Dan and Bryce are a father-son combination not to be reckoned with. The biggest of NASCAR fans, Bryce’s passion for racing got his father back into the sport after a brief hiatus when the family moved from South Florida to Western New York in the early 2000’s. Now, Bryce and Dan take in races nearly every weekend, whether they are at the track, watching on TV or listening on the radio while outdoors enjoying a the rare sunny, summer’s day.
In attending the race at Dover International Speedway this May, Dan signed Bryce up for The NASCAR Foundation’s Speediatrics Fun Day Festival, looking to add to their already packed itinerary. At the event, Dan had the opportunity to watch his son go toe-to-toe against other kids in the racing themed activities offered to encourage healthy lifestyles.
“I was like the pit crew, giving him water the whole time,” Dan said, “It was awesome. Everyone was having a really good time.”
For Bryce, however, opportunities such as these are becoming few and far between. Diagnosed with an inherited degenerative retinal disease, retinitis pigmentosa, Bryce was recently declared legally blind. At 10 years old, Bryce and his father made the difficult decision this spring that he would not play baseball for the first time.
“We’ve changed our focus to doing things like [the Fun Day Festival],” Dan said. “He’s a huge NASCAR fan, so when the opportunity came up for Bryce to be able to go out and run around with a bunch of other kids, it was a chance for him to just run in the field and do things he loves.”
Participating in the NASCAR-themed activities alongside other young race fans and local youth, Dan said his favorite activity to watch was the Pit Stop Challenge, as Bryce had the chance to test his skills at changing a tire.
While Bryce enjoyed all the activities one stood out among the rest.
“The gas can relay was one of my favorites,” Bryce said. “Meeting all the drivers – William Byron and Ross Chastain – that was really fun too.”
In addition to Byron and Chastain, Bryce also had the chance to meet NASCAR Vice Chairman, Mike Helton, who also serves as The NASCAR Foundation chairman.
“The event really set the tone for a great weekend,” Dan said. “I wasn’t completely sure what to expect going in, but we left laughing, smiling and psyched. It really set the tone for it to be a great weekend for us.”
With the future uncertain, Dan and Bryce remain optimistic with trials and testing continuing to develop. Along the way, the two are planning to attend more NASCAR races, as they will be heading to Eldora Speedway again this year for the second time – returning from last year when they sat in the front row and got covered in dirt from head to toe.
“We are gearing our lives to get ready for the next step,” Dan said. “But in the meantime, we are going to do and enjoy everything we can.”