My father, Mike Taylor, is a man of vision and action. He served in Vietnam and retired from the U.S. Navy. He spent nearly 20 years on the County Commission of Tipton County, Tenn., where he accomplished so much for our county and his district. He has built several successful businesses from the ground up. He is also the reason I joined NASA, and my partner in NASA’s Mid South region.
We live in the Memphis, Tenn., area. When I joined NASA in 2007, the closest event was more than four hours away. He was in HPDE3 and I was in HPDE1. I knew from the moment I joined that I wanted to get my racing license. At the time, dad was content in HPDE. We attended as many events as we could in as many regions as we could.
Our first time on track together was in HDPE3 at Hallett during a Texas Region event. He was the better driver. I had the superior car. My first pass on the old fella was exiting the complex of turns 8 and 9, infamously known as “The Bitch.” We pretty much ran nose-to-tail the entire weekend. Someone told us it looked as though our cars were chained together. It was one of the best times of my life.
We always stayed at the track and would try to meet someone new at each event. At a Southeast Region event at Road Atlanta, we met Rich and Richard Bratton who were paddocked next to us. We spent several events over the next few months bench racing and enjoying one another’s company. It was great to hang out with another father and son at the track.
When we started the Mid South region four years ago, Richard became our Chief of Tech/Impound. He has attended every event since. The best part of having Richard at our events is that his wife, Gayla comes along and is a member of the team. It is probably better stated that Gayla is Chief of Tech as well as Director of Homemade Goodies.
There is nothing better than a father introducing his children to our sport. Likewise, it is pretty cool when a son or daughter gets their father involved. We have several father/son combos in our region: Oscar and Brian Edmonds, Tal and Tom Penfound, Jim and Nick Drago, Morris and Morris Smith III, Pat Magruder and his sons Grayson and Austin, Stan and Alex Read, and our newest members Steve and Nolan Hazelfeldt. I try my best to ensure they have as much fun and enjoy the NASA experience as much as dad and I did and still do.
Obviously, I am proud of my father. At our events, I always give him a hard time but in all honesty, he is not only my father and partner, but my best friend. Happy Father’s Day, old fella. You are not just getting older, you are getting slower. See everyone at the track — and bring someone with you!