Our son, Andrew, works for a professional NHRA race team. He works for Don Schumacher Racing and is on Leah Pritchett’s team. It’s an unusual, hard-working, and interesting life. Gary and I subscribe to the NHRA live feed so that we can watch each qualifying and elimination run at every race from February – November.
This weekend the big Indy Nationals Labor Day race is being run for its 65th year. It’s a huge event! And you can bet that Gary and I will be watching each run. One qualifying run was on Friday…two runs today…two more tomorrow…and the big race will happen on Monday. It’s so much fun to be able to go to the races while we’re at home! And even more fun to see Andrew!
Leah and the team won the race at Brainerd two weeks ago. Here is a picture of Andrew and Leah with the coveted Wally trophy.
We wish all of them the same success this weekend, for sure!
Someone else will hang out with us, too, for each run. Aaron! Now this is unusual because Aaron used to care nothing for racing. Part of that was lack of interest in the sport. But a huge part of his lack of interest was also due to jealousy.
Aaron has struggled with resentment toward Andrew for years. I think it’s partly because they are both guys. Aaron wanted friends like Andrew had…wanted to drive a truck like Andrew did…and craved the attention Andrew got when he told his cool stories.
Therefore, when Aaron would see Gary and me watching a race, he would say, “I don’t care about that stupid race!!” And off he would stalk, mad at us for the time and attention we gave to the race…and mostly to Andrew.
Something changed, though, a few years ago. Aaron took an interest in racing and so he would come down to Gary’s study to join us. Granted, sometimes his head is buried in his Nintendo DS, but he is still listening and soaking up knowledge about drag racing.
It was amazing and wonderful to hear Aaron talk to Andrew on the phone. “Hey, Andrew!! I watch you on racing!” And to hear Andrew so sweetly engage with Aaron, and to say he’s glad he gets to watch.
Our little neighbor came over a few weeks ago to watch a run with us. Keegan is in the first grade. It was so cool to hear Aaron answering some of Keegan’s questions about drag racing. Things like the difference in Funny cars, like Andrew used to work on:
And Top Fuel cars, where he is now:
It was also fun to hear Aaron talk about Leah Pritchett, the driver of the car where Andrew is now working. This has been one of the funniest and sweetest aspects of Aaron’s interest in racing.
Leah is very pretty. Aaron has never mentioned before that a girl is pretty. He might talk about her hair being “yellow”…or her clothes that are weird…or her weight!!…or any number of other aspects that often require our correction. But being pretty? Nope. Aaron has never seemed to notice. Until Leah…
The first time he saw her in a close-up shot on our television, Aaron said, “She has nice eye polish!” 😊 😊
Gary and I stifled laughter as we looked at each other in shock. Aaron noticed her eye make-up?!
When I was able to meet Leah in person two years ago at the Houston race, I told her about Aaron and what he said. She loved it!
Aaron has broadened his appreciation of Leah, though. He says that she is beautiful, and that he wants to marry her…which is to Aaron a normal connecting of the dots, not at all unusual or extreme.
This past year, in Houston, I asked Leah to sign one of her posters for Aaron. She was glad to do so.
And Aaron…he was BEYOND happy when I handed him his poster, signed – LOVE, Leah!!
He has showed this poster to all our neighbors and to many others who have come to our house.
I told Leah about this at the Topeka race, about how happy Aaron is to have her signed poster. It made her smile, and then to ask when she would see Aaron. But taking Aaron to an actual race…that’s a whole other challenge!
In all this racing interest, the best part has been to watch Aaron care about Andrew’s life and his job, and for the bond that has been formed between them.
“My brother is a drag car racer worker!” Aaron tells everyone.
That’s the best win-win, in our book.
But we would still love to see another Wally this weekend!