“The fire still burns, but not enough for the stakes.” – Steve Young
A quote that’s lingered my mind, body and soul over the past six weeks. It resonates to me more than any quote because it’s timely applicable. Specifically, trying to make a career in covering motorsports and actually see income since 2018.
San Francisco 49ers legend Steve Young said this very quote 23 years ago when he bid farewell to the NFL. He left when the passion for football remained, but deep inside, he knew it was time to call it a career.
For me, I’m on a similar boat in this lifelong pursuit of continually being involved in racing media.
If I had it my way, I’d be a part of an photo agency, race team or paid outlet where I can find stories to write or create magic behind the lens.
Leading to my consistent question while at the track since the pandemic unfolded: I love racing, but does racing love me back?
I don’t think so.
For the first time in my career, I was thrilled to leave a track and head back home after a disappointing Month of May at Indianapolis.
I didn’t say my mantra, “it’s been real” because it just wasn’t a good weekend. Once I landed back in Washington, I immediately began “the grind” of covering baseball, basketball and some photography events nearly nonstop.
No signs of the post-travel blues like I normally have when my on-assignment duties are done. Just contentment of what I’m doing right now in the Pacific Northwest.
I’ve had more joy in playing the piano, memorizing the sounds of some notes of my favorite acts and escape. It’s my therapeutic mechanism when I’m not busy.
Signs are there that I’m not in love with racing for the first time in my life. It’s okay.
Throughout May, I couldn’t put my finger as to why Indy didn’t hit different like in 2021. Admittedly, it distracted me.
It’s like reconnecting with the person you liked for years, but never admitted your feelings towards. Once you’ve reconnected with the person you previously liked, the spark is gone. My love for racing is fading away.
This led to the common question from a close friend of mine, who noticed my attitude being a lot better than last year.
I’ve been told how much happier I’ve been since exclusively pursuing photography as a profit and other production ventures. My response to the question was both flattering and complicated.
Is it because chasing cars went from having the mindset where “I must prove something” or as Kimi Raikkonen saw his driving career, “just a hobby?”
Following an emotionally bitter Indy 500 experience, I had to think if this dream should die and treat it as a hobby. Focus on building my name in the Pacific Northwest and see myself doing sports production for the next 5-10 years.
To be honest with you, whoever ends up reading this, I’m okay with my fate.
Several factors have contributed to ultimately losing my love for racing. It’s been withering over the last 15 months and the Month of May was my breaking point.
I’m more happy with my other roles because I can focus on doing what I love, grow as a human being, grow as a cameraman, and earn money.
Damn sure ain’t earning extra income on YouTube or in donations anytime soon.
In this 15-month span, I’ve realized that no matter how hard I work in my craft, no matter how many awards I’ve won, no matter how happy I am at the track — it’s gotten me nowhere.
What do I mean by nowhere? You’ve covered 3.1 Daytona 500s, two Indy 500s, races at Long Beach, the Clash in LA, multiple NASCAR and INDYCAR championship finales! That’s not nowhere!
Look, I turn 29 in October and I can no longer be passionate in doing something where I don’t see a return on investment. Maybe Luis from 2019 would gladly do it and bury himself into a deep hole, but not for Luis in 2023.
Zero tolerance on dealing with other people’s smitten attitudes and remarks. There’s a fine line where being questioned gets overzealous.
If people knew the sacrifices I’ve made and how many relationships I’ve destroyed due to my ambitious dreams, you’d understand. I won’t go into details about it because such harrowing memories are uninvited in this entry.
Paramount over everything else, I haven’t felt like I’ve made progress in my racing media career for awhile.
Maybe there’s a reason why I’m still in Washington. Not because I’m not good enough, but what I bring to the table and shine are valued here.
I don’t think I’ve shined in racing media since Sonoma 2022. Damn sure wasn’t during this year’s Indy 500 because a lot of true colors were shown and to be blunt, some folks see me as a has-been or a never was.
So be it, I have other people that still see my potential and I no longer want to waste energy on those who I can clearly tell they don’t want me to thrive.
The toxicity I felt was real and I can’t blame some folks losing their love of covering racing altogether or a specific discipline. These are folks that amounted into something worth a damn in this business!
That said, I’ve had my run and only have one major goal left: Have my works (writing and/or photography) published in a physical magazine or race program.
Simple yet excruciating goal and then I can leave with honor and pride, but if it never happens, I guess it was never meant to be.
Right now, covering sporting events across Everett and Seattle is my passion. Mind you, this career path has been something I’ve also worked hard to break through and it’s slowly paying off.
If you would’ve told me I would be covering March Madness and the Stanley Cup Playoffs last year, I would’ve been pessimistic and say, ‘Impossible! Absolute pipedream!’
Even though I got bulldozed by a Louisville player while focusing on capturing Caitlin Clark’s layup, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Sorry, I’m still waiting for my footage of the incident to be sent.
My priorities have changed because I see the writing on the wall. Change of heart or the ultimate career opportunity could help, but I must focus on my goals.
I intend on finishing out the 2023 racing season and try to do around 2-4 more races. But going into 2024, zero clue if I see myself making a commitment for another season.
I have to think about life after racing and see if I can ever be a family man. Okay, the latter requires me finding someone first. Consistent income is crucial these days and so is the love of what I want to do.
The fire of being a media pundit in racing is there, but maybe it’s not enough for the stakes I’m currently tackling.