It all comes down to these four; Jimmie Johnson, Carl Edwards, Kyle Busch, and Joey Logano. This Sunday these four NASCAR superstars will look to take home the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship. Kyle won it last year and will look to make it two in a row. If Jimmie Johnson wins he will tie Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt Sr. with the record for most titles by a driver. Logano and Edwards are looking for their first title.
So as you can see each driver brings their own unique story to the race on Sunday. Of those drivers three of them share the title of dad. Jimmie, Carl, and Kyle are fathers. During yesterday’s press conference I was able to ask those three a few questions on fatherhood.
If you have seen Jimmie Johnson celebrate a win with his crew and team you will notice his wife and daughters are with him celebrating as well. For me as a father I could only imagine how rewarding it would be to share something so tremendous like a NASCAR Championship with my wife and daughters. This is what Johnson told me when I asked him what it means to him to have his daughters celebrate with him on victory lane.
“Obviously the sport takes a lot out of us. Families have to sacrifice a lot to support us. My kids are at an age right now where they somewhat understand what dad does. It makes it all more enjoyable. To share those moments of success is a nice way to enjoy that moment as a family as a reward to all that goes into it. At the same time those little eyes and ears are paying attention. In the tough times I have been asked the question, ‘Daddy why are you so mad? You didn’t handle that very well did you dad?’ (Laughs) So it goes both ways. It is a fun experience to have with your family. They sacrifice so much to let me do what I love. I do cherish those moments that I have with them.”
What a great answer from Jimmie. He sees both sides of the coin and knows he might have to explain his actions to his kids when they question why he might have done something after a race. If you are interested in learning more about his thoughts on fatherhood you can read an interview I did with him a few years back in the My Life of Dad series.
After Johnson answered that question fellow dad Kyle Busch chimed in by saying to Jimmie, “I don’t think your YouTube channel is nearly as entertaining as mine.”
Jimmie responds to him by saying, “You will have a lot of explaining to do.”
All four drivers laughed at Jimmie’s response. For those who might not know what they were joking about let me explain. There have been a few videos out on the internet that show Kyle not displaying the best attitude in past races. Those videos tend to go viral. Busch has a son that is almost two years old. So when his son gets older he might have to explain to his son why he acted that way in the past.
In a breakout session with each driver I asked Kyle about that and if being a dad makes him look at his career in a different way. Here is what Kyle had to say.
I said to him that those are teachable moments and he said, “Definitely teachable moments. That is right. Take the positive out of that. I like that.”
As parents we all have done or said something that wasn’t positive in front of our kids. Still we can use our mistakes and turn them into teachable moments. That is what Kyle might have to do if his son ever stumbles upon one of those viral videos.
What about dad fashion? It seems that there is a war on cargo shorts. For some dads cargo shorts are a staple in their wardrobe. Fashion faux pas can even happen to NASCAR superstars like Carl Edwards. In Carl’s breakout session I asked him about how his wife describes his fashion sense as “OMS,” which stands for “Old Man Stuff.”
Carl said, “It is the stuff I do noted by people close to me.”
I responded to Carl that as a sneakerhead I see that he is trying to upgrade his shoe game. He then responded by saying, “Those (Vans) are the only stylish sneakers that I have. Brad Womble, my buddy gave them to me eight years ago. It has taken me that long to wear them because I thought they were a bit flashy. I put them on the other day and my wife was like, ‘Whoa. What is going on?’ She calls me OMS. If I can’t sleep I get up and mow the grass before dawn. I watch TV with closed captioning. Wear waterproof shoes just in case.”
It goes to show you that even top athletes struggle with dad fashion.
As you are watching Sunday’s race and see Edwards, Johnson, Busch and Logano go at it to see who will be the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion remember that these guys are just like us for the most part. We don’t get to drive fast cars and ridiculous speeds, but like them we all have to mindful of how we act in front of our kids and try to be the best father we can be for our kids. On the fashion side of things I think we dads can all relate to Edwards with that “Old Man Stuff” style.