You surely don't have to race your car to be a "legit" car guy or gal, but I can't imagine anything more fun than being on track pushing the throttle to the mat. Because I'm "slightly" competitive, racing exercises my competitive spirit and provides the pure thrill of pushing the limits of acceleration, braking, and cornering.
By no means am I a professional race car driver, but I live for the moment when I'm strapped in and my heart is pumping. It doesn't matter if it's the straight-line stuff or road-course racing. Drag races might last only a few seconds, but it's what happens in those few seconds that evokes the emotional charge. During a race, I'm taken somewhere mentally that's so challenging, so intense, that in that simple spot of time, nothing else matters.
Drag racing is also instant. In a matter of seconds, your race will end with a blast of adrenaline, or a huge let down—either way, you feel challenged and alive. Even the best drag racers lose more than they win, and personally, I've found ice cream works well to suppress the disappointment of losing. You never see anyone pissed off eating ice cream. Try it—it works.
Equally important are the friendships I've created. I savor the social aspect of racing. It's wonderful to share your hobby with friends and family, creating memories will last a lifetime. Thanks to racing, I have many friends all over this country and in Canada and Norway—heck, I even met my wife at a dragstrip.
I'm sure many of you have similar stories about friendships you've made. In some cases I only see these people a few times a year, but we catch up, go out to dinner, and that's all part of the experience. It's no different for those who open-track or road race competitively.
Whether it's an event I'm covering, or one I'm participating in, I love being involved in the Mustang community. Mustang and other fast Ford owners have the greatest stories, and that makes my job easy. Enthusiasts are passionate and often very opinionated, and learning about you and your hot rods provides the compelling content to fill the pages of MM&FF, musclemustangfastfords.com, and our other social media outlets, like FB, Twitter, and Instagram.
In the grand scheme of life, I'm a lucky dude. I was a gearhead long before becoming a "magazine guy," and having this job allows me to combine my hobby with a rewarding career. I'm not sure why I have such a passion, but it's treated me well and brought me close to amazing people.
I have faint memories of hearing the rumble of a V-8 and watching cars drive by our home in Brooklyn, New York, and there are neat photos of me playing with cars as a child. When I was 7, my parents moved to New Jersey, smack in between Englishtown Raceway Park and the now-defunct East Windsor Speedway, a popular dirt oval. One Sunday when I was an early teen, my dad made a right out of the house and we went to watch drag racing—I was mesmerized. From that moment, I wanted to go down that track so badly. I often joke that if he had made a left, I would have been a circle track racer.
Today it's so easy to participate and make friends. We use social media to connect electronically, then solidify those relationships at a track or show. It's pretty cool when enthusiasts plan events on the Interweb and then participate in cruises, car shows, and race events. Just like our cars, the hobby and the ways we interact continue to evolve, and that's just fine with me. EJS