Diary Of A Racer Kid: Knowledge Is Power

Ryan Fearn is an 18-year old driver in the Limited Late Model division at Stafford Motor Speedway. He is part of the racing Fearn family at Stafford, which also includes his uncle, Late Model driver Tom Fearn, and his sister, Limited Late Model driver Alexandra Fearn. His father Stu Fearn owns the Fearn Motorsports team. Ryan will bring his thoughts, views and behind the scenes observations of living the short track racing life to RaceDayCT in an occasional column titled Diary of Racer Kid.

With everything that we’ve been doing at the shop and on the track, there has been less time to think about writing.

I’m still not quitting, however, as I do enjoy it quite a bit.

An avid RaceDayCT commenter by the name of Doug has been one of the more vocal critics on this series of columns, and provides a bunch of constructive feedback on every edition. Previously, he mentioned how he’d like to see these diary entries touch on how one can learn valuable skills maintaining and racing a car that go beyond the racing life. So, that’s what we’re going to cover here in this week’s edition.

We’ve been trying a few new things in the 92 Limited Late Model in recent events. With 2017 being my rookie season in this division, I’ve made some mistakes that ended up costing me time I could have spent outside of the race shop. I’ll be honest though, I don’t regret things like bending the rear clip over in practice, and I actually appreciated a couple racing incidents that did not go in my favor. Of course, I don’t like it when such incidents end up with my competitors experiencing misfortune as well.

It sounds kind of backwards to sort of “enjoy” failures, but hear me out.

Because I put myself in those situations, where major work was required on the car, I’ve learned valuable skills and life lessons. The rear clip that I wrote about previously gave me the chance to really get to know a Millermatic 35 MIG welder. Getting under people at the wrong times has taught me that the saying, “Patience is a virtue,” really is true. Even simple tasks like swapping a set of tires has taught me how to change a tire if I ever get a flat on the highway, for example, saving me enough for a minimum ten gallons of Sunoco race fuel. Tow trucks are expensive.

The point I’m trying to make here is this: No matter how successful you are in racing, no matter what you’re driving, you’re going to learn things that you can use in real life. Whether those things be skills, engineering, even those old life lessons your grandpa told you years ago coming back around, you learn things. I like to think a major point of living life is to learn as much as you can.

As the saying goes, albeit modified to fit the theme of this article, “You can get a ride in a racecar and lose it by the end of the season, but you can’t have what you learned behind the wheel and in the shop taken from you.”

So, with that said, ask yourself this: Have you ever wanted to race? Maybe you’ve considered getting your kid into the Wild Thing Karts series? Perhaps even simply helping an existing race team out?

Do it. Racing might be a full time job on top of your usual schedule, but if you have the drive to get behind the wheel and/or in the shop, do it.

Racing is a lifestyle, and as we just covered, there’s so much to learn that can actually improve the quality of life in general. Save money changing your own oil. Get the confidence to build that project car you’ve always wanted. Learn to fabricate anything you can imagine with an angle grinder and a welder. Heck, you might even learn to better organize yourself with all the notes you keep on your setup. In general, you keep yourself busy and your mind off the negative, stressful bits of day to day events. You also keep things interesting in general with fresh, new things to do and learn.

There are many folks who have taken a trip down the racing path. In recent years, I’ve been able to meet and talk to quite a few drivers that have just begun their racing careers. Nearly every single one of them have learned a ton doing so.

Kaylee Symonds, a rookie X Car driver racing at Waterford Speedbowl on Wednesday nights, shared what she’s learned throughout the 2017 season.

“Since I converted my [1990s Saturn] from a normal street car to a racecar, I was able to learn a lot about cars that we see on the road every day,” said Symonds, “I now know how complicated cars actually are and more importantly how to recognize signs of something being wrong and how to fix them,”

Kaylee also spoke about things she has learned that go beyond racing.

“Working on my car has taught me that not everything will go smoothly, but if you keep working hard enough, things will work out. I’ve been through 2 engines, a transmission, and a bunch of suspension parts in the past couple months. Overcoming these problems by fixing my car and not giving up has made me a stronger person overall.”

Long time friend and DARE Stock veteran Trace Beyer has also learned skills valuable outside of racing.

“It’s taught me how to do business and keep a budget,” according to Beyer, “I’ve learned to do business with people like Joe Hamm when we need some welding done or we’re buying parts, and companies like Independent Racing Wheels when we need those.”

All in all, no matter how long you race, where you finish, or what happens every week, there are positive things you can take from a racing career that last a lifetime. Regardless of who you are on a race team, the least you go home with is an enlightenment involving the greatest sport on the planet.

And one more thing, always remember, “Nearly every other sport only requires one ball, then there’s auto racing.” Take that quote as you wish.

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Comments

  1. “Knowledge is Power”. These days from the top down it appears that ignorance is bliss is more in favor. But knowledge is power and those that are curious, introspective, self effacing and appreciate that which they do not know but wish to learn will always be the masters of their destiny.
    All the qualities mentioned the author has. Experience and the accumulation of knowledge is the only thing lacking.
    Joyous celebration for Alexandra an her first well deserved win and poised victory lane comments. In my view unicorns and women that race stock cars can do no wrong. Another disappointing finish for the 92 but no matter. The die is cast for success in the long run and all that needed is resolve and perseverance.

  2. Sorry for posting again but I just have to say it. Ryan Fearn is the grenade to Alexandra’s steady poise. How can you not love these kids. Ryan wins a feature and naturally climbs the fence cause why not. The victory is there, the fence is there, the crowd is there. What could go wrong. Then reality sets in. Race after race with disappointing performances. A young guy with talent got a dose of racing reality. In retrospect perhaps dialing back the hubris may have been the wiser move. But heck, what is the sense in being young if you can’t take chances. There is always another race.
    Juxtaposed to Alexandra. Steady, competent, measured. Freakin Narducci goes three wide in turn three for the second week in a row and Alexandra’s reaction. Nothing. Always in control.
    Two vastly different styles and next to each other in points. We all would like more cars in the LLM division but this year has been compelling.

  3. Ryan Fearn says:

    There’s good weeks and bad weeks for everyone. We strive for improvement at all times and it’s impossible to completely avoid trouble, as it sometimes happens to find you instead of you finding it. Overall, we earned the win we were looking for, and we’re proud of it. Alexandra did fantastic battling it out to the checker. We’ll see what we can do in the remaining events to hopefully add to our recent success.

  4. That’s right Kid. Ups and downs. I’m on board. Never will be a Tom fan but you kids are sugar and spice and the racing your produce is nice. Alexandra earning her win. Are you kidding? It was some of the best racing in the division all year. Epic. This will be the last time I pester you but I’ll be in the stands with fingers crossed and wishing you both strong finishes. Just a bit more for the chick.

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