So I was on the phone with my mom yesterday and she started to tell me that we were going to have different seats in the stands at the Knoxville Nationals this year. Now to you this might not seem like a big deal, in fact, you’re probably wondering if reading this is really going to be worth it with such a lame introduction. Well let me tell you what I heard when she mentioned different tickets… I pictured the last 22 years of the Nationals falling apart, everything changing, Knoxville never being the same. A little dramatic? Maybe, but that’s how I felt! I panicked. Knoxville just wouldn’t be Knoxville if I wasn’t sitting in Section I, Row 10. I know it’s a little (emphasis on “a little”) silly to think my whole Nationals experience would be ruined by having a different seat in the stands, but I can’t help but think it might be just different enough to throw me off for the whole week! I really do not like change. I like a routine. I like knowing what to expect, actually I think that’s the biggest part of it. Being able to know what’s coming or knowing exactly what set of stairs to walk up in the stands to get to my seat is comforting to me. I feel the same way about most situations in my life, not just where I sit at Knoxville. Let’s look at school, for example. Even though we don’t have to, I sit in the same seat every day in class. You know what really grinds my gears? When I walk in on an exam day and someone is sitting in my seat! I go to that seat every day because it’s comforting. It’s my spot, my place in class. Don’t mess up my mojo on a day when we’re taking a test! There’s even a word to describe this fear of change: Metathesiophobia and I am sure the symptoms describe these situations. Just in case you’re not convinced yet, I’ve got one more example. When I’m at home I sleep on the left side of the bed, so when I walk into a hotel room it gives me anxiety just looking at the right side of the bed, let alone thinking about sleeping on it!
Bryan has had to give me more than one talk about embracing change. Being around racing my whole life you would think I’d be okay with change because it happens all the time, but let me tell you again – I hate it. Crew guys, mechanics, and drivers are in this ever-revolving door it seems like, but I like consistency. I get used to certain people being around and being around those people, so when someone new is added to the equation it takes me a long time to fully accept that.
Knowing everything I just said, it might seem crazy to you that Bryan’s emerging winged sprint car career isn’t sending me right over the edge! I just rambled on and on about how I like things to stay the same, I like a routine, and I do not like new/different situations. Well, let me tell you about this wing racing – It’s new, it’s different, it’s not Bryan’s normal routine and guess what… I love it! Right now I’m on a plane headed to California. I’m going out to watch BC race with the World of Outlaws at Tulare. I’m really excited because 1. I’ve never been to Tulare and 2. B’s in a winged sprint car! I grew up around winged sprint cars, so I think that is partly why I’m so comfortable with this change. Let me just throw this out there to clarify – Bryan is running the full USAC Sprint Car and Midget schedule this year. He’s just filling in his free time with winged sprint car races. In years past he hasn’t had much free time, but by cutting back the number of local non-wing shows he is racing, that has allowed him this opportunity to try something new.
Bryan is excited about this opportunity to diversify his racing career and he’s obviously taken a liking to having the wing on top. Bryan could easily run the USAC schedules and be content, but he’s ready for this challenge. Personally and professionally I think this is great for B. You don’t see this too often. Here he is almost 25-years-old and he’s essentially a rookie all over again. People forget how young Bryan is because he’s been racing (and been successful) for so long! I admire Bryan and I’m really proud of him for being brave enough to take this challenge on. I know it’s not going to be easy. I have been confident in Bryan’s ability in anything he has raced, and the winged sprint car is no different, but he is still at the beginning of this learning curve. Right now, making the World of Outlaws A-Main is a big deal! I think that will be the hardest part for Bryan’s fans to really embrace – having to alter their expectations. For most, that seems like common sense, but there are those people who think because Bryan is a USAC Champion he should be winning with the World of Outlaws. Right now, a realistic goal for BC is running top 10-15 with the Outlaws. If he can go out and do that every night that would exceed his personal expectations. Obviously he’s a competitor and winning is on his mind, but Bryan’s smart enough and mature enough to have realistic expectations.
The biggest reason I’m not having a total anxiety/panic attack about this change is because Bryan is really, really having fun and he’s so excited about it! He’s been successful in the USAC world, and he’s still focused on that, but being able to challenge himself with a different type of car and different tracks is fun for Bryan. I think it’s really cool to see how many fans are supporting him in this change too! Bryan is still going to be in a non-winged car 50+ times this year, so don’t worry he’s not going anywhere! As for all the rumors about where Bryan will be next year… keep dreaming up those awesome scenarios! For now, I’m going to embrace this change and enjoy the moment. Maybe change isn’t so bad after all…