NASCAR: Through My Eyes

Photo: Lindy Potocnak

By: Kobe Lambeth

Social media is a way to connect with people through the internet. You can include your friends, meet new people, and post pictures or videos. However, it can be used as a weapon to bash a specific cause, individual, or organization. Recently, there has been a lot of controversy surrounding some NFL players who decide to kneel or sit during the playing of the National Anthem. What happened to the days when we could enjoy a football game or NASCAR race without interfering with the complicated world of politics?

Sports used to be a way to escape from the real world and any issues that make living each day a struggle. Now, politics and sports being used in the same context are inevitable. NASCAR team owners, Richard Petty and Richard Childress responded to NFL player protests of the National Anthem that was first set into motion by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick last season.

“Anybody that don’t stand up for the anthem oughta be out of the country,” Petty told the AP. “Period.

“What got’em where they’re at? The United States.”

According to the AP, Richard Childress shared a similar stance on people who decide to sit or kneel during the National Anthem,

“Anybody that works for me should respect the country we live in,” said Childress. “So many people gave their lives for it.

“This is America.”

Once the comments from Petty and Childress were released to the public, many started to make ridiculous accusations about NASCAR. Many do not take the time to understand auto racing, and it makes my blood boil when people do not have any knowledge about the sport, but they stereotype instead of getting the facts straight.

Based on my personal experience, I can assure you that NASCAR has many wonderful people in the sport. In 2015, I was invited by Jeff Potocnak to attend a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Martinsville Speedway with members of his family. I am forever grateful for the kindness the Potocnak family displayed by taking me to my first NASCAR race. Without knowing much about me, they embraced me with open arms and made me feel like I belonged.

On Dec. 3, 2016, Jeff took me on a tour of the area heavily populated with the sport I love, alongside completing my senior graduation project. I did an interview with NASCAR official, Mark Wendell on the importance of marketing in NASCAR. Wendell and his family were very friendly and welcoming to the stranger who entered their home.

Through my website Daily NASCAR Scoop and More, I have met many fans and interviewed those involved in auto racing who were very respectful towards me. Of course, there are people in the world who do not treat others well, but I am grateful to be in the presence of wonderful individuals who breathe NASCAR and made me feel welcome to be a part of a meaningful sport.

Notable sports personalities Jemele Hill and Shannon Sharpe took shots at NASCAR in response to the National Anthem protests. Hill mentioned the Confederate flag that is still visible at the race track today, while Sharpe wondered why NASCAR does not have their own version of Colin Kaepernick to promote social change. It hurts my feelings to see the sport I love the most get stereotyped by the public. Speak with knowledge not with ignorance.

My challenge to those who are not familiar with the “real NASCAR” should take time to do some research. NASCAR created a Drive for Diversity program in 2004 as an effort to promote more diversity on every level in the sport. It is possible for anyone to be a part of NASCAR if they want to make it their career. Although some drivers may go through financial struggles to make a career in stock car racing, you should never give up on your dreams. There are many opportunities for a dream to become a reality. Coming from an African-American who wishes to be a part of the motorsports world in some capacity, I can assure you that the sport is filled with people who will support you every step of the way. Of course, NASCAR is not perfect as nothing in life can live up to those standards, but I have faith that my favorite sport will prove to the naysayers that anyone will be accepted with open arms.

Instead of letting words divide us, we should come together as one nation to support and understand what a person is going through. We may not share similar opinions, but we are all human beings at the end of the day. This message is bigger than football, NASCAR, or politics. Unity and togetherness is the answer to solving this conflict. As one nation, the United States is a force to be reckoned with if we learn how to love each other, stop bickering, and accept the reality that everyone is different.



Irwindale Speedway Closure Hits Close To Home

Photo: Irwindale Speedway

By: Kobe Lambeth

On Jan. 31, 2018, Irwindale Speedway is set to become a thing of the past as the famed, short track in the San Gabriel Valley of southern California is expected to close its doors. The track has a unique setup of twin paved oval tracks (banked 1/2 and 1/3 mile) and produced exciting action on the track since the late 1990s with stock cars, sprint cars, midgets, and much more.

Sitting with family and friends on a Saturday night at Irwindale Speedway will become a thing of the past at the start of the new year. Memories are made at local short tracks that last for a lifetime. For a NASCAR official, who wished to remain anonymous, losing his “home track” is a massive blow to the San Gabriel Valley community, and it was the site of where he began his journey working for NASCAR.

“Without Irwindale, I wouldn’t be working in NASCAR today,” he told Daily NASCAR Scoop and More.

A big step towards making a career in motorsports is getting to the race track and building relationships with the people who are already involved in the business. What if the closure of Irwindale Speedway prevents someone else in the area from making their dream of being a NASCAR official come true? Having a local short track is a big advantage as it gives one the opportunity to meet people affiliated with NASCAR. Getting aligned with the right people may lead to a great opportunity in the industry. It is sad to think about the potential of a young person’s dreams being crushed due to the closure of a NASCAR home track.

“Your local short tracks are where young racers get their start,” said the NASCAR official. “You have both up and comers and cagey veterans battling it out every week.

“There’s an incredible bond with racing that gets formed at the local track.”

According to the NASCAR official, Irwindale Speedway had a few unique issues that led to its demise and it takes three levels of support to make a local short track a success: track management, the competitors, and the fans.

If one of the three levels of support fails, then the stability of a local short track is severely questioned. Without responsible staff managing the track, it may prevent competitors and fans from showing up. Short tracks are a part of the stepping stone towards making it to NASCAR, so they are vital in the development of tomorrow’s stars. Without fans flocking the grandstands, how are local short tracks supposed to earn revenue to further enhance their facilities? It is truly a team effort to keep a race track in operation.

NASCAR journalist Matt Weaver is known for his love of short track racing as he travels around the U.S. covering those events. He provides excellent coverage and insight of the biggest races at short tracks around the country throughout the year. We need more Matt Weaver’s to promote events at local short tracks. We need to have more members of the media who share Weaver’s passion for short track racing. Getting the word out is important so fans will want to attend future races. Nothing is more special than spending your weekend at the short track enjoying race cars roaring through each turn.

Local short tracks mean a lot to those who take pride in this form of motorsports. Memories are made and opportunities are born across the U.S. at short tracks. The upcoming closure of Irwindale Speedway is a massive blow to the San Gabriel Valley community, especially to those who began their career at the southern California short track. Irwindale Speedway will become a part of short track racing history when Jan. 31, 2018 arrives. The NASCAR official summarized his feelings about the track’s closure in two painful words.

“It hurts.”



Freelancing Opportunity

Photo: Jim Sands

By: Kobe Lambeth

My senior year of high school was definitely a year to remember. I finally made it after so many years of school from kindergarten in Mrs. Dishmon’s class at Wentworth Elementary as a shy little boy to a grown 18 year old man ready to see what life has to offer after walking across the stage at Reidsville High School.

There were so many memories made throughout my high school years. From the highs to the lows, I am truly grateful for everything that has happened to me these past four years. I have grown as a person and will continue to do so as the next chapter in life will be the greatest challenge of all.

When I think of the memories made in high school, Fall 2016 stands out more than a food stain on a white t-shirt. All seniors were required to complete a senior graduation project on a topic that can be applied in real-world situations. I was blessed to have the opportunity to work alongside RockinghamNow Community Reporter, Joe Dexter, who helped mentor me through my project on NASCAR Marketing.

After spending a semester at RockinghamNow working on my senior project, I knew journalism was the right career for me to pursue. I will begin my life at UNC Charlotte in January 2018, which left Fall 2017 wide open for me to find something to do in the meantime. Sometimes, we leave lasting impressions on those who notice our true capabilities.

During the time of my senior project, I left some people at the office very impressed with my passion for motorsports and the willingness to learn the ropes of being a professional journalist. I am very excited to announce that I will be working as a freelancer for RockinghamNow in Fall 2017, primarily focusing on local high school sports.

“It’s great to have Kobe back in the fold here at RockinghamNow,” said Community Reporter, Joe Dexter.

“When he came in for his senior project last year, it was clear that he was hungry to start his journalism career. His determination and willingness to get it right will take him far and help him grow as he starts his career as a freelancer.

Working alongside Joe Dexter, who has been such an inspiration as my mentor throughout the entire process, will continue to provide more valuable information before I make the journey down I-85 to UNC Charlotte.

Some people may believe that freelancing is not the ideal career choice, but it is definitely a great place to start especially for a student straight out of high school, according to Dexter.

“Not only is it a foot in the door, but anybody that is willing to freelance is showcasing their willingness to step up to the plate when needed and get the tough assignments done,” said Dexter.

“That is a huge part of growing as a young journalist and building a name for themselves. Another major part in growth is getting repetition and freelance opportunities allow up and coming journalists to do so in a professional environment.

I will also have the opportunity to work alongside RockinghamNow Sports Editor, Jim Sands, who has been a vital part of my transition to becoming a freelancer. He will teach me the right ways to cover an event in a sports-minded environment, which will require taking high-quality photos, recording statistics. writing recaps of games, and much more.

According to Sands, being versatile in such a competitive industry is essential to having a career that will last for many years.

“Journalism is constantly changing, and if you want to survive and be successful, you have to adapt to the way people chose to consume their news,” said Sands.

“If you don’t learn how to master the new technology and continue to grow, then you could very well find yourself on the unemployment line.

During these next few months, I am anxious to learn from two established professionals such as Dexter and Sands as they will pass on their knowledge to a new generation. It will be crucial for me to absorb as much information as I possibly can and take full advantage of the unique opportunity that I have been given.

Sands considers it a privilege to teach a student fresh out of high school the most important roles in the daily life of a journalist, before the adventure in the heart of NASCAR community begins in just a few months.

“To work with a young man that is willing to put in the time and effort to learn what it is like to compete in such a challenging field, in my eyes, is a responsibility I don’t take lightly,” said Sands.

“Kobe cares about what he is doing and holds himself to a very high standard. That is part of what sets him apart from most people.


Twas The Night Before Le Mans

Photo: Travel Destinations 

By: Kobe Lambeth

1 ‘Twas the night before Le Mans, when all thro’ the paddock,

2 Not an engine was running, not even a Hybrid;

3 The cars sat on the grid in such a beautiful place,

4 In hopes that the green flag would wave and start the historic race;

5 The crews and drivers sound asleep in their beds,

6 As they dreamed of standing on the top step of the podium in their heads;

7 And the teams get ready and the fans prepare,

8 It is time to settle in for a 24 hour sprint race;

9 My alarm clock buzzed and I left my bed in a blur,

10 The world’s greatest race was about to begin at Circuit de la Sarthe.

11 Prototypes at the front and GT’s at the rear,

12 Gives any fan a reason to cheer;

13 The pre-race grid filled with joy,

14 This day is truly better than any childhood toy;

15 All the stars from the FIA WEC, ELMS, Asian LMS, and IMSA came to play,

16 Each individual hoping Le Mans will treat them to a memorable day;

17 Months of preparation and meetings to attend,

18 The teams and fans are anxious for the festivities to begin;

19 Early on a special morning in the gorgeous country of France,

20 All of the drivers beg for Le Mans to give them a chance.

21 The cars are on the grid as everyone is so chill,

22 Sportscar racing fans all over the world are so thrilled;

23 Everyone sits and waits patiently for the command,

24 Drivers in their cars and fans rise from their seats;

25 The command has been said so let’s go racing,

26 LMP1’s the fastest class in the land;

27 All of the factory teams have masterful plans,

28 Toyota and Porsche are set for a fierce battle;

29 Hold your belts tight as it time to rattle,

30 Don’t count out the little ByKolles car.

31 LMP2 a class full of new rules,

32 The winner of this class must make the best of their tools;

33 From Oreca, to Onroak, Dallara, and Riley,

34 All the constructors ready for battle on the world stage;

35 Strong Gibson motor leading the fight,

36 The racing throughout the class should be very tight;

37 GTE with divisions of professional and amateur,

38 All looking to become victorious in diverse pieces of machinery;

39 Aston Martin, Corvette, Ferrari, Ford, and Porsche make up the field,

40 That’s definitely a pretty good deal.

41 The cars have rolled off the grid as the parade lap is underway,

42 The field of 60 are prepared for the grueling challenge;

43 Down the frontstretch they go as the diverse cars fly under the Dunlop bridge,

44 On the way to Tertre Rouge, the danger is real;

45 Over 200 mph down the fast Mulsanne Straight with traffic everywhere,

46 Only braking at the chicanes keep us mentally sane;

47 Prototypes in both categories traveling at their fastest pace,

48 Don’t overdue it as it is a 24 hour race;

49 As they make their way into Indianapolis,

50 We think about the Brickyard, but this is a totally different animal.

51 Headed through Arnage at a high of speed,

52 Oh please, don’t tell me the Porsche Curves are next;

53 Cars roaring through the most treacherous part of the track,

54 How many pairs of underwear should’ve been packed;

55 Time to double up with a 60 car field,

56 Everyone at Circuit de la Sarthe can feel the tension build;

57 Approaching the Ford Chicane and nerves out the window,

58 Let’s get this show on the road for 24 hours of spectacular racing;

59 The green flag is waving and it is time to say goodbye,

60 Happy 24 Hours of Le Mans race day to all, and to all a good night.






The Mystery of the Monaco Grand Prix

Photo: Luxury F1

By: Kobe Lambeth

Compared to recent years, it has been quite an interesting start to the 2017 FIA Formula One World Championship season. We have an intense title battle on our hands as Mercedes and Ferrari look to take the fight to one another throughout the season. Sebastian Vettel, Lewis Hamilton, and Valtteri Bottas have already earned the top spot on the podium. With battles up front and the midfield, it would not be a surprise to see a shocking result in the 2017 edition of the Monaco Grand Prix.

The Monaco Grand Prix was won by Mercedes, three times by retired reigning World Champion Nico Rosberg, and last year with Lewis Hamilton. Based on the technical nature of the famous street circuit and the way the competition has fared so far this season, it would not be a surprise to see a surprise winner or spectacular stories finish in the points.

Ferrari and Mercedes are the obviously favorites as they have been going head to head in each grand prix this season. Another historic battle between Hamilton and Vettel is something Formula One fans live for, but do not count out their teammates as Valtteri Bottas and Kimi Raikkonen. Red Bull will likely be a contender too as drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen must be hungry to add their names to a list of legends who have won at Monaco. However, last year was a massive disappointment for Red Bull as Ricciardo was in a position to win, but a terrible mishap on an unprepared pit stop left the team scratching their heads. Monaco is definitely filled with drama, tight corners, and plenty of excitement.

One of the largest storylines heading into race weekend is two-time Formula One World Champion and Monaco Grand Prix winner, Fernando Alonso choosing to skip the grand prix in favor of joining the Verizon IndyCar Series for a one-off in the No. 29 McLaren-Honda fielded by Andretti Autosport as he attempts to go for glory at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500. As Alonso will not be in Monaco, McLaren-Honda has called upon Jenson Button to take his place alongside Stoffel Vandoorne. It will be interesting to see how Button adapts to the 2017 Formula One car as the increased loads of downforce are completely different compared to the 2016-spec McLaren-Honda.

Mercedes, Ferrari, and Red Bull are the favorites but do not count out the others as the power units are not as important on a technical circuit such as Monaco. How cool would it be to see strategy produce a shocking winner or a surprise in the points? That is the true unique mystery about the Monaco Grand Prix. We never truly know what is going to happen until the checkered flag falls on the streets of beautiful and scenic Monte Carlo.


The Significance of Alonso to Indy

Photo: Lars Baron

By: Kobe Lambeth

I remember when I first saw the news as I awoke on a beautiful Spring afternoon in April. At first, I believed it was “fake news” or a late April Fools Day prank, but it was shockingly true. Active McLaren-Honda Formula One driver, Fernando Alonso announced that he would skip the Monaco Grand Prix to travel to the United States, in order to compete in the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500, driving a McLaren-Honda entry fielded by Andretti Autosport.

Honestly, nobody saw this coming. Of course, people probably daydreamed of something significant happening, but not a well-respected Formula One World Champion choosing to miss the biggest grand prix of the year in favor of the American open wheel classic at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

In a short amount of time, Alonso will have to learn quickly as the Indianapolis 500 is next month, plus the learning curve is steeper as Alonso has never raced on an oval. After taking a few days of digest the shocking news and listen to hundreds of opinions, there are mixed feelings in the motorsports community about the massive challenge Alonso will face once he takes his first laps around the historic speedway.

Some of Alonso’s F1 rivals seem to support his decision but are questioning the decision to skip Monaco, where the power unit should not play a major factor in lap times compared to other tracks on the F1 circuit. There are some who are completely against the idea of a driver skipping a grand prix and trading Formula One for IndyCar. Finally, those like myself, fully embrace and respect Alonso’s quest to tackle the mindblowing speeds of American oval racing.

I understand that skipping the Monaco Grand Prix may seem like Alonso does not want to be a part of Formula One anymore, but it appears to be a smart decision considering the season has not started off the way everyone at McLaren-Honda envisioned. With the current state of the car and not scoring championship points in the first two rounds, Alonso does not have much to lose by skipping Monaco. The Top 10 finishers are rewarded points while everyone else gets nothing, so leaving for Indianapolis could be for the best this time around.

Both Formula One and IndyCar should benefit from Alonso competing for glory at Indy. Alonso is loved by the fans in Formula One, so his diehard supporters will likely watch their favorite driver on race day. This is a perfect way to introduce IndyCar to a new audience and possibly gain new supporters. Some F1 fans have questioned oval racing, so actually seeing one of their drivers compete in this crown jewel event may give them a new view of something they once doubted.

IndyCar will get new exposure from a worldwide audience with the addition of Fernando Alonso in a livery similar to the McLaren-Honda F1 car. Overall, Formula One and IndyCar will be big winners from this deal. Both series will get worldwide exposure and more fans may pay attention to the events leading up to Memorial Day weekend. However, the ultimate winner is the race fan.

Crossovers are not common anymore due to the rigorous schedules in auto racing series throughout the world. The most recent crossover was in 2014, when Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series star, Kurt Busch, attempted “The Double” as he finished 6th in the Indianapolis 500 for Andretti Autosport and 40th in NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway after a blown engine for Stewart-Haas Racing. Instead of getting upset at Alonso for choosing Indy over Monaco, we should embrace it as we are lucky to have this historic deal come together in a short amount of time.

How often are we going to get an “active” F1 driver competing in the Indianapolis 500? Although Alexander Rossi won last year’s addition, he was not an active F1 driver at the time, but he was a reserve driver for the now defunct Manor F1 Team. Winning the race as a rookie was absolutely an incredible feat. However, having a driver such as Fernando Alonso with many years of F1 experience, two world championships, and two-time winner of the Monaco Grand Prix truly takes the Indianapolis 500 to a different level.

As a two-time winner of Formula One’s biggest event and a two-time world champion, Fernando Alonso has nothing left to prove in Formula One. He is in the prime of his career and his looking for a new challenge. Racing on an oval where speeds reach 230mph is definitely a challenge for one of the best drivers in the world. There will be so much to learn in such a short amount of time, but I strongly believe that Alonso has the skills necessary to succeed in the 500 mile oval race.

As we wait for May 28, 2017, the excitement will build and there will be many unknowns. For any doubters of this historic challenge, I advise you to be more open-minded and embrace it. This is significant and rare for the worldwide motorsports audience so the spotlight will be on Formula One and IndyCar until the checkered flag is waved. Sometimes, we need a new adventure to refuel our passion for what we truly love.



Cisneros: “Media has impacted NASCAR in different ways”

Photo: Savannah Blanco

By: Kobe Lambeth

Teenagers in high school often daydream about their future following graduation. Patrisia Cisneros, a 15 year old sophomore, at Valley Center (CA) High School, seems like your typical student but has a deep passion for NASCAR. The pre-race prayer, National Anthem, the command to start engines, and the best drivers in the world going to battle every lap fuels Cisneros’ dream to be a part of the sport in some capacity.

“I’ve been a race fan for 6 to 7 years,” Cisneros told Daily NASCAR Scoop and More.

Outside of her love for NASCAR, Cisneros is a member of her high school’s (Valley Center High School Jaguars) Track and Field team, enjoys spending time with family and friends, and helping out others in need. There are many opportunities to be a part of NASCAR and Cisneros has already done her research narrowing her options down to a few possible career choices.

“A few careers that I’m looking into are sports photography and engineering,” said Cisneros.

In general, sports photography is a great way to get to the race track as a photographer taking pictures during race weekends. Journalists at the track will likely need photos for their articles and having a photographer can prevent a journalist from “double duty.” Sports photographers will be needed as “media has impacted NASCAR in different ways”  by providing breaking news and analysis to the fans. Engineering involves hardcore math and science, which plays a major factor into the product viewed on the racetrack.

As sports photography and engineering are the top career choices of Cisneros, it appears that she is clearly comfortable with one over the other.

“I love taking pictures and NASCAR, so I thought why not put the two things together,” said Cisneros. “This year I started learning some things about photography and it’s something I would like to do as a career.

NASCAR is the one sport that Cisneros truly loves compared to other worldwide sports. However, there is so much more to NASCAR than the on-track product.

“NASCAR is more than a sport, it’s more like a family,” stated Cisneros.
Her claim can be backed up based on the reaction following Austin Dillon’s terrifying crash at the end of the 2015 Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway. Dillon’s  No. 3 car went flying into catchfence, ending a wild crash filled race at the iconic speedway. Crew members from other teams ran onto the track to check on Dillon immediately after the crash. Teams may be rivals for over thirty weeks out of the year, but NASCAR is a family sport at the end of the day.
The atmosphere of NASCAR has truly sparked Cisneros’ confidence to be a part of the sport after she completes her studies. In ten years, she intends to make her dream a reality.
“I see myself living my dream, traveling, and having a great job that I’ll enjoy for years to come.”

Münter: “Never underestimate a vegan hippie chick with a race car”

Photo: Scott LePage

By: Kobe Lambeth

After competing in select ARCA races over the past few seasons, California native, Leilani Münter will return to the Daytona International speedway to take part in the Lucas Oil 200 Driven by General Tire on Saturday, February 18th, which is the season opener of the ARCA Racing Series.

Münter will drive the No. 15 Vegan Powered Toyota Camry for Venturini Motorsports. This is currently the only scheduled ARCA race for Münter in 2017.

“I started racing with Venturini Motorsports in 2014 and I have been dreaming of racing a vegan-themed race car for 5 years now, since I went vegan,” Münter told Daily NASCAR Scoop and More. “Last summer I received the Vegan Athlete of the Year Award at the Animal Rights National Conference in Los Angeles and in my acceptance speech about this little dream I had. A few weeks later I got a call from a non-profit in DC called A Well-Fed World to tell me they wanted to sponsor the vegan racecar.

“They are a hunger relief and animal protection non-profit organization addressing two of the world’s most immense and unnecessary forms of suffering – the suffering of people hungry from lack of food, and the suffering of animals abused for food.

Münter is very active within the community outside of the stock car racing world. There are plenty of commitments outside of driving stock cars on the high banks of Daytona International Speedway.

“I hold a degree is in biology specializing in ecology, behavior, and evolution from the University of California in San Diego,” said Münter. “I am an environmental and animal rights advocate and I use my voice to raise awareness for these issues with the public and the government.

“I fight for clean energy, electric cars, plant-based diets, and animal rights. I am on
the board of Oceanic Preservation Society, makers of the Academy Award-winning documentary film The Cove and the Emmy-nominated film Racing Extinction, which I worked on for four years. I am also on the advisory board of The Solutions Project which works to accelerate the adoption of clean energy in the United States. I also am an ambassador for Ric O’Barry’s Dolphin Project which is fighting to end the dolphin slaughter and dolphin captivity industry.”

The season opener of the ARCA Racing Series at Daytona International Speedway is approaching. Leilani Münter is confident of her chances on race day although the team mostly focused on single car runs during the test sessions.

“I didn’t draft a lot so we weren’t at the top of the board but we had a very fast car,” said Münter. “Venturini always gives me fast cars and Jeff McClure is an awesome crew chief, I love working with him.

“He’s smart and he’s a race driver himself so he knows what I need to do out there and he’s a good communicator. We will be fast in February.”

Sometimes, it can be difficult juggling the duties of being a racecar driver and business commitments, but does Münter have time to relax and take it easy?

“My activism takes up a lot of my spare time – I just recently got back from documenting the dolphin slaughter in Japan,” said Münter. “For relaxation, I love to travel and I have been a scuba diver since I was in high school.

“I also love taking photographs. Last year I was so happy that my environmental
work took me to both Africa and Australia and I was able to see some incredible wild animals I had never seen before the only way I think we should – wild and free. I took so many photos I needed a new hard drive.”

The green flag of the Lucas Oil 200 Driven by General Tire is scheduled to drop Saturday, February 18th, @4:15 pm EST.


2016: Year in Review

Photo: Jim Sands

By: Kobe Lambeth

Dear 2016,

Where did the time go? It felt like I was celebrating the beginning of a new year yesterday and here we are again. A lot has changed in 2016 and I would love to take some time to reflect on a year that has been like a roller coaster at an amusement park.

In November 2015, I launched my own website Daily NASCAR Scoop and More after a very brief stint with The Apex. Many lessons were learned at the start of a new chapter in my life. Previously, I wanted to be a mechanical engineer for a race team, but sometimes we must be brutally honest with ourselves. I finally decided that it was not in the cards to be an engineer as I do not have the math skills to be successful in this area.

This left me wondering if I cannot be a mechanical engineer, then what will I do after high school? Every morning before school, I typically check motorsports news-based websites such as Sportscar 365 to start my day. There are a plethora of extremely talented journalists today in the world of motorsports. Articles written by those individuals made me realize something special about myself.

Throughout my years in school, teachers have always praised my writing skills, so why not pursue a career as a motorsports journalist? I carefully researched the position and discovered that I am truly capable of making it my career. A fellow high school student named Aaron Durant, who has similar aspirations approached me with the idea of joining The Apex. It was very intriguing so I took the offer, although the relationship did not last very long. During my brief stint with The Apex, I learned so much about myself, which led to my decision of starting Daily NASCAR Scoop and More. The experience helped expand my writing skills and I grew tremendously as a person. I would not be where I am today without Durant and The Apex pushing me to improve each and every day.

Now, I reflect on this entire experience as 2016 is nearing its final destination. It has been a fantastic 13 months of writing, building connections, and expanding my horizons in many areas. In general, 2016 has been a challenging year with more responsibilities, difficulties, and interesting circumstances as I am close to entering the world of adulthood. Overcoming any challenge is always a victory.

One word to describe my senior year of high school at the halfway mark is “busy.” The year has truly gone by extremely fast, but shocking revelations about life in the future weigh on my mind. College applications, scholarships, and the senior graduation project caused plenty of stress this semester, which is totally normal for high school seniors around the country.

I chose NASCAR marketing for my senior graduation project and it was quite an experience. We had to do a research paper, portfolio, product, and present our findings to judges, in order to prove that we are the expert on our topic. My most memorable experience from completing this project is learning from a community reporter for RockinghamNow named Joe Dexter.

Many days after school, I went to the newsroom and Dexter shared his expertise and knowledge of journalism with me. Throughout this entire process, I learned the importance of ethics of journalism and maintaining a “never quit” attitude to accomplish all of my goals and dreams. As one of the judges of my presentation told me as I was about to leave, “You and your mentor had a special experience where one professional journalist is passing on knowledge to an aspiring student who wishes to be in the same position.” Knowledge is power.

There are not words to describe how special it was working with Dexter for my project. I am truly thankful for the opportunity to learn the correct way to becoming a professional journalist. Speaking of opportunities, I have received multiple offers to join various websites as one of their contributing journalists. Honestly, I did not expect for my articles to gain so much attention this early in my journey, but I am blessed that others are interested in my services. In my best interest, I believe it is best to continue with Daily NASCAR Scoop and More for the immediate future and help my writing skills grow, before pursuing a better opportunity as I progress through the ranks.

On Christmas day, I appeared in my local newspaper, the Reidsville Review, discussing my goals of covering NASCAR as a motorsports journalist. However, I am open to opportunities in open wheel and sportscar racing. The article was published online the day after Christmas and the rest is history. Family and friends were so excited to see the quiet, small town kid following his heart to pursue his dreams of making it to the race track.

I want to thank my family and friends for believing me and my abilities. Words cannot describe how grateful I am to have such wonderful people in my life supporting me. 2016 has been a wild year filled with ups and downs. The year ended on a positive note with people in my hometown of Reidsville, North Carolina noticing my true potential, excelling in academics, and knowing I have the support of others as I move towards a future of unknowns.

A close friend gave me some special advice about heading into 2017 and beyond as 2016 is coming to a close. The answer was quite simple. Ride the momentum.


Your friendly neighborhood future motorsports journalist