As someone who has surrounded themselves with the beauty and magic of auto racing for their entire life, I know firsthand that it is more than just a sport. Racing is also about its competitors, who are the ones that bring this sport to life.
Race car drivers are more than just athletes, however. Sometimes, the men and women you see behind the wheel racing to be the best of the best have everyday challenges and obstacles that many people think would stop these drivers from pursuing their dream.
Today, I would like to highlight two drivers in particular.
This past weekend, for those of you who watched the NASCAR Nationwide Series event at Richmond, you were introduced to a young driver making his series debut driving for Roush Fenway Racing: Ryan Reed. While he had the extraordinary opportunity to drive in such an elite series, much less for one of NASCAR’s elite teams, something about Reed set him apart from the other thirty-nine racers that he competed against. And that something is this: type I diabetes.
While Reed is truly an inspiration to NASCAR, this was not the first time I had seen a driver race with diabetes. For those of you who watch the IndyCar Series on a regular basis, driver Charlie Kimball also suffers from type I diabetes.
Both Reed and Kimball are competitive in their respective forms of racing, but it is not easy for either one of them to be. Racing to win is one thing, but for these two, ensuring that they have the proper levels of insulin and making sure that their blood sugar is in check is just as crucial. For anyone diagnosed with diabetes, failure to do so can be deadly. But, thanks to improved technology that makes it possible for blood sugar monitors and other necessary tools to be installed in the race car, diabetes no longer has to be a hindrance for anyone chasing the dream.
It is my hope that these two drivers, who have become the most well-known names in auto racing diagnosed with diabetes, will inspire any future race car drivers who are in a similar situation to pursue their dream and do what they love to do. And seeing drivers like this tackle everyday challenges such as this is proof that this sport truly does have some of the toughest athletes in all of sports.
As always, I am looking forward to seeing what unfolds for both Reed and Kimball this season. I am willing to bet that great things will happen for both of them!