The past few weeks have been emotionally difficult for me and my family to say the least. You might have heard that I was recently arrested by local police and subsequently suspended by ARCA. I have been overwhelmed by the support of fellow classmates, teachers, and others who have reached out to me following an incident with a fellow student at my high school.
I am happy to report that ARCA has dropped its suspension after my lawyer provided the State’s Attorney with sworn statements from eye witnesses. Following review of this information and its own investigation including review of medical records the State reduced the charge to a misdemeanor.
Before I get back to racing, I think it is important to explain what happened that led local police officers to take me into custody. The facts are that me and my classmates have been engaged in a silly and admittedly immature game commonly played at the school between boys and involves hitting each other in the groin area. This has been going on since we were in the 9th grade. The other student “got me” and then I got him back. I want to be very clear that nobody was trying to seriously injure anyone in the game and I am relieved to know that the other student has recovered.
As I look forward to my high school graduation, I am fortunate to have a career in auto-racing. Racing is a sport dependent on good judgment and character and I want to be seen as a positive role model in every walk of life. The great John Wooden said, “Winning takes talent; to repeat takes character.” In my view, winning without character is worthless. My aim is to always be a leader on and off the track.
For example, I am committed to raising awareness about suicide prevention and carry the “Race to Stop Suicide” message on my race car at every race I enter.
While we are on the topic, suicide is not inevitable for anyone. By starting the conversation, providing support, and directing help to those who need it, we can prevent suicides and save lives. If you’re thinking about suicide, are worried about a friend or loved one, or would like emotional support, the Lifeline network is available 24/7 across the United States at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
I am grateful to be able to pursue my ambition as a professional race car driver and will do everything in my power to rise above this incident and continue to be a positive example to others. That continues this weekend at Kansas Speedway.
Let’s go racing.