Many of our hobbies and passions in life are derived from our upbringings and who we are surrounding by. Having constant exposure to something helps foster a true penchant for a craft that sometimes even evolves into a career. Perhaps the most visible form of this comes in sports, where as many as three or four generations of a family have played the same sport professionally. While each sport has its famous family names – the Bryants in basketball, the Griffeys in baseball and the Mannings in football – auto racing is the most prominent sport in terms of father-son and sibling pairings.
If you go through the history of NASCAR, many of the sport’s biggest icons have matching names. These notable pairings include the Earnhardts and Pettys, among many others. This grouping also consists of Hall of Fame father-son duo Bobby and Davey Allison, whose family got introduced into racing at Hialeah Speedway during Bobby’s life in South Florida before moving to Alabama.
Even beyond some of these famous names, you don’t have to look hard to find family ties amongst some of the major players all three of NASCAR’s national series this year.
In the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series, teenagers Harrison Burton and Todd Gilliland are teammates at Kyle Busch Motorsports, where each is in search of their first career win. If those names sound familiar, you might remember their fathers, Jeff and Dave, respectively, who combined to make over 1,000 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts during their lengthy careers.
Cole Custer, who’s piloted his way to a NASCAR Xfinity Series best three wins this year, didn’t watch his father race cars growing up, but his dad was still
influential in helping Cole choose his career. His father, Joe, has been an executive at Stewart-Haas Racing, working for both the team’s NASCAR operations as well as Haas’ recent quest into Formula 1.
In the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, the sons following in their fathers’ footsteps becomes even more prolific. There’s Ryan Blaney, Austin and Ty Dillon, Brad Keselowski and Martin Truex Jr., to name a few. I’d be remiss though if I didn’t single out Chase Elliott, whose dad Bill is one of the most respected drivers of all time, racking up 44 Cup series wins to go along with 16 Most Popular Driver Awards. Chase currently sits fifth in the points standings and has begun to make a name for himself over the last year, winning four races and just like his father, a Most Popular Driver Award of his own.
Seeing all these connections makes me wonder two things – why in racing is the father-son duo more prominent than other sports, and who might be next?
The first question extends past just the drivers. As long as I’ve been working in motorsports, it’s been a passion that has been passed down from generation to generation among the fans as much as the drivers. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve navigated the grounds here at Homestead-Miami Speedway during Ford Championship Weekend and seen a multitude of fathers taking in the day with their children.
That picture I just painted also serves as a reminder of how I got my passion for this industry. Growing up in Michigan, I can’t tell you how many times I remember going on trips to both Michigan International Speedway and Indianapolis Motor Speedway, whether it was for NASCAR races, IndyCar race, driving schools or the many different events tracks typically hold. Those times with my dad are what led to me pursuing a career in racing and being a part of helping many other children have the same experiences I did.
And that leads me to my second question of who’s next? Of course it’s hard not to think it might be young Brexton Busch, who makes regular appearances in Victory Lane with his father Kyle, or Joey Logano’s infant son, Hudson, who took a seat inside the championship trophy during his dad’s celebration last November. But also don’t forget that it may be your son or daughter. Maybe they’re so enthralled with the racing that they want to get behind the wheel of a go-kart or start a career in NASCAR. Or maybe just as satisfying, they take up your passion and circle the date on their calendar year after year, looking forward to the day they get to head to the racetrack with their father, and eventually children of their own.
On behalf of everyone here at Homestead-Miami Speedway, I want to wish all the dads out there a very happy Father’s Day. Enjoy the holiday and be sure to spend some time with your loved ones on this special day.
NASCAR ACTION THIS WEEKEND
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series is off this weekend and will return to action Sunday, June 23 at Sonoma Raceway.
Sunday, June 16 at 5:30 PM (ET)
NASCAR Xfinity Series CircuitCity.com 250 presented by Tamron at Iowa Speedway
Tune In: FS1 and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90
Saturday, June 15 at 8:30 PM (ET)
NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck M&M’s 200 presented by Casey’s General Store at Iowa Speedway
Tune In: FS1 and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90
UPCOMING EVENTS AT HOMESTEAD-MIAMI SPEEDWAY
Fast Lane Friday
June 15 Performance Driving Group
Miami Exotic Auto Racing
June 22-23 Sports Car Club of America (SCCA)
June 29-30 Formula & Automobile Racing Association (FARA)
2019 HOMESTEAD-MIAMI SPEEDWAY NASCAR DATES
Ford EcoBoost 200 Gander Outdoors Truck Series Championship Race
Ford EcoBoost 300 Xfinity Series Championship Race
Ford EcoBoost 400 Monster Energy Series Championship Race
2020 HOMESTEAD-MIAMI SPEEDWAY NASCAR DATES
Mar. 20 NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Race
Mar. 21 NASCAR Xfinity Series Race
Mar. 22 NASCAR Cup Series Race