By on June 28, 2012

I remember sitting on the pitlane wall at VIR in November of 2009, head in my hands, absolutely freaking out. In my Koni Challenge debut, I’d run about two seconds a lap behind my teammates Randy Pobst and 2008 series champion Jamie Holtom. The data said the difference was entirely confined to Turns 9 and 10, but no matter what I tried in those turns to fix the gap, it wasn’t good enough. I’d been pushed off the Climbing Esses by a GS-class Porsche 911, I’d struggled with brakes that were so bad Holtom refused to drive the car after me for more than two laps without a rotor change, and I had the distinct feeling that I’d let my team, Grand-Am champions Compass360, completely down.

There was a hand on my shoulder, and I turned to see a face I knew well — Kevin York. In addition to providing some of the inspiration for Garth Stein’s The Art Of Racing In The Rain, York had won more Grand-Am races than I was likely to ever enter. I’d watched him on TV a dozen times or more, making daring maneuvers at Mosport, losing a wheel at 130+ mph at Mid-Ohio. “Take a breath,” the man said. “You survived. You did okay.” Three laps later, Holtom blew the engine in our car and that was the end of the day for my professional podium ambitions.

Today, Kevin’s son Evan is making a name for himself in multiple levels of motorsport. This photo, which recently appeared on the YORK Motorsport Facebook page, shows the old man coaching his mercurial, talented son. Although Father’s Day is long past, my first thought when I saw the photo was: I hope I can be as dedicated a father to my son as this man has been to his. Watch for Evan York in the Legends of Dirt series and elsewhere!

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10 Comments on “What’s Right With This Picture: A Father’s Advice...”

  • avatar

    Running two seconds a lap behind Randy Pobst isn’t all that embarrassing.

  • avatar

    Being a father is the most challenging, most difficult thing I have ever done. I started late and, like you, I’m relatively new at the job (my kids are still in the early years of elementary school).

    The things I try to do are to always be willing to learn, always be willing to admit that I made a mistake (and to apologize when I do), always try to put my kids’ interests ahead of my own (which is a lot harder than it sounds, because a lot of what we think we’re doing for our kids is often really about us), and always, always be happy to see them (which I must admit I always genuinely am, at least to this point in our lives).

    I never saw myself as a father. In fact, I didn’t actually have kids until after I turned 40 (which is when I finally ended up ‘settling down’), and it truly is one of the hardest things I have ever taken on (the sense of responsibility more than anything else), but I honestly wouldn’t trade it for anything. Anything.

  • avatar

    “I hope I can be as dedicated a father to my son as this man has been to his.”

    You’ve just taken the first step towards doing so.

  • avatar
    Athos Nobile

    “I hope I can be as dedicated a father to my son as this man has been to his”

    You’re not alone on that aim.

  • avatar

    Fatherhood; someone’s gotta do it. It just sure as hell won’t be me.

  • avatar

    My 10YO daughter just acted in the stage adaptation of The Art of Racing in the Rain. Garth Stein set up some hot laps at SIR (sorry, Pacific Raceways) for the cast. For some reason driving home in my Accord was not the same for her as going however fast she went around the track in Don Kitch’s M3. My role as a father was driving her down there midday and signing the release. Often your role is secondary to the situation but critical nonetheless.

  • avatar

    I have daughters, 2 of them, my oldest – damn proud of her, just graduated with honors at highschool and accepted in a fine university. I could not have asked for more, she exceeded my expections and is going to be tops in field.
    The other – well, I have hope……..

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