Everyone has them; they could be superstar athletes or everyday people. I have been privileged enough to meet three of my idols over the past month. With every encounter, I was star struck. Talking to someone that you admire, care for and respect, creates an incredible feeling inside of you. I have felt that feeling inside of me three times in the past month. “Incredible”. That’s how I describe every meeting.
One year ago, I was no where, I am today. I wasn’t a NASCAR writer, I wasn’t that big on twitter, I hadn’t formed any connections over social media yet and I wasn’t sure what I wanted out of life or the future. A year later, I have accomplished way more things than I ever have and I believe I’m on a path to success. A year ago, I didn’t have a lot of idols. I had Kyle and Samantha Busch as idols but the reasons they were my idols then, aren’t the same as why their my idols today. In the past year, I’ve learned so much, I have grown and I have found inspiration to follow in my life dreams.
My first idol run in was in Charlotte, North Carolina at the No.5 and No.24 Hendrick Motorsports shop. As I was finishing my visit at the shop, I turned around and saw Marty Smith. Smith is a famed NASCAR reporter for ESPN and I have idolized him for a long time. The way Smith grew in the NASCAR Media world is astonishing. He went from writing for a small newspaper, to being recognized by bigger NASCAR sites and he has made a career out of it – much like I want to do. Marty is my favorite NASCAR journalist and I have admired him for a long time. Saying a simple “hello” to one of my idols was an amazing experience. Marty and I chatted for awhile and I left the room with a huge smile. A random run-in left me with the experience of meeting one of my idols. That started a chain reaction of run-ins with my idols.
I didn’t expect much of my next run-in but I left feeling overjoyed. Kyle Busch was coming to my hometown as a guest and I was awed just thinking of Busch in my hometown. Kyle Busch started racing full-time in the Sprint Cup Series, the same year I became a fan of NASCAR. Three years later, a coincidence left me with Busch as my favorite driver. I had previously met Busch and his lovely wife Samantha at Watkins Glen in 2011 but that experience does not match up to this one.
Kyle started speaking on the stage to my fellow race fans and I quickly spotted his wife Samantha in the corner of the room. Ever since I began using social media, especially twitter, I got to know Samantha and she quickly became one of my idols. After Kyle finished speaking, I made a quick move over to Samantha and the most amazing conversation of my life began. The first thing that awed me was when Samantha recognized me. She greeted me by saying “Are you Jason,” and I quickly responded yes! The conversation with Samantha I thought would be brief, but I was wrong. Samantha chatted with my friend and me for at least 20 minutes. We shared stories and laughed and I got to know Samantha a whole lot more. Her personality was great and she is the nicest person I have ever met. My friend and I were talking to Samantha like she was a friend – and I felt she was. Every conversation has to end, even the most amazing ones, and this one ended with a hug.
The next one of my idols I had to meet was Kyle himself. I chatted with Kyle’s other half but now it was time to talk to the race car driver himself. In every autograph session, the chat was brief but it will never be forgotten. As Kyle signed my die-cast car, I talked with him quickly and moved on. Then it hit me. I had just met two of my idols and two people I hope to be like someday.
In the past month, I have met three of my idols. That is something very few people can say and I’m proud to say it. One thing Marty, Samantha and Kyle have in common is that they all have incredible lives and having a great life – like they do – is one thing I plan to strive for. One thing no one can ever take away from me, is that I met three of my idols and that is something I’ll remember my whole life.
My journey into the NASCAR world is just beginning and I plan on expanding my journey throughout my whole life. Meeting three of my idols is just the start into what I hope to be a long, successful career.