Beside, Not Behind: The View from a Racer’s Wife

Written by Kendall Higday

“Beside, not behind” – a phrase I choose to live by.

I’m always asked if it’s “fun” being a driver’s fiance/wife. Don’t get me wrong, there’s fun moments quite often, but it’s also sacrifice. You sacrifice your every being and allow half of your heart to go into the uncontrollable on a racetrack with 20-25 other guys who love speed and being on the edge of out of control. We hold our breath when our driver wrecks and pray for nothing other than to see him walk away from the car and back into your arms. We spend several hours in a shop preparing for the next race. We don’t have normal dinners; we don’t have date nights.

We chase someone else’s dream first. We learn more about a race car than about our personal vehicles that we drive every day. We get down and dirty with the men. We put tear offs on, clean the car and trailer, cater to the every call out for help, and even occasionally turn wrenches. We stand beside our drivers, not behind. Over time, the dream that your fiance/husband chases becomes your dream, and a dream that you have together.

Racing demands faith, and a whole lot of it. Injury and death are a part of this sport, unfortunately. We never know if the kiss we give to send our driver out to the track for hot laps, a heat race, or the feature event is the last kiss we will ever get. You stand in the infield watching your favorite person maneuver through the field, praying that him and another driver don’t clip wheels. You pace back and forth, jump up and down, scream like a wild animal, and give your driver the best impression of a signal on the line they should run the next time going green.

You celebrate the victories and the top-five finishes, but you also share the moments in which the car didn’t handle right and you come home with a bad finish – and all your driver wants to do is sit in silence instead of participate in your typical windshield talk. But at the end of the day, you love your driver, and you would do anything to see them happy. So, yes. Being a “race wife” is fun, but it’s challenging – REALLY challenging. This is the life we chose, and this is the life we love.

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