A Mother’s Influence in Racing

When OSCAAR Modified competitor Dan Price decided to go racing, he went to a wrecking yard and gave them a small deposit for a 1985 Monte Carlo, with plans to pick it up a couple days later.

Shortly after, he gets a phone call from them saying they had bad news, and accidently sent his car to the crusher. To make up for their wrong doing, they offered to sell him another vehicle or give him his money back.

“I head over there a bit upset because I’d picked that one for a reason – it was the best car in the place being rust free,” Price recalled. “When I get there, it’s sitting right out front with balloons flying from it and a card on it from my mom. She’d paid for it and set this whole prank up for my birthday.”

Price’s story of his mother influence on his racing career is one of many that you hear being told by competitors throughout the pits on a weekly basis.

Many drivers can recall how their mom has always been there, including OSCAAR Modifed rookie Wally Wilson.

“My mother has always been one of my biggest supporters,” Wilson said. “She’s not one to get her hands dirty with the car, but she’ll be the first to tell us if she sees something she doesn’t like! She’s been to almost every single race I’ve been a part of in my 11 previous years racing.”

Going through those 11 years, he admits it is hard to pick a single moment that stands out, but notes the importance of her being there for his first ever OSCAAR Midget heat victory last year at Sauble Speedway.

“I came off the track and she was the first one to greet me once I stopped at the trailer,” he recalled. “I barely even go out of the car before I was getting hugged and hearing, ‘I’m so proud of you’.”

Through the years, he has received plenty of advice from his mom, stating the most common words that he hears is “don’t be an idiot.”

Keeping words of wisdom short and sweet seems to be common in the pits, too, as OSCAAR Modified competitor AJ Emms says the biggest advice he hears each week – “stop working on the car and eat.”

“I’ve been very fortunate to have two moms between my Mom and Step Mom,” Emms said. “Both have been a big huge part of getting me where I am today in racing and in life. Through their support at the track and at home they help on all levels.”

Through his career, the most memorable moment of their involvement came last season at the Autumn Colours Classic, as both his mom Laury and step-mom Jayne were in victory lane with him.

“We were not only fortunate to have won the race but also have to both of them in Victory Lane meant a lot,” he stated.

Beyond the competitors in the series, a mother’s influence has played a very vital role.

OSCAAR President Dave Gainforth has been attending races his entire life, beginning with his dad crewing for local competitor Danny Reid while he was growing up.

“It was my mom’s job to make sure the car was packed, that supper was on the table and we were on the way to the races on time,” Gainforth said. “Mom still likes to say that she use to take me to Riverview Speedway in Trenton wrapped in a babies blanket from the age of six months old, so I guess you can say it was in my blood from the start.

“Back in the 70’s, women and kids were not allowed in the pits so she had the chore of looking after us in the stands, and it was not just one night a week; it could have been Friday and Saturdays and some Sundays spent at the track.”

Through the years, he admits they made plenty of memories going to different tracks, including Daytona International Speedway, Bristol Motor Speedway and other short tracks in the United States.

“As a family we really didn’t take what you would call normal family holidays; they were always based on going to races someplace,” Gainforth said. “My Mom loves antique shopping and is an avid quilter so I would also map out places to stop that I knew she would enjoy, cause I knew that night she would be at the races beside me in the stands.

“There was one night that really stands out, we were at a dirt track in Ohio and it rained, but they didn’t cancel and racing didn’t start till 1:00am and ended at 4:00am and my mom and dad sat there right beside me and enjoyed the races.”

Throughout his years running OSCAAR, his mom has always had his back, telling him she’s proud of the job he is doing.

“There has been times she has seen drivers get a little upset with me at the track as they voice their concerns, but at the end of the night that hug from your mom always made things seem that much better,” he said. “Yes I will proudly admit I am a mother’s boy…”

She also kept her advice to him simple, telling him to be proud of whatever he did, do the best job possible, and know that she was always there if needed him.

“I really do feel blessed for all the great memories that I have has a family at the races,” Gainforth said. “My mom is fighting the early stages of dementia right now, and it is an awful disease, and it has robbed her of some of her memories, but she still has those racing memories that we get to share over and over again, and that is something that I will always cherish.

“I want to wish my mom a very Happy Mother’s Day, and look forward to getting her out to the track this summer to make some new memories.”

To all the mothers out there – be sure to take some time and enjoy today as you’ve earned it. So Happy Mother’s Day, and look forward to seeing you at the track this season.

By: Ashley McCubbin

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