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Dec 07, 2012 12:00 am
By LARRY WOODY
Joseph Meyer is 26, has been racing since age 14, and realizes that not all the rides are going to be smooth.
That’s why the Mt. Juliet racer is not discouraged by a rocky season that concluded last weekend in Pensacola, Fla., when he crashed out of a Late Model race that preceded the premier Snowball Derby.
“This season has been Murphy’s Law – anything that could go wrong did go wrong,” says Meyer, managing a chuckle. “It seemed like I was always at the wrong place at the wrong time.”
Meyer, who is working on a degree in Mechanical Engineering at Tennessee Tech, ran three races at Nashville’s Fairgrounds Speedway this season – and crashed in all three.
“Each time I was having a good run in the top 5 when I got caught up in somebody else’s problem,” he said. “I just couldn’t seem to avoid trouble.”
That trouble followed him to Pensacola, where the eyes of the racing world were on the most famous short-track race in the country, the Snowball Derby. Although Meyer didn’t enter the main event, he was optimistic about competing in the preliminary Late Model race.
“There were 56 entries and I had to race my way in,” he says. “I started 23rd, which was pretty special.”
After just 24 laps Meyer had worked his way up to 13th when he was collected in a crash.
“It was especially frustrating to get taken out because I was having such a strong run,” he says. “I think I would have had a good finish, maybe even challenged for the win, if that hadn’t happened.”
But, he adds, that’s the nature of the sport in which a driver’s fate often is in someone else’s hands.
“This kind of luck seems to run in cycles,” he says, “and this year was a bad cycle for me.”
Meyer started racing Mini-Cups at 14, and even at that young age he hoped to turn his part-time hobby into a full-time career.
“Racing professionally is still my goal,” he says. “I’ll keep working at it.”
Next season Meyer plans to run a regional touring series, along with some races at the Fairgrounds.
Meyer says his season was made possible by sponsors Moody Inc. of Mt. Juliet and Pugh Plumbing.
“As expensive as racing as become, if you don’t have sponsorships you can’t make it,” he says. “I’ve been fortunate to have some good people supporting me.
Meyer remains optimistic about the upcoming new season.
“When somebody asks me if the past season made me discouraged, I tell them no, it make me determined,” he says. “Every time I wrecked I was running good. Hopefully the bad luck is behind me.”