While on-track success is one of the biggest keys in motorsports, sometimes the precence created away from the actual competition can do even bigger things. Meet Taylor Thring. Although she strives to do well, she is making a bigger difference in the community, and really the world in general, in spreading awareness about bullying through her #burnoutthebully campaign.
According to StopBullying,gov, one in four students in school are bullied, either physically or mentally. While some may see it as a game, the effects of this go deeper than one may realize, resulting in mental effects to the target that can affect self-esteem and sometimes even result in suicide. For me, personally, it’s something that I dealt with for years in school and affected me in many ways personally so I can understand the importance of where this is coming from. Do yourself a favor and if you’re a bully, stop now because you don’t realize what you’re doing.
Recently, I caught up with Taylor to get the low down on her campaign, as well as touching based on the competitive side of racing.
SHORT TRACK MUSINGS: How did you come up with #burnoutthebully?
TAYLOR THRING: I came up with #burnouthebully after I was bullied out of school in the 12th grade. I had experienced some traumatic things and after bringing myself back to health; I decided I wanted to make a difference and try to help the people who are struggling dealing with bullying just like I did. I wanted to use my platform that was giving to me to be the voice so many kids are looking for.
STM: What does it mean for you to have the support you’ve seen in just the first year of it, from fellow competitors to fans?
TT: The support I received last season was exceptional. I will forever be grateful for the support of my fellow drivers, race fans, and the track owners that let me make a difference. It is crazy to think that this time last year, I wasn’t attending school, I wasn’t working and I didn’t plan on racing either. Although a couple months pass my mind set changed and I am so proud of everything we accomplished in 2017. I am really excited to see what 2018 will bring, already we have so many things planned. On behalf of myself and everyone at the ROCK, thank you for donating to the PIF campaign, you sent kids struggling with mental health to therapy. We are making a difference.
STM: To someone who may be dealing with bullying right now, what is your advice to them?
TT: Try to ignore the negative. Whether that be people, comments or opinion, don’t listen. Love yourself for who you are and don’t change for anyone. The people who are true to you will accept you for you, which in turn goes with surrounding yourself with the right people. Hang around those who see the greatness in you even when you don’t see it within yourself. Also try and have a positive mindset. What you feed your mind with, will shape you.
Lastly, do not be a bystander. Stick up for those who are struggling, because you are aware of how it feels to have no one. They need someone just like you did. Remember it is good to open up and talk about your problems. Search for help when you feel unsafe and be open with your parents about what is going on. They love you and will support you more than anyone else.
STM: How can people get involved with #Burnoutthebully?
TT: If you want to get involved and help me put an end to bullying, you can follow all my social media pages to get in touch with me. Then in the new year, you can purchase all 2018 #Burnoutthebully apparel on our new online store! Stickers will still be sold personally by me as well as online. We have three new sticker sizes for 2018, new t shirt design and more. Once you receive your swag, you are encouraged to hashtag #Burnoutthebully and post a picture of your merchandise on your socials to create awareness and take over the internet with a positive light on such a negative and damaging topic.
STM: Now moving away from the campaign, you got to race some difference tracks in 2017. What are your thoughts reflecting back on the season?
TT: The past season for me as a driver was very frustrating. I started off the year very strong with two consecutive top ten finishes, then our third night out was the start of our long string of bad luck. Being wrecked after two good finishes hurt a lot, my car and my confidence. Flamboro is a track I just couldn’t find luck at.
With that, we did decide to go on the #thringmotorsportsontheroadtour which brought us to Sauble’s Beat the Heat weekend and Sunset’s Fan Appreciation Night. I had a lot of fun making my 2017 debut at both tracks. Sauble was a smooth and fast track, flat like Flamboro so I was in my comfort zone. The Beat the Heat weekend is an event that doesn’t disappoint! The racing in all divisions was great. We put on a very good show for the fans. At Sunset, I attending the Meet the Drivers night. I always say how Sunset is my favourite track to drive on, I love the banking and the room you have there as well. I love the atmosphere with my competitors and fans as well. I am now excited and focused on 2018.
STM: What is your most memorable moment from 2017?
TT: Although I did have a decent season in the car, with some amazing memories at different tracks, my most memorable moment would have to be at Flamboro, a night after I wrecked. I cut a left rear tire after the second feature. I was upset because I was running decent, I decided to go over fan side and meet some of the fans. One girl had ordered one of my shirts, she had the sticker and asked for me to sign it. The mother told me her older sister’s best friend had taken her life because of bullying and that her daughters really admire what I’m doing. It is experiences like this that make me continue to strive to make #BurnOutTheBully that much better. I do this for people like them. I went home and cried for a while, I do not take my platform that I was giving lightly, I am working hard for you.
STM: What are your plans for 2018?
TT: In 2018, we are moving home tracks to Sunset Speedway. As of right now it is only in budget for us to run 9 of the 18 scheduled nights. If we do not receive funding to run the whole year we do have our tentative schedule figured out as we will be running Spring velocity, Beat the Heat, Velocity 250, Frostoberfest and ACC. I am looking forward to seeing what our plans will turn out like in 2018!
STM: What are you goals and expectations for the upcoming year?
TT: This year I am really excited about our move to Sunset Speedway. After 11 years hauling to Flamboro every weekend I am looking forward to a positive change. I have two goals for 2018. One being able to receive funding/sponsorships to be able to complete goal number two which is competing and receiving rookie of the year in the mini stock division.
STM: I know you are looking for additional marketing partners. If you could give them a quick pitch for someone to sponsor you, what would you tell them?
TT: I am a brand that has commercial value. On and off track, I can bring your company positive PR with my social media skills and my great off track personality. With my crazy exciting up and coming 2018 season, your business name will be mentioned in News articles, weekly weekly social media posts, radio and tv interviews, photos and your logo will be seen on track to hundreds of race fans across Ontario every Saturday night. We as a team plan to increase your brand awareness, along with that we increase your reach and expose you to new clients weekly to benefit your company. I will not disappoint!
STM: What does it mean to you to be an inspiration to other young girls out there?
TT: I do not take my platform for granted at all. I am honoured to be able to inspire young girls to be the best women they can be. Being a role model can be tough, because you do not want to show your audience the tough, you want to always be positive. Although I believe showing both makes you real and more relatable. I show my hardships so young girls and boys, know it’s okay to not be okay. I work very hard every day so that I can continue to make a difference and to be a positive influence. Wake up, work hard, and never give up on your day dream. You can achieve anything you put your mind too.