Guest Author - Debbie Lester
It’s a wrap! The NASCAR season has run it’s final race for 2008. NASCAR has one of the shortest off seasons of any American sport. There are actually only two months out of the year that there are no NASCAR races, December and January. We finish up in November with the chase and start looking forward to the Daytona 500 in February.
The three NASCAR winners for this season have some things in common. They have worked hard to get where they are and have accomplished many things along the way. You don’t just become a NASCAR star overnight. There are building blocks to get you where you need to be to see a career as a NASCAR racer.
First of all, congratulations to Jimmie Johnson 2008 Sprint Cup series champion. Jimmie has succeeded where many have failed. He is a three time consecutive winner. His driving skills are the envy of many. His race team is one of the best in the business. But, Jimmie wasn’t always a star. He started out with a family that made racing their life. He raced motorcycles, trucks, off road, you name it. Jimmie won many awards and accolades including becoming the first rookie to ever lead the points standings in 2002. His road to becoming a champion began when he was only eight years old.
Clint Bowyer became the new Nationwide Series winner. Bowyer started out racing dirt bikes in the Midwest. He switched from 2 wheels where he had huge success to 4 wheels when he was 16. Clint Bowyer has over 250 wins in his career. They were the stepping stones that brought him to where he is today. Not only was he the Nationwide winner but he came in 5th place in the Sprint Cup Series. He has been doing double duty with both series’ and is well on his way to becoming a NASCAR star. His road to becoming a champion began when he was only five years old.
Johnny Benson became the 2008 Craftsmen Truck Series Champ. But racing was already in Benson’s blood. Johnny’s father raced before he was born up until he retired in 1981 to pave the way for his son. Benson started out racing dirt track as many drivers do. During his career he was named rookie of the year in three different types of racing. He won that honor in the ASA series in 1990, the Busch series in 1994, and the Cup series in 1996. Benson was Busch series champion in 1995. He won his first NASCAR cup series victory in Rockingham in 2002. His road to becoming a champion began when he was 19 years old.
Three champions, all with similar beginnings. Each had a NASCAR family. They either raced themselves or made sure that their children were involved. They started out on dirt tracks, sometimes with motorcycles or dirt bikes. They worked their way up threw the different types of series‘. They accomplished many things and won many victories. All with the clear goal of what they wanted. Where they wanted to go and what they wanted to be, a NASCAR champion.
Today they have reached that goal. It’s time to set the bar even higher. What will we see from these drivers next season, who knows… A fourth consecutive championship, a repeat Nationwide winner, or perhaps a move to the Sprint Cup series. Time will tell.