By Jeremiah Davis
I have two tattoos on my right arm.
The first, on my wrist, is an ellipsis between two quotation marks. As someone who made writing a career, it serves as a reminder that the story is never finished. I have to go fill that quote.
The second, on the inside of my forearm, is an outline of the state of Iowa, with three places marked by stars – my hometown of Sioux Rapids, Ames (I’m an Iowa State grad) and Cedar Rapids/Iowa City. Those three places are where I’ve called home – places where I felt part of the community and was invested in being there.
That second tattoo reminds me almost daily of a story about a racecar driver. Once, while hosting the Inside Track Podcast, my friend and cohost Danny Lehmkuhl and I were interviewing Kenny Wallace. He gave us a lighthearted jab about being proud of being from Iowa and the talent possessed by Iowa drivers.
I’m proud to be from here. I’m proud to have written stories about so many racers from here. I figured I should keep that going.
A few weeks ago, my career changed. I’ve spent the days since Jan. 22 pondering what’s next for me, what I want and where I should go. I came to a couple conclusions:
- Whatever job I sought, racing had to be part of it – either as an active part of the job or in the free time after work.
- While I don’t know if I’ll be in Eastern Iowa forever, I wasn’t ready to leave.
That brings us to today. You’re reading this column on TheInsideTrackJD.com, my new site dedicated to covering auto racing in Iowa – mostly Eastern Iowa, sure, but hopefully a wider area than before as well. This website is the product of nearly five years of going to race tracks in Iowa, Illinois, Florida and Kansas; of a seemingly endless stream of results, spirited debates about the industry or outcomes of races on Twitter; of Facebook Live streams and podcasts; of hundreds of thousands of words written about guys like Justin Kay, Tony Olson, Tyler Soppe (each a former Eastern Iowa Driver of the Year) and so many others; of feeling welcomed into the racing community like family.
The Inside Track by Jeremiah Davis exists because of you. In the wake of sharing with you all I was no longer at my old job, the wave of appreciation and well-wishes was nothing short of overwhelming. I can’t ever repay that. The toughest part about forced change – even if it’s a product of the industry – is the not knowing. I didn’t know if I’d get to go back to the racetrack again as I had been for so long. It made me sad to think that the Inside Track wouldn’t continue.
Thankfully, that feeling didn’t last long. The Inside Track is back and will be around as long as I live in Eastern Iowa.
The coverage you came to expect from me since 2014 will pick up where it left off in September. That starts today, as I land in Orlando for Speedweeks 2018. For the fourth straight year, you’ll get stories, photos and video from Daytona International Speedway and Volusia Speedway Park, where Iowans are representing our state at the highest levels of racing. I figured this was as good a way to get restarted as any. The emotional ride from believing this all was finished to building this site and to securing credentials and this being real is one I wouldn’t really wish on anyone – well, unless you’d like to lose some weight from stress.
The Inside Track is not my full-time job. This site and its contents are moving forward because the racing community deserves to be covered – and I want to bring that to you – but this is about a passion for the sport being something I do in my free time from a new day job – the details of which will be shared in due time.
As popularized most recently by highly-regarded motorsports journalist Jeff Gluck, I’ve started a Patreon page to help pay for some logistical costs that go with having one’s own website. Nothing you read on this site will live behind a paywall, but you have the option to contribute as much or as little as you’d like on the Patreon page as a way to help me get to more places more often.
I love writing and I love racing. Both are sewn into the fabric of my soul. I’m more at home at a race track than anywhere else on the planet. I feel most productive when I can share stories from what I see there. I believe in both things, their purpose and the joy they bring to people. Maybe that’s corny, but it’s true. It’s why the ink is there on my arm.
There will be tweets – from a new account, @InsideTrackJD, where all the live-tweeting will take place – and (eventually) podcasts on Facebook. Hopefully you’ll come along for the ride as you have the last four years and we can keep this thing going as long as I’m here.
Now, enough about me. Time to get to telling some stories.