Tyler Audie has always had a calculated perspective on life. So much so, that at the age of nine he earned the nickname, “The Professor,” among his Pop Warner football teammates.
When an NFL trainer visited Audie’s team, he asked everyone who wanted to make it to the NFL, and as expected, everyone raised their hand.
Everyone except Tyler.
“The guy looks at him and says, ‘You don’t want to be in the NFL? Why are you out here? What do you want to be?’ ” said Audie’s father, Jim. “Well, Tyler looks at him and says, ‘I want to be a brain surgeon.’ ”
That perspective led him unusually to a hobby most people don’t usually pick up – racing – and not just normal racing, stock-car racing.
Audie is a freshman at The University of Alabama and majoring in aerospace engineering. He is active at the University, using some of his fellow engineering students to go with and assist him in racing by being a part of the crew. Audie even promotes his racing crew at Alabama by signing autographs and getting his name out there.
Audie started racing when he was 11 years old. His father, who had an interest in old cars, took him to a car show called the Turkey Trot in Daytona, Florida. The two noticed the show had a go-kart that people could test drive.
Audie got behind the wheel of the go-kart and started recording times close to what the actual drivers who raced the karts competitively finished with. From there, his interest only grew, as Audie and his dad started to learn the ways of racing.
“When we both starting getting into it, it was a pretty steep learning curve for the both of us,” Audie said. “He had never worked on race cars before and neither had I. So when both started doing it we both starting learning together.”
Audie started to move up within the sport, changing to different divisions and different types of racing. After racing go-karts for two or three years, he moved onto Legends Cars, which is a smaller, lower-cost form of racing. From there, he moved up to Late Models, which is the lowest form of stock-car racing.
Audie started to form a crew and working with crew chief Neal Cantor. He credits Cantor for helping him transition to the different types of racing, and never letting him get overwhelmed when he is on the track. His crew has allowed him to move up within the racing industry as smoothly as possible.
Now, Audie competes in ARCA racing, which he compared to being in Arena Football as a professional football player.
What drew Audie to the sport was the adrenaline. He loves the speed rush that goes along with making quick decisions and believes there is nothing like being behind the wheel of a race car.
“I guess you could call me an adrenaline junkie in that aspect,” he said. “It is just thrilling. Not a lot of people get to race. It is an honor and a privilege at the same time.”
While the sport comes with an adrenaline rush, it also comes with danger. Driving a car at 190 mph is not exactly the safest hobby to have in the world. While his parents support his dream, they still recognize that the sport, if at the right time and position, could cause harm to their child.
Audie’s mother, Lori, said it has taken an adjustment for her as a parent to get used to watching him race.
“Just knowing that he could wreck and could get injured is what I battle with,” she said. “Logically, I know he is safe. Emotionally, I know what could happen. I am supportive of him still. I know he loves to do it.”
The danger aspect has caused Audie to rethink his decision to race a couple of times.
Last year, while racing at Talladega, a car lost control after making a slight impact with another driver. When the car spun and headed towards the field of cars, Audie barely missed it, but the car a couple of spots behind him did not and its driver broke both of his ankles after hitting the wall at high speeds.
Another crash happened in similar fashion when he raced Late Models, but this time, Audie wasn’t as lucky. He went airborne, wrecking his car, but walked away with no serious injuries.
“We were coming out of the corner and someone made contact with the back of my car,” he said. “We went up into the fence and got up into the air, the whole deal. After that, I’d say I reevaluated. That hurt a lot.”
While racing has become a sport and a hobby for Audie, it has also impacted him as a person. As a particularly shy kid growing up, Audie knew he needed to one day step out and have a more outgoing personality.
Racing did just that for him. He knew that if wanted to be the best driver he can be, he would have to learn to speak up.
“I have never really been vocal,” he said. “Racing kind of forced [me] to grow out of that. I now have to talk to people I hardly know. I have to talk to the crew. It is a lot of communication.”
Audie says racing has also taught him to be patient. While the cars are going at top speed, the driver still has to be level-headed and not rush his decisions. He said he now has to learn to take situations and process them to make the best choice on the track.
Audie also had to develop the belief in himself to become a successful racer. His mother believes the sport helped him trust his actions.
“I don’t think he had a lot of self-confidence until he started racing,” she said. “He started to understand that people admired him for what he was capable of doing.”
While racing is a passion for Audie and his family, it can be hard to continue to race with the financial strain. Racing is a sport driven …read more
Source:: The Crimson White Sports