By Nicole Renard
Distinguished Young Woman of America for 2013
Hello my distinguished friends! I hope you all are having a great week!
My dad, uncle and aunt came down to visit me this past weekend for a very special event that I want to tell you more about!
Once my family picked me up at Chapman, we traveled two hours north where our final destination was the Kern County Raceway. We were going to a NASCAR race. In July when I attended the Distinguished Young Woman of California program I had the opportunity to meet the owner of the track and he invited me back out for a race! We met up with him at the gates and he took us up the elevator to the top suite where we would be watching the race. This room was every boy/man’s dream!! It was the ultimate man cave. Black and white checkered ceilings, diamond plating on the walls lined with a neon blue strip of lights, red leather dining chairs and a table made out of car wheels. I felt like a celebrity just walking through it!! It was perfect.
Then I went to the media room where I met the announcer who introduced me when I went down to the pit to meet some of the drivers. (One of the drivers I ended up talking to actually won one of the races that night!!) The races were so exhilarating and we had the time of our lives. I almost had more fun watching my dad and uncle have fun at the race. They are always so supportive of me in my activities and I have always wanted to do something “manly” with them that they enjoy. They certainly deserve it.
It was faith and family night so one of the races was called “Faster Pastor” and yup, you guessed it! The pastors from the area raced cars of their own!! That was a sight to see, considering they weren’t pros or anything. One of them spun out, another one got hit and another one ran into the wall!!
Right before the last, main race of the night I was surprised by a trip back down to the pit to ride in the pace car! IT WAS SO EPIC. As we sped around the track I looked back at a whole line of race cares making zig zags to warm up their tires. I waved at them. When it was time for the race to start we zoomed off the track and the cars raced past us and the green flag. It was such a thrilling experience. I can’t believe I was able to sit in the actual pace car!
As I observed throughout the night I thought of a very important lesson: Life is like a NASCAR race. We are all race cars. First of all race cars look super cool and so do you. You are awesome. So be joyful about that. Secondly, we are all in a race. It’s called life. But one thing I feel like we often forget is we are all on the race track together. When a car crashes, or runs into the wall, the pace car speeds out in front of all the other cars to temporarily stop the race until the car recovers and everyone gets back into order. The same goes in life. Sometimes someone may hit the wall. They might spin out or things might not go their way. An important aspect in a lifestyle of “being distinguished” is not running over that person or speeding past them because you have it all together. Sometimes the “pace car” needs to pull out and slow things down so everyone can get back on track. We are all in the race together and in the end it’s not so important who crosses the finish line first, but how many people you helped along the way get there with you. With that being said, yes! You are in a race! Run in such a way that you may obtain the prize! Set your goals high and go after them as if you knew you were going to win. Keep the end result in your mind and let that be your motivation. Imagine what it would feel like to win and let that energy drive you every day to work harder, serve more, and love deeper.
I hope you win your NASCAR race!!
Nicole Renard xx
Nicole Renard is a college freshman at Chapman University in Orange, California majoring in TV Broadcast Journalism. Originally from Kennewick, Washington, Nicole was a participant in the Distinguished Young Women program and was selected as the Distinguished Young Woman of Washington for 2013 and the Distinguished Young Woman of America for 2013. Learn more about Nicole here!