South Dade News Leader: Matt Becherer

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Matt Becherer

Friday 07/13/2018
Generation to Generation

A few weeks ago, I discussed the father-son relationships we see among NASCAR’s drivers and the impact that those relationships have on our sport. In that column, I explored how a parent’s passion can be at the forefront of their relationship with a child. I highlighted a number of instances we have seen in the history of our sport, as well as how this trend may continue. Many times however, a driver’s father may not necessarily be as notable as Dale Earnhardt, but will still have the same profound impact on his son as Earnhardt had with his. These relationships between a father and son are endless and last beyond a lifetime.

This past weekend at Daytona International Speedway, a father-son relationship was on full display as Erik Jones survived through many wrecks and held off Martin Truex Jr. to capture his first career Monster Energy Cups Series win. It was an emotional first win for Jones, who lost his father, Dave, to cancer in 2016. Although Dave never got see his son race full-time in the Cup series, Erik made it to this point of his career in large part because of his dad, and he carries his relationship with his father every day.

After his victory on Saturday, Erik credited his career to his father and the sacrifices that he made to allow Erik the opportunity to rise through the ranks of motorsports. Although Dave had never got behind the wheel to race during his lifetime, he saw that his son had a passion for auto racing so he did everything possible to help further Erik’s career.

Erik also talked about how he wished he could have shared that moment of winning a race with his dad. As he stood in Victory Lane, he recalled a memory of his dad selling his prized 1965 Corvette in order to fund Erik and get him into late model race cars when he was a child.

Erik understood the importance of that sacrifice, and vowed to one day buy back the car for his father. Although he didn’t get a chance to do so before Dave’s passing, Erik eventually tracked down the Corvette and bought it for himself, allowing him to hold onto a piece of his relationship with his dad.

As Erik remarked about the importance of his father after his first Cup series victory and shared his story about his father’s car, he will undoubtedly continue to reflect back to his dad after each race win throughout his career.

This type of relationship that Erik and Dave shared is not uncommon throughout sports and life in general. There are many athletes who often showed raw emotion and talked about the impact that their fathers had on their lives.

After his father’s death, Michael Jordan retired from the National Basketball Association to pursue a career in baseball, the sport which his father always envisioned Michael playing professionally. When he returned to the NBA and won the 1996 Finals on Father’s Day, Jordan lied down on the locker room floor, crying as recalled the importance of his father in his life.

These instances offer a few looks at the remarkable bond this exists between two generations of men. Whether it’s through a common passion or a sacrifice that is made to help the other, this bond is strengthened every day. 

Even as we grow older and eventually continue through life without our parents, they still have an effect on us. Much like the Jones’ or the Jordan’s, our fathers have often had a great impact on us throughout our life.

As I grew older and had a daughter of my own, I began to appreciate more the sacrifices my father made for me and the relationship that we have. My dad had a great impact on me as he helped me develop my passion for racing, which eventually became my career as well.

It’s important to cherish the time that we have together with our fathers because it doesn’t last forever. However, long after our parents our gone, our memories and relationships with them will continue being a part of our lives. As a 22-year-old Erik Jones stood in Victory Lane at Daytona discussing the role his father still plays in his career, you couldn’t help but notice Jones will always feel the same way every time he wins throughout the rest of his career. Because even though he may have only had his father for an abbreviated time of his life, the bond that exists between a father and a son is everlasting.

NASCAR ACTION THIS WEEKEND

Saturday, July 14 at 7:30 PM (ET)

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Quaker State Sugar 400 at Kentucky Speedway

Tune In: NBCSN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90

Friday, July 13 at 8:00 PM (ET)

NASCAR XFINITY Series Alsco 300 at Kentucky Speedway

Tune In: NBCSN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90

Thursday, July 12 at 7:30 PM (ET)

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Buckle Up In Your Truck 225 at Kentucky Speedway

Tune In: FS1 and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90

UPCOMING EVENTS AT HOMESTEAD-MIAMI SPEEDWAY

July 15 Chin Motorsports Car Club

July 21 Miami Exotic Auto Racing

July 22 Performance Driving Group

July28-29 Rusty Wallace Racing Experience

August 3 Fast Lane Friday

August 11 Give Back at the Track

2018 HOMESTEAD-MIAMI SPEEDWAY NASCAR DATES

Nov. 16 Ford EcoBoost 200 Camping World Truck Series Championship Race

Nov. 17 Ford EcoBoost 300 XFINITY Series Championship Race

Nov. 18 Ford EcoBoost 400 Monster Energy Series Championship Race

Posted in Opinion, Columnists, Matt becherer, Sports on Friday, July 13, 2018 9:53 am. Comments (0)

MATT BECHERER

Matt Becherer is President of Homestead-Miami Speedway. This long-time motorsports executive is one of the good guys, and he leads a team of 40 that operate the track. If you would like to talk to Matt, he can be reached at chatwithmatt @homesteadmiamispeedway.com.

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