So, we are halfway into our 2017 racing season. If you follow Mason Ludwig Racing at all, you will see that our team is struggling right now on the track. That's OK though. Do you know why? It's OK because the struggle is forcing our little 4 person crew (dad, mom and 2 young men) to learn the setup and adjustments of our racecar. Our 14 year old driver and his twin brother are down in the shop right now as I type this wrenching on the race car alongside their crew chief (dad). Mason is adding to his skill as a driver and Trenton is learning mechanical skills. They are learning what each and every adjustment does and why and in which situations they will be needed. And eventually, (my guess is by the end of the season) Mason will have a very good grasp on the adjustments and be able to make the setup decisions on his car. He's truly working on becoming the whole package as a driver. Of course it’d be nice to have more bodies and brains on our crew but the reality is that we are a 1st generation race team. Most of our friends and family simply don't have the knowledge to contribute and help eliminate our struggle. And again, that's OK. Why is it ok? It’s OK because we are proud of what we have accomplished so far on our own and with guidance from our fellow competitors and experienced friends at the track. We must be doing something right when fellow drivers that we don’t really even know are willing to give us advice. We are making connections through this process. If we were running at the top every night, these connections wouldn’t be made. So for that, we are thankful and we will continue to hold our heads high.
Monday, January 2, 2017
Here we are sitting on the outskirts of the 2017 racing season. This will be Mason’s 8th season startup with 2010-2013 in karts, 2014 in a Bandolero and 2015-2016 in a Legends race car. This sport definitely keeps us on our toes. We are doing everything we can to keep Mason moving forward in his racing career. Just like in 2014, he is currently in limbo. Toward the end of last season, Mason was in an accident that wrecked his Legends race car. Putting money into fixing the car was a decision we chose not to make. We will instead, be looking at moving Mason into a late model series. Where and how is still yet to be determined. Currently we are researching all the possible avenues and working on building valuable relationships with businesses that would profit from a partnership with our team.
None of this is easy. The countless hours of time and energy nor astonishing amounts of money we sink into Mason’s racing compare to the emotional devotion we have invested into making our son’s dreams come true. We hear it all the time. “You’re crazy!”. To us, it’s not crazy. Crazy to us are parents not willing to put time or effort into their children’s futures. It just so happens that the path Mason chose isn’t easy and it isn’t cheap. So does that mean we should tell him he can’t do it? I know for a fact that many parents would, but that’s not us. We see the talent in our son and we are devoted to his racing career. We use it to strengthen our family dynamics. We work together as a team and rely on each other for support.
Throughout the past 7 years, we’ve done some amazing things and some extreme things. We’ve cheered and cried tears of joy. We’ve been crushed and cried tears of sorrow. I’m not going to lie, there have been times, even quite recently, that I’ve thought about throwing in the towel. Our lives would be so much easier if we didn’t have this one (huge) thing on our plate. But, Mason is 14 now and this is a very critical point in his career. If he is going to succeed, we have to keep working and keep pushing forward. Drivers his age are being sought out for the future of the sport. If a driver isn’t making a name for him/herself even before they are of legal driving age, they are already behind the eight ball, as they say.
What most people don’t understand is that being a good race car driver isn’t all about winning races. There are loads of great racecar drivers out there that will never get a shot at their dreams. The reality is that money controls that sport of auto racing. However, this doesn’t mean that if a driver has a lot of money, he/she is guaranteed a racing seat either. Eventually, the money will run out. More importantly, is to get people to recognize the driver and know the driver’s name and what he/she is all about. Because, that is what potential racing partners (sponsors) want in a spokesperson. They want someone that others recognize and can relate with to sell their product and be the face of their brand.
Mason is entered into the 2017 Search for a Champion contest and sure, we’d love to win the sponsorship. However, if that doesn’t happen, this is also a great means to spread the word and promote him and his ongoing racing career.
Please plan to vote for him every single day from Jan. 5th – Feb. 2nd in the first round. Hopefully he’ll make it to the second round and we will once again, need your vote every single day from Feb. 23rd – March 23rd.
Wednesday, July 30, 2014
It’s been quite some time since I last posted to this blog. Things have changed quite a bit for Mason’s racing program. We are very proud at the accomplishments he has made so far during his short racing career. Back in 2011 when Mason started racing at the age of 7, he set a goal of one day racing a Legend car. After our 2013 karting season, we decided it was time for a change due to many changes that were taking place in the karting industry. We checked into a couple different paths. At that point I started doing research on the Legends so we could pursue the necessary paths to make that happen. Inex (sanctioning body of US Legends) rules has an age limit of 14, therefore, we would have a couple more years yet before he could compete. Ultimately we chose the path of a Bandolero which is also sanctioned by Inex. Spartan Speedway in Mason, MI is the only race track in Michigan that has a Bandolero program. 2014 is the first year for this program. He was the first ever Bandolero driver on the track and the first ever winner of a Bandolero race at the track. Mason has shown great racing skills this season and is currently sitting 1st in points for the 2014 season championship.
Our original intentions for this season were to race the Bandolero and race a few kart races locally. Mason has competed in every Bandolero race to date and competed in a kart race at Owosso Speedway on May 24, 2014. We were excited to get back to doing some kart racing but that thrill quickly faded after Mason was punted off the track by another racer during practice. Mason struggled through the races and was beat around pretty good but kept on going. Due to his persistence, he ultimately ended up with a 4th place finish. Mason has decided that his karting days are going to be few and far between from here on out.
While speaking with the track owner of Spartan Speedway, Jim Leasure, about our plans for the 2015 season, he suggested we should check into getting Mason into a Legend. We questioned him on the age requirement and he offered to contact Inex on Mason’s behalf and start the necessary paperwork to get him approved. We took Mason to the track to make a few hot laps in a Legend to see if it was something he even wanted to pursue. Within a couple of days after his test drive, and after sending Inex Mason’s resume along with a recommendation from Jim, Inex approved him to race a Legend car next season at the age of 12.
We have been very pleased and proud of the accomplishments Mason has made. In his short racing career, he has been asked by his competitors to drive for him and is constantly being commended on his smooth, consistent driving style and ultimately reached his goal of driving a Legend car. Well, almost! We have a lot of funds to raise and some karting equipment and personal items to sell in order to make a Legend car purchase.
Others are constantly questioning the amount of money and effort we put into Mason’s racing program. It’s something we enjoy to do as a family. Not only that but we see talent in our child and what kind of parents would we be if we didn’t showcase that talent and do everything in our power for him to help make his dreams come true? Some families have kids that enjoy bat and ball sports and they are good at it. Well, ours just so happens to drive a race car. If it means we have to drive our old vehicles for a few extra years and wear the same clothes and shoes a little while longer, so be it. There’s truly nothing we would rather be doing.
We love it when friends, family members and acquaintances have the opportunity to see Mason in action on the track. Rick and I understand that a lot of times when we are speaking about Mason, people assume we are talking him up because he is our son. Well, of course that is true to a certain extent but in all honesty, we get such positive comments from people after they themselves witness his racing and driving abilities. Mason has done his part as a driver and as his parents, Rick and I have committed to continue this journey and do whatever it takes to keep him on the path to achieve his goals.