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How Did You Get Into Racing?

Illustration for article titled How Did You Get Into Racing?
Photo: Brian Lawdermilk (Getty)

Watching motorsport is one of those hobbies that usually comes with a story. For most people, racing isn’t as ingrained in family or local culture as something like, say, football. Many people end up seeking out racing all on their own. And I want to know how you got into it.

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During the US Grand Prix weekend, we here at Jalopnik hosted our annual reader meet-up, the first of which I’ve ever attended. While I have to thank everyone who came out simply for coming out, I also want to thank plenty of y’all for sharing your racing stories with me! It was absolutely fascinating.

I met people last weekend who didn’t really get into racing until they watched Drive to Survive on Netflix. There were others who had watched NASCAR for decades but only recently realized Formula One could be interesting because the internet finally convinced them. Some people just straight-up loved cars and only came around to racing as a natural byproduct of loving fast stuff.

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For my own part, I grew up in rural Michigan, where my whole family was involved in the automotive industry. Watching NASCAR was a thing we all did on Sundays—until Dale Earnhardt died, which happened to take place during my younger brother’s birthday party. My family maintained a casual interest, but we stopped watching racing religiously. It wasn’t until Rush came out that I remembered how fucking cool the whole motorsport thing is.

At that time, I thought it was just going to be a passing phase (hah!), the kind where going to one race would get it all out of my system. My mom bought me tickets for the US GP in 2014, and instead of walking out of the weekend having scratched my motorsport itch, I walked out planning an epic European motorsport adventure. Five years on, and here I am: motorsport is my job, motorsport introduced me to all of my very best friends, and motorsport is the reason I met and married my husband.

I don’t think we ever really talk about our own origin stories enough. How did you get into racing?

Weekends at Jalopnik. Managing editor at A Girl's Guide to Cars. Lead IndyCar writer and assistant editor at Frontstretch. Novelist. Motorsport fanatic.

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DISCUSSION

superfastmatt
Matt Brown

I was a casual fan until I saw my University’s Formula SAE car and thought it was amazing that I could help engineer, build, and drive an open wheel race car as part of my schooling. It didn’t cost me anything, except all my free time and a mediocre GPA. But it was a lot of fun, a lot of knowledge gained, and the reason I got my first engineering job at a NASCAR team.