Well, there’s a new Pro Mod driver entering NHRA Pro Mod. And its a “she”…. Diana Harker is the newest Pro modified pilot of a 69 Blown Camaro. I should be happy for her, right? I mean, I should be happy for any woman that gets the chance to live that dream. I should be happy that she’s out there competing against the men and helping open doors for other women. I should, and I AM happy for her. But part of me just sits back and wonders WTF?
I know that envy is an ugly characteristic, and I try and keep it in check. I love rootin’ for all the women in the sport, and I look up to many of them for what they have accomplished… and what I hope to someday be able to accomplish myself. They are often a source of inspiration and hope. But as of lately, I’d have to shamefully admit that I’ve had my fair share of jealous resentment inside me recently. As if self-pity can get any more pathetic, right? But seriously, why me?
Maybe the better question is “Why NOT me?” I have kept my head down and my nose to the proverbial grindstone for 10 years. I have had little to no resources available, so I make the best with what little I have and make huge sacrifices in my life to try and get the chance to make my dream a reality. I work hard, I do my own work whenever I can, I try and learn every chance I get, I self market, I travel the country by myself because ultimately, I’d do whatever it took to get the chance to chase this dream. And so far… I’m proud to say that its gotten me as far as I have come on a non-existent budget, and with little other support.But I also know that I’m at the limit of my abilities in terms of “do-it-yourself”. I’m at the limit of where cutting corners and minimal budgets are even an option. And what I’m realizing is that its not impressive, its not ambitious, its not even proven determination taking these approaches anymore…. its risky and downright dangerous.
I know that I can’t cut corners at 200+mph, because those corners don’t just mean parts carnage anymore. They could be fatal. I know that I am at a plateau in terms of performance and how far my shallow pockets can carry me. I know that without some outside help, I cannot advance any further alone.Which is why lately its been so hard not to feel jealous over the Diana Harkers or Erica Enders of the world. They’re born into racing families, they are bred and primed to get only the best opportunities. And I’m sure they are talented drivers, I want to take nothing away from them. But what exactly am I doing wrong?I started at the bottom… I didn’t have parents to guide my interest or teach me the ropes. My parents knew nothing of anything automotive. I read magazines to learn about cars, I practiced racing my daily driver, I wasn’t content just “driving”. I wanted to know the hows, the whys, what made things tick and what made things happen. I worked at a shop, spent nights learning the mechanics and days learning the business. I surrounded my life with everything racing and built it up from a daily driver all the way to a fledgling Pro Mod. I live and breath everything that is drag racing… so why not me?I can drive. I can build an engine. I can work on the car. I can tune the computer. I can drive the hauler. I can market and promote. I can sell. I can represent. But I can’t get the support it will take to make my dreams come true….
Its just very overwhelming. So its hard not to feel a little green with envy at those who have an entire team at their disposal… who don’t have to worry about how they are going to afford the fuel to haul to a race, how they’re going to make it to a race 24 hours away with no vacation time, or what will happen if the unstable crank in their engine lets loose because they can’t afford the one that’s required.
I just wish for once I had that chance….