- chipganassiracingEpisode 002: “My cousin left five years before I did. I was 16 years old when I told my parents that I was leaving. It was 20 degrees out. I got on my bike and rode 30-miles to my cousin’s house. I left the Amish community with no money, the clothes on my back and my bike. When I was about 12 years old, I started looking out of the Amish and saw everything the ‘English’ could do. It was probably seeing the fun the neighbor kids were having while I was working. My family is still pretty torn up about it. The Amish take it hard when someone leaves.
The day after I left, my cousin had a job for me tearing down old barns. He eventually moved to NC and got a job in racing. Back in the Amish on Sunday afternoons, I would take my pocket radio (that I didn’t want to get caught with) and tell my parents I was going to sit in the tree-stand to see if there were any deer around. I was actually sneaking out to listen to the races. I didn’t know much about it, but I knew I wanted to learn more about it. The beginning of last year, I called my cousin and told him I wanted to work in racing. I came down to visit and worked for a team for free for two weeks. After that, the boss told me to pack my bags and move down to NC. This past August I joined Ganassi working in the Fab Shop.
I don’t feel like there was anything wrong with leaving. I guess it’s just where destiny took me. More people from the Amish actually talk to me now. We write letters back-and-forth to communicate. I still dress in Amish clothes when I go back just to be respectful.
I thought about leaving for a long time. It was a scary thought at first but I figured if other people could do it, so could I. Something as simple as going to McDonalds and ordering - I had no idea what I was doing. I got some really good things from being a part of the Amish though. They push you hard and I think I respect people more than a lot of others do. If someone told me on the day I left that I would be working at Chip Ganassi Racing five years from now, I would say ‘you’re crazy’… But here I am.” #GearsOfGanassi by @gearwrenchtools
- ejkmom1998Love this!
- jk143407impressive. you control your destiny, even if you decide to go back. congrats on living your dream!
- mdubsmithThis is a touching story. Achieving your dreams often requires significant sacrifices. I wish you well.