shelbycobra: (Not a racing dude)
Shelby Manning ([personal profile] shelbycobra) wrote in [community profile] muserevival2017-03-10 01:20 am

142.2.2 - quote

"People are just as happy as they make up their minds to be."

It's finally here: the start of another Verizon IndyCar Series season. Friday is the first day of on-track activities and Sunday will be the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. I'm ready to go back to work, even as I feel it in my bones that this season is going to be different from any of them that came before.

I'm going to miss Juan Pablo Montoya lurking in my rear view mirror like he has for each of the last two years. Racing at St. Petersburg became synonymous with trying to keep him from making me crazy and now he's not going to be here at all. I know that was his choice but that doesn't mean I won't think about him. Juan was my constant competitor, with that extra dash of irony given that he used to work with my strategist, and as much as he frustrated me I appreciated the battles that we fought.

I'm going to miss seeing my father at the track every weekend. It meant the world to me to have that family connection in the paddock. I was one of only three drivers who could claim that. It was sometimes the only family time that I had. Now I'm afraid that my relationship with my dad will turn out just like my relationship with my stepmom, where I forget to call and sometimes don't talk to her for months. My dad was always supposed to be here and suddenly he's not.

I'm going to miss my boyfriend and I hope I know how to deal with that. I've never been in a relationship while racing before. I was always able to pack my bags and walk away without anyone counting on me. He says he'll come to a few races, but let's be real. He works in a profession where he can't exactly be flying around the country. Maybe I'll see him at Gateway, but in all likelihood the time we'll get together between now and October will be the off weeks where I fly back and try not to be exhausted.

The only people in my life now are the ones who will be in the garage. Shane, Derrick and Terry. They're the only three people I'll actually be spending any length of time with. The ones who will be at every race and be there afterward and understand what happened. The ones who are in the trenches with me. The ones who will have to deal with whatever pop song I decide is our song this year and who will watch me do everything in my power to make them proud.

I've realized something about myself in the last few months. As much as I want more this is the one place I truly belong. It's the one place where I know what to do and how to do it. I can't change that and I can't replace it. Everything else I've tried to construct will never be the same as what I am able to do on the racetrack.

This is what this is all for. All the gym sessions, the miles run, the team meetings, the work in the garage, the testing days, the press days, it all leads to this. Today I leave everything else at the door and rededicate myself again to what I was born to do.

Even with everything that has changed, I'll always stay the same. For better or for worse.

Shelby Manning
Need For Speed OC
577 words