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Wedding Vows for Today’s Modern Racer; Until Death Do We Part, Unless of Course I’m Racing

October 1, 2018
Wedding Vows for Today’s Modern Racer; Until Death Do We Part, Unless of Course I’m Racing


Racing is a lifestyle. If you understand the cryptic meaning behind that statement, there’s a good chance you’ll follow along. For those of you who don’t, well, here’s some insight on the true meaning from a racer’s perspective.

The true meaning behind the phrase, “racing is a lifestyle” is easy to understand. Simply put, racing comes first. And everything else beyond the realm of racing should only be prioritized based on a racing schedule – exclamation point, end of story, caput! Okay, not exactly, but close.

I know what you’re thinking. Too extreme, this can’t really be true!? What about jury duty, school graduations, Aunt Sue’s surprise party, getting married or even being present for the birth of your first born child? Nope, get your priorities straight…these celebrated moments almost always take a backseat (or strategic planning) to racing.

Ask any married or dating couple involved in the sport about the challenges of balancing a relationship or prioritizing some of life’s most memorable moments and you’ll likely receive a long, first-hand narrative of countless stories (advice) of sacrifice and compromise they’ve endured along the way.

Just ask Michael Self, driver of the Sinclair Oil Toyota in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards (ARCA), and his wife Dana, who not only planned their Sept. 2017 wedding around his racing schedule, but were recently forced to reschedule their long anticipated Hawaiian honeymoon because of an ARCA rain-out last month in Indianapolis (IN).

“We had two options, spend our honeymoon at Lucas Oil Raceway or change the date of our trip. I think you already know what we decided to do,” said Michael’s wife, Dana with a smile.

With Michael Self set to compete with Venturini Motorsports in the originally scheduled ARCA’s Shore Lunch 200 at Lucas Oil Raceway on Sept. 7, heavy rains postponed the event and forced series officials to reschedule the race a month later on Saturday, Oct. 6 – forcing the newlyweds to make an unscheduled stop for adjustments.

“We had to move the trip up, which doesn’t seem like much but it meant extra time off work for me and extra expenses rebooking everything. We’re also not able to fly out together and we’re flying back separately too – I’m going home and he’s going racing. It took us more than a year to get our honeymoon on the books because we were afraid of the shifting schedule and then it happened,” added a laughing Dana. “I think he told me about the rainout as soon as he found out because he knew it was better to rip off the Band-Aid. Nothing phases me anymore. I just knew we had to reschedule.”

“Sure, it’s not always easy or convenient but it’s what we do - it’s what we’ve always done. Michael and I met in Chicago during the 2013 NASCAR Next media tour. He was a member of that year’s class of drivers and I was on the public relations side working with Chase Elliott. I worked in the industry, I got it. I understood racing and the demanding, unpredictable lifestyle that went along with it.”

Asked to share his thoughts about the rescheduled honeymoon travel plans the quick-witted Michael Self had this to offer, “I’ve got the best wife in the world. She told me I had to go out and win for all the stress I caused her.”

I suspect they’ll be more than a fair share of folks reading this which will easily identify. But for those living in the real world (non-racing), everyone knows that NO man or woman would ever expect their partner to be so understanding or ask to make such hefty sacrifices simply because one wanted to drive a car in circles. But then again, this is not the real world.

To quote Dana, “This is racing and having a good sense of humor always helps.”