From the first time seven-year old Austin and five-year old Callie went to the race track, they were hooked. Since attending an ARCA race at Toledo Speedway near the family’s home in Northwest Ohio, the family has made attending NASCAR races, including at Michigan International Speedway, a yearly tradition. However, while racing on-track is at the core of Austin and Callie’s love for the sport, their mom, Stacy, says it’s also about the entire experience.
"Both my kids have a lot of interest in racing. The whole family does, but the kids really have an interest," Stacy said. "They enjoy the race, but sometimes a long race isn’t their favorite part. They will enjoy everything leading up to the races as much as the races themselves."
Part of the family’s recent at-track traditions have included attending The NASCAR Foundation’s Speediatrics Fun Day Festivals. Focused on inspiring children to live a healthy lifestyle, the events feature NASCAR-themed activities and showcase how living healthy can be fun.
After enjoying the inaugural event in Michigan last year, Stacy registered Austin and Callie for this year’s event at Chicagoland Speedway. During their weeklong stay in Chicago, the family spent four days at the track to experience everything the race weekend had to offer, including the Fun Day Festival.
"It really added more to their experience," Stacy said about the Festival. "Doing the activities and getting some energy out before they sit down to start to race for several hours is always a positive thing!"
While at Chicagoland, Austin and Callie participated in each of our NASCAR-themed activities at the Fun Day Festival, being joined by other race fans and NASCAR drivers. From Justin Haley laying out at Looking for Lug Nuts to the duo of Thad Moffit and Travis Braden not holding anything back at the Goodyear Tire Race, the drivers provided an example of athleticism and the importance of staying active.
"My kids are very active, so it was very nice to have the activity," Stacy said. "They are NASCAR fans, so they see these drivers participating and getting very competitive on the relays right along with them. So that was very motivating to them."
Also joining the siblings in Chicago was pit crew members from Chip Ganassi Racing’s #42 team who were there to provide a helping hand for the young race fans.
"They were so great with the kids. My daughter being only five, they spent time with her teaching her how to take the lug nuts on and off, and to work the air gun," Stacy explained. "That was definitely her favorite. It gave her a lot of confidence, I think. She didn’t think she would be able to do that."
Coming off their experience at Chicagoland Speedway, the flipping of the calendar to August means one thing for Austin and Callie – the return of racing to Michigan International Speedway. Like Stacy and her children, The NASCAR Foundation will also be returning to Michigan, hosting its second annual Speediatrics Fun Day Festival on Friday, August 9.
And yes, Stacy has planned for Austin and Callie to attend.
"Doing those activities, and making physical activity fun for the kids, they absolutely have a lot of fun." Stacy said, "They will enjoy the whole weekend, but honestly [the Fun Day Festival] might be the thing they look forward to the most."