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Dreams to Realities …

October 12, 2012

Well, well, well … I leave a blog alone for 6+ months, and it gets all dusty on me. I know, I know … here I start my own, personal INDYCAR-based blog, and then I leave it alone through the entire 2012 IZOD IndyCar Season. Plus, all my proposed in-session tweets, and humor, and “GREEN BEANS” commentaries disappear. Kinda surprised there haven’t been APB’s put out for me.

Allow me to explain – strike that – too long to explain. Allow me to summarize myself. Even that may be too long.

Back in February, I wrote a blog entry called “Making INDYCAR better … personally“. In a nutshell, I was invited to interview for a new “webmaster” position within INDYCAR. Out of countless people whom submitted resumés for this position back in May/June 2011, along with several personal recommendations provided by my “insider” contacts, not to mention my racing friends, I lived out a dream. An interview. With a company I believe in. In a sport I have an insatiable passion about.

On the morning of February 28, 2012, I received a call from INDYCAR thanking me for my interviews. While I did make their selection extremely difficult, I was the 2nd overall selection for the position. Disappointed & heartbroken? Absolutely. But I wasn’t bitter, to be honest. I knew I gave INDYCAR my best, and I was proud of the time/effort/money I spent for this opportunity. I really felt I made INDYCAR better.

On February 29th, things got weird. I don’t mean weird in a strange way, but weird in a “even-Hollywood-couldn’t-dream-about-imagining-this” kinda way.

That morning, my great uncle (and the man whom my middle name comes from) passed away after a long illness. I’m honored to carry his name as my own. As family gathered over the next few days, my job search temporarily stopped. I needed to be with my family, not only to mourn my uncle, but also reflect on my interview process with INDYCAR. Did I flub something? What could I have said or done differently? Sometimes, self-reflection is good, but you can’t beat yourself up on it too long. My uncle did know about my interviewing with INDYCAR, and he was thrilled for me, wishing me luck before my first interview.

In remembering my uncle that week, I could see that I had adopted a few of his personality traits. He loved the outdoors. He loved woodworking as a hobby. He had a passion for cars – although his flavor were in Model-T’s and the classic cars. I also believe he was a reserved, quiet person. I wouldn’t call him shy by any means, but – I dunno – my impression was that he might have been a little difficult to get to know on a personal level, but once one broke through that shell, he was one of the best human beings one could ever want to meet. I think I’m the same way. Perhaps wrongly, I tend to keep my feelings/emotions really bottled up in check, esp. if they involve personal issues, which may be why starting close friendships is much more difficult for me than just making acquaintances with people. As much as I try to be an extrovert, I’m probably an introvert by nature. It is for this reason that something tells me “higher powers” began the day he passed. Something clicked that day. Something completely, and to this day is still, unimaginable. Something … well … divine.

My uncle’s funeral was held the following Monday (March 5th). As family members began their journeys home the following day, I recall helping my father at his real estate office. That afternoon, while uploading photos for appraisals, I received an email from INDYCAR. Something happened, and they wanted to know my availability for a phone call 1st thing Wednesday morning, March 7th. My schedule became instantly cleared.

On Wednesday, I had a phone call with INDYCAR. Long story short – the person whom INDYCAR selected over me for the new webmaster position had accepted another position March 1st, not 72 hours after accepting the position. INDYCAR was now in a bind, and needed to bring someone in. Would I still be open to the opportunity on a 90-day-trial period? A new website was scheduled to be launched in 2+ weeks, and they desperately needed someone to get them through at least the Indianapolis 500. After the 500, INDYCAR would take a benchmark to see whether they’d continue with me as their employee, and vice-versa – whether I would want to continue with INDYCAR.

I think the words I said were: “Um … uh … yeah, I’m still interested.”

The next words on the other side of the phone call were: “That’s the best thing we’ve heard all week. When could you be in Indianapolis to start?”

“I was planning on being in Indianapolis tomorrow anyway for the Big Ten Basketball tournament, but I don’t have a ticket yet. To be honest, I could start tomorrow.”

“Sounds good. 8am. See you tomorrow.”

On March 8th, 2012 at 8am Eastern … I began my career as the new Director of Online Strategies for INDYCAR.

I’ll stop there for now. Over the next few days/weeks, I’m going to try to start piecing together the last 6 months (March-September 2012) over a few blog entries. I won’t give inner-workings of INDYCAR … some things need to be private and confidential, so I hope you understand. However, what I hope I *can* provide is a broad picture of the biggest whirlwind adventure I’ve ever been on. How I’m going to blog this adventure, I don’t know. How long it’s going to take – again, I don’t know. Just know this … if you’ve read this far, then you know I have a few stories to tell, recalling “pinch-me” moments, but similarly, times where I wanted to shake my head, scream, break down and leave this sport altogether.

But think of this for 10 seconds … an INDYCAR fan – just like yourself, just like several of Twitter followers you may be following, just like a few other INDYCAR bloggers you may already read – was given the keys to INDYCAR.com in 2012.

Now, isn’t that worth another blog entry (or two, or three) to read? I hope so. Stick around.

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