can never truly describe what it is like to get an email or a phone call from a racer genuinely thanking you for the kind words in your latest story. I believe words do make a difference.

Now I kind of just walked into this crazy career of motorcycle drag racing journalism/PR one day. No real direction, the idea of being a writer in the sport I love hit me hard. Every little alarm in my head went off and I could almost hear angels sing. I knew this was it.

At the time of the interview though I was unsure about my future. The love of writing just wasn’t there and I wasn’t sure I wanted to continue to work so hard for what often felt like little return. I forgot why I fell in love with writing in the first place.  I forgot why the hard work was absolutely worth it. A quote is what sparked a few idea’s and the ability to finish this blog.

“It’s not easy to be driven by passion, it’s exhausting and at times feels hopeless. There are days I wonder why I didn’t take the easy road, why I’m fighting so hard to make a difference in the world while others just get to clock in and collect a paycheck.” -Alexis Jones

So with that said, I believe the first reason I had when I become a writer was I love telling a story. The articles and features I complain about are the ones I am always most proud of. What I mean about complain is I am often found slamming my head against the wall wondering how the heck am I going to write this. In racing, there is a story. A story of a weekend at the race track, or ones journey to winning a championship. Whether you are a sportsman racer or a professional there is an interesting story about you and your racing and I very much enjoy telling it.

The more I got into racing the more I realized how important media was.  For the sport to grow media is a must. I wanted to shine a light on the sport I loved, let them see what I see. To this day I am in awe every time I am at the drag strip. Watching motorcycles fly down the quarter mile putting up some incredible numbers. The wonderful and well down right interesting people who race and the lovely fans. The smell of burning rubber and gasoline. There is nothing like it. That is were I believed it turned into a passion. Not only because like I stated previously I wanted to share the sport I loved, but because I disagreed with so many writers or the way media was handled. I have so much faith in the organizations I go to and could never understand how writers could talk about the most ridiculous things, what are we TMZ? To each their own I guess, all I know is I love how powerful good media can be.

I think words change the world. Even in our small little sport words can make a difference. To tell the story of the weekend to help encourage people to come out to a race or even race in our organization the next time.  To help a racer get his name out or support his sponsors. Its endless to what words can do.  I might have big dreams, and big ideas, but I believe in what media can do and I never plan on stopping supporting the sport I love.

I see a vision in my head of what it is I have to offer our sport. Of the direction we should take as a whole because we all want racing to expand further and further. Media isnt everything, but it sure as heck makes a much larger impression than people think, even more so than I realized till most of my college courses.  I have the platform to make it happen, so why not live by my passion in all those stressful hours for an outcome I think will benefit many.

February isnt for Valentine’s Day, it is for racing!

February, that month you cannot step inside a store without seeing enough Valentine’s Day stuff to make you feel a little nauseous. For me, February means it is the return of racing! As a self proclaimed race addict the season starts with sitting on the couch watching things like Supercross, Rolex 24, Daytona 500, and my favorite one of them all the NHRA Winter Nationals. As I sit here writing out this first blog of the season eliminations are underway in Pomona CA.  (more on that later this week)

It has been so easy to get caught up in the off-season spending the holidays with friends and family, school, and just taking a little break from the craziness of the race season. I most definitely had my “oh my god is this happening” moment when I saw the first NHRA qualifying tweet on Friday. Which sent me in a mad rush to finish all my 2014 season prep. Time away certainly has sparked my love of writing I must admit and allowed me to spend time thinking about what I truly want to do this season.

First is this blog, I have a million idea’s written out with some interesting stuff all season long. Second is my focus on organizations such as MIRock, putting a solid effort to not only attend select events, but to have a better relationship with the racers. I love being a journalist, but I really love the public relations field a bit more and hope to have a chance to work with some of the great teams and riders.

I am writing a PR proposal to not only let people know I am available to do PR, but to make them aware of what PR is and how it benefits them. Talk about being a hypocrite as I am one lousy blogger and social media updater for my own self!  All to change I can guarantee that.

After last season when I missed a lot of races and did not do much writing in general reminded me of how hard I want to work this season. 2014 should be a great season with plenty to talk about!

Along with consistent blog updates you can follow me on Facebook and Twitter all season long.

That time of the year to head to E-town for the NHRA Summer Nationals!!!

There is one race every season I look forward to the most, the NHRA Summer Nationals at Raceway Park in Englishtown NJ. This race has given me opportunities and memories I will never forget. It feels like yesterday I was standing by the bleachers waiting for first round of Pro Stock Motorcycle, freaking out, because I could not believe I was finally seeing  some of my hero’s race in person for the first time. 

I had done some of my first sit down interviews, popular stories, and great intern moments all at this track. Last season I was fortunate enough to be allowed to intern with the NHRA. Truly an amazing learning experience as I shadowed Alex Baca and learned the in’s and out’s of the media room. Then there is Kevin McKenna constantly making sure I do my best work and making sure I am not being to shy. Got to be out there talking to everyone!

For the few races I plan on attending this season I hope to make the most of them and I couldn’t think of a better event to start off my season then E-town. I am a girl with BIG NHRA dreams, so anytime I get to work one of these events I am like a kid in a candy store. Blown away every time that people have welcomed me like they have and help me make my dreams come true. 

With big dreams, come big goals. Time to put all that new PR knowledge from last semester to use over the weekend with plenty of updates on my social media accounts! Stay tuned cause I promise I will deliver some great updates! 

Add me on facebook https://www.facebook.com/connieegan315?ref=tn_tnmn

Follow me on twitter https://twitter.com/ConnieEgan315

 

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My crazy fast life as a journalist and drag racer