This summer has been pretty fun so far. I've been able to hang out with my friends from back home quite a bit. I have been to the pool a lot practicing my tricks on the diving boards and I went to a few dirt track races. Best of all, I got to hang out with my family!
In my last blog, I talked about my arrival in Kansas and my fourth of July antics. I wound up staying in Kansas for the rest of the month! I can't remember the last summer that I went to the pool as often as I did this one. I learned how to do a double front flip off the diving board, (the low dive, not the high dive.) I ate water pretty hard a few times in the process of learning to do my double. I tried a two and a half, we won't talk about how that went. I landed on my face doing my double a few times. One time I hit the water so hard that my teeth hurt, I couldn't breath through one side of my nose, and I had a major headache for a while. I kept at it until I finally perfected my double.
I saw two GREAT dirt track races while I was in Kansas. I went to see my friend Rodney race at Thunder Hill Speedway in Mayetta, KS. He just started racing in a Modified and had some rookie troubles in his heat race. Our night was cut off early due to rain, but it was great to be back at the track where I started racing and to get to see my friend launch his racing career. We had a good time visiting and chatting. The second race I went to was at Heartland Park in Topeka, KS. It was a memorial race for a modified driver who passed away last year. I raced go-karts with his son years ago so it was cool to be at the Memorial race. It was one of the closest races I've seen in awhile! The leader and the second place car were side by side for the last 15 laps of the race. The second place car passed the leader coming to the white flag and won the race. The coolest thing was that the guy who won on the last lap was the son of the driver who died. Man, that was awesome. I was cheering him on like I was part of the team!
I brought my friend Mackenzie with me to a both races. I have a rule in racing that no females (except for family) are allowed to go with me to the race track. I guess I have that rule because I am usually not at a race track unless I am actually racing. I try to stay really focused and "in the zone." This is the first time EVER in the history of Chase Austin, that I brought a girl to the track. So, it was a pretty big event... Ha ha.
Hanging out with my family for a month was really fun. I spent time with my Mom at the pool and helping her with paper work from our business. I helped my Dad work on cars in his shop and I did a lot of work around the house and in the yard. My sister and I watched movies and just hung out. My family plays a card game called Continental. We always play when the family gets together and while I was home we played about every other night. I'm sad to say I never won a game and my sister kicked all of our butts more than once. Since I live in North Carolina, I don't get to see my family much so the time I spent at home was fun and relaxing.
The break is over now, but I am excited to get back to racing. I am running the Michigan NASCAR Nationwide race on August 14th in the 43 car. I get to work with Forgotten Harvest again to help them raise funds for the Million Meal Challenge. While I was in Kansas, we did some research and found out that we have an organization just like Forgotten Harvest right here in Kansas called Harvesters (http://www.harvesters.org/). I am hoping that my trip to Michigan will help feed a lot of people. If you want more information. you can get on my web side and there is a link to Forgotten Harvest and Harvesters.
Before I leave for Michigan I get to make another trip to a dirt track! I am signing autographs with David Ragan at the Shriner's 100 at Carolina Speedway on Tuesday, August 10th. I will be visiting a couple of the Shriner's Orphanages to say hello to the kids before the race. I think that is the neatest thing about driving race cars - getting to make a difference in people's lives. I love racing and there is nothing else like the adrenaline rush you get going to hundred miles an hour three wide at Daytona - but when you get to do something that really makes a difference in the world, especially for a kid, that is a feeling that I can't even describe.
After Michigan, it looks like I may get a shot at running the Nationwide race in Atlanta. I need all the seat time I can get! Maybe, just maybe. I'll get to run Kansas in the fall. That is right around my birthday, so that would be about the best birthday present I can think of. Check back next month and I'll let you know about my next race, if I land on my face again at the pool and if I finally manage to win a card game. (Pretty exciting stuff. Ha ha) Until then, I'll keep on Chasin my dreams...