Nothing’s more frustrating than not making much progress on goals and Mother Nature rearing its ugly head that put me in an absolute horrible box.

That horrible box is whether or not the possibility of accomplishing 14 promises would be considered legit in the eyes of people.

I’ll go into greater detail as to why I feel this way because I thought February would’ve been the dream month. Instead, it’s just a big meh!

Still miles better than January, the worst time period I’ve had since all of 2017. I’ll briefly go into details as to why as well.

Without further ado, here’s my progress as of February 27, 2020.

Promise No. 1: 500 Double (One Big Asterisk)

Nine days of incredible buildup, went into complete and utter waste on the most important day. This led to an absolute mind fuck I’ll have to deal with for the rest of the year until I more than likely seek for Daytona redemption in 2021.

Call me insane, but I was in absolute Cloud 9 during the first nine days in Florida. Not only I found a way to make Uber and golf carting rides, let alone walking from the Turn 4 tunnel to the Daytona International Speedway Media Center during the first three days, I got to cover one day of activities at New Smyrna Speedway.

My photos was a bit of hot potato as it pertained to good and bad shots, but I felt that I hit my peak up to this point in my career. The Busch “Crash” was the pinnacle and while I was so hard on myself for the following photo I’m about to share, it just doesn’t get any better than witnessing a photo finish.

When seeing someone else’s photo, I was internally livid as to how close I nailed the photo finish between Grant Enfinger (98), Jordan Anderson (3) and Codie Rohrbaugh (back – No. 9 truck). Compared to what I was about to deal with Sunday night, this is one of the more positive highlights of Speedweeks.

All was great and after a solid ninth day, which was the Xfinity Series race won by Noah Gragson, it appeared that the Daytona 500 was going to be the ultimate pinnacle of a near perfect trip.

Going through secret services was super smooth, miles better than airport security. It’s not even close! Not even close! I was super optimistic that I was going to leave Daytona with a smile, knowing I was able to pull of the entire Speedweeks.

Mother Nature called and it stuck. To the point where the race only lasted 20 laps and for the first time since 2012 (second overall), the Daytona 500 was postponed due to rain.

With Delta’s mega finicky rule where it’s only same-day flight you can change (should’ve looked into Southwest) and the associate editor unable to stick around, that postponement was the end.

In frustration, we left the track knowing that it was an absolute crushing blow for not just me, but to Motorsports Tribune. Not one of us, essentially the whole staff, would be able to cover the rest of the 500.

My last photo I took in my two Nikon DSLRs. Pole sitter Ricky Stenhouse had led all of the 20 laps that were ran Sunday. This was before another downpour was coming. Drivers were told to get into their cars. I went to the Media Center to grab my scanner, but as soon as I got there – the rain came and NASCAR pulled the plug before 8:00 pm.

What made it more insulting is that in 2014, the race was able to resume at around 9 or 10 pm. The rains stopped before 8:30 or so, so what’s stopping them in 2020?

Ratings? Money? – I’ll never know but I was very upset and it carried onto the flight back. All that hard work I put to make my second Daytona 500 experience a landmark moment in my life was wasted.

All that walking to get to the track. The rides I had to take in order to get through the first half solo. Just for rain to end it? It sucked.

Only a crazy fool would pull something like that, but when you don’t have a license (which is my number-one in 2020), I must do what I can. Even if it doesn’t lead to a major gig, it was still worth it.

Now the biggest thing I’ll have to deal all year is this question:

Did Mother Nature ended my promise of doing both Daytona and Indianapolis 500?

Now I know weather is totally out of my control, but this promise will be viewed as a big asterisk. I was only there for 50 out of 515 miles. No matter what, numbers wise, I can only do 550 of 1015.

Yeah, I was there to cover the race, but it’s not the whole thing. Not the same. That’s what’s more agonizing than the rain.

I don’t want to hear anyone or behind closed doors that I lack passion and dedication. That’s why going forward, especially when I’m at the track, I’ll have this exact mindset!

You’ll not see anyone that’ll pour their heart and soul on trying to make this media career work like I will from this day forward.

That’s now my mission and I’m going to make sure I can turn this crushing negative into something special. You can bet on it.

For now, I really want to do more collaborations and get the podcast project going for the next several weeks. I’ll even do a video project about camp if it means helping others. That’s what I thrive for. Helping others.

All of that became absolutely irrelevant when this moment happened.

While I often bicker about my shortcomings, I ponder how my emotions would’ve been had I witnessed Ryan Newman’s violent accident in person. Mercifully, Newman is still with us and on the road towards recovery. He left Halifax Medical Center two days after this crash, further proving that he’s the toughest son of a bitch out there. Time will tell when he’ll strap into a race car, but at the end of the day, he survived and it’s what matters.

Although I was back home, all of us were shaken by the crash. No doubt, this moment tarnished Speedweeks for everyone.

When NASCAR comes back to Daytona in August, it’ll be must see TV because of how this accident could still linger in the minds of everyone. It’s the final race of the regular season, which I’m still against to this day! I hate that it’s not longer a 4th of July weekend race. That’ll never change.

Regardless of how I feel, their return to Daytona will be one of the biggest stories of the season.

I can only go up from here and of course, the most important task is a few months away. That obviously being the Indy 500.

It’s very certain that I’ll be covering “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” for the first time, but I got to be there in person to let that sink in. You’ll hear more about as the Month of May comes close.

Promise No. 2: Podcast Legitimacy (No Progress)

My interview with David Gravel went as well as the Seattle Dragons against the Dallas Renegades last Saturday. Yeah, it wasn’t my finest interview I’ve had in my career. Okay, it went fine but the heavy wind, not tucking my shirt (looking back at it) and forgetting to bring my microphone that day wasn’t ideal. Also, I had mega rust when asking questions that fortunately went away in a few days.

The most rubbish thing about making no progress on this podcast is when you have a theme, but unsure if it’ll draw people.

Like racing is my passion, it’s super apparent at this point to everyone who knows me or get a decent taste of where I’m coming from. But I hope to make it more than racing in my third crack at doing a show since graduating from the University of Idaho in 2016.

If I were to do a pilot episode soon, it’ll be my reflection of Speedweeks 2020 with audio I got during those 10 days. Of course, I’ll chime in and give my takes on the driver’s comments.

However, when I have a theme for the show, hope you’ll support it because it’s the closest broadcasting thing I could do at this time since I’m too focused on making both the writing and photography thing work.

Promise No. 3: Surviving May (In The Works)

My ventures for the 2020 NTT IndyCar Series season is pretty much set, but the road of getting to those venues, including the Indianapolis 500, is still a big mystery. All I can hope is making it through the year with my head intact because it’s been insane all across the board.

In my eyes, I’d love to do the whole entire month which includes all the practice sessions and GMR Grand Prix, but I don’t have a limitless budget.

The most I may end up doing, especially if the Detroit Grand Prix plays a massive role into my on-assignments for 2020, is just the two weekends.

Those are the two-days of qualifying and the Indy 500. The meat of the sandwich of that entire month at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Big picture that as long as I get to cover those two weekends, that should be enough to get a first-time real feel of what the Month of May is all about.

As I’ve said, it won’t sink in until that time rolls along.

Promise No. 4: License Bound (Sooner Than Later)

Pack photos at Daytona were really fun capturing and it’s what I predominately captured during my 10-out-of-11 days in Florida. Now if I can pour the effort into getting that damn license, it’ll be much better.

I don’t think I need to explain this one. It’s like beating on a dead horse.

The way my first two months of 2020 have gone, it became a total afterthought and now that my mind is a bit in a better place, good time to refresh my memory bank by preparing myself to take the damn exam.

From there, get the damn license so I can gain experience. Especially when September rolls along.

Promise No. 5: Back to My Roots (Need to Take Action)

It’s kind of hard making commitments in the world of photography. The last football game I did photos was October 13, 2017 and my last major video project was the following October. Got to change and hopefully, I can set something up so I can go back to my roots. This photo symbolizes the days of my past, capturing sports moments. Whether it’s football, basketball, volleyball or even leadership camp, yearbook, and major school events, I know I’m far from doing contributing to the areas that’s impacted my life.

Kind of mentioned what I’d love to do in my lengthy reflection from Daytona. Legit documenting why one particular leadership camp means the world to me have been a priority of mine ever since 2015.

I did a video back in 2017, but I know I could’ve done so much better. Like actually being there would’ve made the clip extraordinarily next level shit.

The narration I wrote is no doubt the strongest part of the video. I had one person help me out to get new footage (my clips were from 2015), but it severely strained our friendship without even knowing. I’ll just leave it at that because the video is far more important.

Will it ever happen? I’ll never know. I just need to ask and just find out!

However, it’s not the only roots I want to dive into again, but also other stuff from my past.

Like visiting Idaho despite little to no one I care about are left. Maybe get back into doing video/photography in sports as mentioned in the photo caption.

So many options out there. Just a matter of anyone willing to give me a shot without being glared at like the last time I did video about high school football in 2018.

Promise No. 6: International Views (No Progress)

I figured to insert a photo of Bubba Wallace’s sky dive hours before the Bluegreen Vacations Duel at Daytona (February 13). I’d imagine it was the greatest view of his life. Would I give it a go? Hell no!

First reality of what tax returns is all about happened this month. No I won’t go into details because what I exactly earn is my business, but most of us understand the more often than not disappointment of returns.

Anyways, I haven’t figured out which international countries I’ll be going. One is a lock, but just need to set a time period to make it a reality.

Another country insert into the picture recently, so as long as I take care of some things, it should be feasible. Of course, this one is racing related whereas the other one is very likely my getaway trip.

You’ll know if and when I’m at both international countries this year.

Promise No. 7: Five Cheers for Collabs (Sour Grapes)

It’s been since November that I’ve done anything creative with other people. As the sun went down, countless of ideas were inside my head, but where can it go? That’s the ultimate struggle as a content creator, especially how bad January went for me. It’s lead to a creative block. Better change that as well!

I figured this is the time to discuss why these past two months haven’t been great to me.

It’s partly due to the fact I cannot get any projects going and feeling extremely lonely (something I wasn’t bothered for years). I lost that drive and passion I had after November. I was lost, angry and confused. Don’t know why, but it tends to always happen during the winter months.

My personal life went rock bottom two weeks before going to Daytona. Then getting called out for a factual error I couldn’t find due to the data not being on point sometimes drove me into severer insanity where I’ve had enough.

That along with the deaths from the Calabasas plane crash (notably Kobe and Gianna Bryant) and John Andretti didn’t help because it hurt me more than I could ever imagine.

So for first time since June 2011, I really needed to get away from the major cesspool known as social media.

Now I still ended up writing racing articles, so I needed to share my works, but other than that and a Facebook group I’m in, I was a ghost.

In that time, I realized that so many things that made me angry shouldn’t have happened. Like this notion that if you don’t get any accolades is what defines an Idaho alumni.

Look, I was KUOI’s Employee of the Year for the 2016-17 school year and I was only there for half a semester because I graduated in Fall 2016. That’s a true badge of honor. If that’s all I’ll ever be known for there, sobeit because I’m proud of that award.

Yeah, winning awards are nice and hope one day I can be recognized in such capacity again, but it’s not the end all be all.

After coming into terms that it shouldn’t come down to that, my mind cleared up and for once, I may slowly start to accept my past without true shame.

Slowly but surely, I’m regaining that drive again. Yeah, the ending at Daytona sucked, but the rest brought encouraging hope for a turnaround long term.

Now here’s a catch, setting time to make the project happen has been extraordinarily difficult.

It can be discouraging, but that’ll happen when most of the people I know are pretty distant (even in foreign countries like Brazil, France and Taiwan) and only have Saturdays to fully guarantee doing anything with people.

I still feel five collaborations, either me being involved or leading it, is possible. Need to get going though as March is already near.

Promise No. 8: Kiss the Dirt (In The Works)

Just maybe, this particular event (will see) could be the next odd venture. Anyways, dirt racing coverage may become a reality soon.

Looks like it’s going to happen! I may have a chance to cover some form of dirt racing.

Need to get more information before sharing that very event I’ll be doing soon, but it may not be the only time I’ll get to “Kiss the Dirt.”

Again for context of the title, here’s the song by INXS back in 1985.

I’ll assure you mountains won’t be a part of the dirt racing venture! Just enjoy the damn song!

The other one may be in the works soon, but once I have some sort of idea what my schedule looks this Summer, I’ll update you throughout my social media platforms and blogs as to that particular dirt race.

Sorry, I’m not that big of a spoiler guy! I like providing suspense!

For now, I’m just ready to do another discipline because branching out and versatility is what keeps me going all the time.

Promise No. 9: Telling Stories (Sort of In Progress)

I love capturing feelgood moments and write stories about it. Hopefully, I can branch out a bit and tell other stories about the people I care about and/or those I’ve yet to meet. In this picture, it’s everything amazing about Speedweeks. Timmy Hill had a phenomenal time at Daytona by not only making the Daytona 500, but finishing third in the Xfinity Series race. Stuff like that is what I’ll remember about this year when I look back in December.

While writing updates as to how each promises have gone, I needed a double reminder what this particular promise was about. I have to many things going through my head that some stuff I’ve glossed over.

I realized that the goal is to write stories that are unique. Whether it’s telling a tail about a person’s journey or others contributing to my brand so their stories can be heard someday.

After pretty much following Timmy Hill’s journey at Daytona, due in most part how he became one of the biggest stories of Speedweeks 2020, I guess that progress began.

Hill not only made the Daytona 500 in a Roush Yates engine Carl Long spent a lot of money on, but he got a third-place finish in the Xfinity Series race hours after being docked 75 points.

I want to remember that when the year is done because it’s a story worth telling to the masses.

It’s why I want to give the podcast project another go. I want to tell stories and have others tell their stories. Whether it’s on Motorsports Tribune or here, my goal is to bring fascinating stories that I can imagine will be fun for viewers to read.

Promise No. 10: Middle School Dream Comes True (Waiting…)

I’m not going to give out what that “dream” is, so enjoy this walkway photo from the shores of Daytona Beach. Too bad the only day I got up early, it was cloudy. Bummer!

You know that one Tom Petty song regarding waiting? It’s how I feel about this promise because I’m halfway there.

What is it you may ask? Just wait.

It’s not a serious promise, but more of a fun one for me that’s a callback to my days in middle school and what got me into one particular interest.

I’m just excited and I damn sure know middle school Luis is as excited.

More musical madness for you to listen. When this podcast thing gets going, I may just talk about music I like at the moment. If my top 100 songs from 2019 doesn’t tell you my bizarre tastes, look at it again so you’ll know!

Promise No. 11: New Photo Adventures (Maybe In Progress)

Left ear being messed up for the second time four months aside, seeing the modified cars for the first time was pure boss! Here’s NASCAR Cup Series sophomore driver Ryan Preece (6NY) making laps at New Smyrna Speedway.

Being from the Pacific Northwest, modified racing isn’t really a thing. Correction, being on the West Coast, modified racing isn’t really a thing.

Super late model racing is with the likes of Brittney Zamora and Derek Thorn to name a few. The latter in particular should’ve won the Snowball Derby if you asked me and even Kyle Busch gave him praise after competing against him last Thursday at the Bullring in Las Vegas.

See, there are some incredible West Coast racers out there. I’m glad a guy like Steven Blakesley has a newsletter that focuses on the area. I tweet about the ARCA West Series and just appreciate the untapped market.

Okay, where was I? Oh yeah, modified racing!

It’s big on the East Coast and when I found out who were going to be at New Smyrna, I was as excited about that because I’ve never taken photos of those cars.

More so when I found out Bubba Pollard, arguably the best short track racer in America, was making his debut in the modified category. Well, sadly that didn’t happened because an engine failure forced him to withdraw. Bummer!

Well, at least we had other big names like Matt Hirschman and Ryan Preece competing, so it’s all good.

Biggest mistake was not being aware how loud those MOFOs are and it messed up my left ear. Not good, but those cars were boss.

Too bad I only had one day to do stuff down there because of budget and logistics, but I damn sure made the most out of my time there. I’ve gained a whole new appreciation for those who drive it. Handful to drive those monsters I’d imagine.

I could put a check mark and be happy right? Yeah, but I feel like I got more new ventures to dive into before feeling confident putting a check mark.

Side note: Derek Griffith (2) is the real thing. Never in my life I’ve been impressed of seeing a driver compete for the first time in person like he did that Monday night at New Smyrna. Hopefully, he does get some sponsorship and competes for the whole ARCA Menards Series East campaign for Chad Bryant, a deal that literally came days before racing in Florida. Started on pole, dominated until pit miscues sent him back, but still finished second to Sam Mayer (21).

Promise No. 12: Explore Media Creativity (Budget Blues)

When you have bills and covering the races out of your own pocket, it can be hell deciding what’s important for my career as well as staying financially afloat all year long.

There’s this one cool job opening at Phoenix Raceway I really wanted to apply, but one biggest turn off was that I needed experience in animation and visual effects. The bane of my existence for that matter is visual effects because I don’t have a proper budget to get a software and learn how to conquer that side of media.

Now more than ever, I must start being super creative because I will dive into the job market once again this year, they’ll want that. If I can build months of experimenting visual effects, and actually be real good at it. Then it could open many doors.

Aside from visual effects, creating more authentic original videos! It’ll always going to be a goal of mine. In my eye, even doing couple photos is exploring a whole new venture. That would have to be local which will be tough, but it’s something I need to get used to.

Like a couple of my promises, options are open but the biggest thing is give visual effects a go soon and it’s really one of those “no time to waste” moments.

Once I have enough where on-assignments and bills don’t dictate the outcome, I’ll be ready for the hell it’ll bring but also a whole new world of modern day creativity.

Promise No. 13: Strengthening the Audience (Big Unknown)

Cleaning up my Twitter feed was totally necessary if I’m going to keep my sanity in place. The way how it is in the NASCAR world, I try to think about how to keep my platform and presence positive without being the next fiasco. Stuff like posting a scenic shot of Daytona with the dark clouds and sun peaks at golden hour is a prime example of establishing my brand.

I had to unfollow 170 people on Twitter because I’ve maxed out at 5,001.

It was necessary because in that time period I went away from social media, cleaning up my Twitter image was key and one of the easiest targets were those who were a part of the problem I’ve dealt since 2016.

Finally last Saturday, I took action on the way back from the ZZ Ward concert in Seattle and at home before going to bed at around 1:30 or 2:00 am last week.

Little did I knew that NASCAR Twitter would implode for the next few days. Other than saying one comment about a hack entity plagiarizing contents from Road & Track, NBC Sports and even dat gum Wikipedia, I’ve stayed out of the madness regarding that and other bat shit insanity of other subjects.

Meanwhile, INDYCAR and Formula One are the choir. Super mellow and pure sanity. Why can’t NASCAR be on the same page?

Beats me, but it’s weird AF seeing my timelines focusing on drama over racing stories like the actual Las Vegas Cup race which was pretty damn good except the ending.

Like Kurt Busch once said, focus on racing things when it comes to media coverage. On-track stuff. That’s what matters to me and it’s not going to change anytime soon.

As one person said it, people are watching. Whether I know it or not, they are despite just hitting 1,100 followers (still struggling staying at 970 followers on Instagram due to scammers and bots floundering around).

It’s all about the image and whatever other personal interests I have, keep it elsewhere. It is what it is, but I understood why it’s necessary.

Cleaning my Twitter was needed and it’s allowed me to follow some of my longtime supporters at long last.

Hope I can continue to strengthen my brand as well as Motorsports Tribune’s following throughout the year and gain new supporters. I’m grateful of those who’ve followed my journey and the best way to give back is by following them.

Promise No. 14: Establishing A Theme for Memoir (No Progress)

Let me tell you! It was a total pain in the ass timing my camera to shoot a photo of myself in Daytona Beach. Almost none of them turned out great whatsoever. Not my favorite photo, but it’ll do! If only it was sunny, the photo would’ve stood out more. Mother Nature is totally a drag!

I’ve been writing every single day since December 31, 2017 on three different journals about my life. Some will be included while others won’t, like days where nothing interesting happened or thoughts best be kept privately.

I said this year I’ll have a theme that would eventually lead to putting my journey into a memoir intended to give a glimpse of who I am and some of the stuff I’ve been through.

I don’t think there’s a memoir out there about a man living with Aspberger’s. To be fair, I haven’t thought about it nor researched if that’s true, but hopefully you get my thinking process.

I still want to change that and while I understand the perception may look different, the biggest goal is to give people and idea that people in the autism spectrum are different.

Time will ultimately tell what my memoir will heavily focus on, but writing on these journals and sharing a glimpse of my life every other month with my promises play a big role of who I am.

That’s all for now, may you guys have a wonderful day. Explore and appreciate what you have.

Until we meet again, doubt me if you insist, prove me wrong if I give consent

Published by Luis Torres

University of Idaho graduate that's currently pursuing the dream of becoming a motorsports media personnel.

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