Hagerty Video: Faster Than Legends: Jerry Nadeau’s Horrific Ending to an Amazing NASCAR Career | Barn Find Hunter

Posted: 2023-07-11 12:00:38
Author: Hagerty
Ep. 142 – Normally you see Tom opening Barns and Garages with rusty and dusty old cars, but this episode Tom sits down with a close friend, protégé, and former NASCAR driver, Jerry Nadeau. Tom and Jerry discuss the beginnings, the highs, and the lows of Jerry’s career along with some EPIC stories of NASCAR legends. Hope you enjoy.

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0:00 Intro
1:30 How I met Jerry Nadeau
6:10 Early Racing
8:28 Racing in Russia on Ice
9:18 Busch Series Drive
13:15 My work ethic
15:50 Formula Opel
17:26 Raising 15K for first race
19:35 2nd fastest to Jeff Gordon
20:45 Even faster than Legends
22:45 Rick Hendrick & Melling Racing
24:12 Ayrton Senna of NASCAR
25:10 Wrecked a car & got a contract
26:36 US ARMY Drive
28:56 Career Ending Crash
32:10 Long Term Effects
35:34 Coaching For Hendrick
37:02 Too Awesome for Ride & Drives
39:25 My new drive
41:36 Epic Ride & Drives
44:23 Sharing my experience

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– Instagram @lennjamin
– Website: lenn.co

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Jason Cammisa on the Icons | The definitive car review
Revelations | Untold Stories About Automotive Legends with Jason Cammisa

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Hagerty Video Transcript

I literally remember practice second fastest behind I think it was Jefferson and I remember Jeff Gordon came up to me and said who is this guy Richard Childress he probably doesn’t remember this but he put his arm around me as I’m walking back to the to the trailer and

He says boy let me tell you something my clock everybody from the start fitness line to turn two and he had Everybody by two and a half tenths and I called up Bruce McGinnis I said you’re right you know he’s the he’s the next Center of NASCAR perfect solid head 121 G solid

Twice in a millisecond on the left side driver’s side and then it all went black yeah 28 days in in a coma I’m Tom Cotter host of the born fine Hunter but I have no barn finds around me I’ve got this guy here and this guy is Jerry Naidoo if you notice it’s not the sheet metal I care as much about as the human interest story behind that car why is

That car in the field in the back and whose was it and why is it there blah blah it’s human beings have a story to tell and there are so many people in the in the racing world uh that like like Jerry nude like Bobby Allison that have a backstory and

There’s there’s the front story and people know it they see it they read about it they see it on TV uh but but there’s a backstory that many times race drivers don’t have a chance to explain and I just want to Capt capture how Jerry and I met

And how his life turned around and he became everything he wanted to be and then it turned around again and so it was a rags to riches story I went to skip Barber driving school back in 86. and my instructor was a guy named Bruce McGinnis

And I really like Bruce I mean like if he was teaching how to downshift it was younger kachung younger you know rev the engine and jam it gear and so whenever I see him somewhere at lime rock or anywhere I say younger and he says young across the parking lot you know it

Doesn’t matter and so he knew I had a racing agency in Charlotte and he called me up one day it was before cell phones and he said uh Tom every day in my school I have a whole new bunch of students every day I meet the next airten Senna

Or they would like me to think that you know these guys they’re fresh out of college or they sold their business or you know they can’t drive a nail but somehow they’re trying to convince me that that they are the next Aeron Center and uh and I haven’t met the next

Certain center yet he said you know these guys are nice guys maybe they’ll go on to racing maybe they’ll go into banking but I haven’t been at a meta the next year in Center yet until now I’ve met the next here in Santa I said really

He said yeah this guy’s name is Jerry Naidoo and if this guy won Formula One racing he would be a world champion and I’m saying I’m taking this from Bruce McGinnis they said he was the boat the best undiscovered driver in history and he tells me about him and he said

And this guy he could go formula one he could go in so he could do everything anything he wants and he wants to go NASCAR you know what Bruce I would usually never even consider taking a call like this but because you are you I’ll pay attention to what you’re saying

I said when can I speak to Jerry he says right now and he passes over the phone and it was you yeah and then we talked and we talked and you know uh so look I’m doing a little talking now so no no that’s fine this should be a

Conversation so well I think it started back it I mean I don’t remember the phone call that oh I remember that was back in 89. my story is correct yours is not correct I know I know that I did meet you when I won the big scholarship for skip Barber

The hundred thousand dollar scholarship I I got a free season in the thing was called The Barbershop Pro Series yeah and I went down to Sebring and we qualified on the poll for our first uh race down there and I think the guy that was a second

Was Kenny Brock you know Kenny Brock was a Indy 500 champion but I I as I interviewed me I told them that my ultimate goal is to go NASCAR and I think it caught wind to you when you were down there with maybe one of your cars doing some uh yeah vintage

Racing yeah yeah yeah so yeah that’s when I met you and I think I got your number it was briefly it was maybe 10 minutes maybe I got your number and uh went back home to Connecticut and I called you and we met for lunch and I literally drove from Connecticut from

Danbury Connecticut with my beat up die or whatever it was I was going to build Cutlass it smoked all the way down from Connecticut and met you in Charlotte and and we it was you and Todd Moore and we it was at that stock car Cafe oh yeah I

Think we had sandwich construction company at the time right yep yes and we had lunch and I used to get calls like okay he’s in Connecticut I said okay when do you want to have lunch he said tomorrow and I’m thinking oh he’s gonna take his

Father’s Jet and fly down and see me right what I didn’t know is he just like he went to the bathroom got in the car and started to drive he made it to my shop I had noon the next day yeah all night long no that’s kind of how how it

Happened I like literally just packed my bag put some stuff in the car and smoke down and and well the car smoked all the way down white white smoke and yeah and we we had lunch and and then you guys were like so where you heading now and I said I’m

Going back home to Connecticut here you’re like what you came home for lunch so it’s kind of awkward but it was it was all fun I think it was it was a really cool cool moment for me so do you remember the the chain of events I mean

You were racing road racing so we got behind and kind of sponsored you for a little bit doing PR uh we went to England remember we went to Silverstone yeah that was with the the nation’s cup yeah and I think a lot of it was before then though because the Nations cup was

When in 90 um two one I went to after I said I saw you when I came down and had lunch with you I had a deal with full-time racing remember them yeah I did a full year with them in the imsa in a date a Dodge uh Daytona no no

It was a it was a it was a major nose uh it was a front-wheel drive car yes like Cal show cat had yeah it was I don’t remember the name of it I’m sorry to say but it was like a Chrysler or something

Yeah yeah and um we did that I got hired with full-time racing and I was doing the skip Arbor uh formula the barber shop series and I think halfway through the year after we won we finished we won the race at at uh Laguna Seca our first race ever we ever

Won in that car and then all of a sudden I I show up to work and it was chapter 11. I literally the doors were locked and everything was closed and I think back then it was uh I think Carl Russo really ran that I don’t know if you know Carl Russo but

Um he you’ve talked to him before in the past but yeah it was weird because I I was down there I called my dad I said Dad I need to get a a U-Haul and put some stuff in the U-Haul and get myself out of the apartment and go back

To Connecticut and that’s when I went down to see you so you were in Alabama like it’s a Birmingham or something yeah that’s where it was Birmingham full-time racing it was a Dodge gtu team that Carl Russo ran and um and they also started a bush Series team and also a

They had the emsa fire hog series so that was kind of uh oh that’s disappointing yeah it was disappointing I was going to do the the bush series but I didn’t have any funding or anything and I think while I was doing the barber shops they ended up taking

Drivers that can pay for the bush ride so yeah so you had gone come from come from go-kart racing and didn’t you race go-karts like in Russia yeah that was a that was one moment yeah that was a it was called the USA or some Russia against the USA the world or

Something there was a lot of countries uh involved and I think there was eight or nine countries involved and we ended up placing second behind the Russians and yeah I think out of seven races I I flipped three times I won two but it was this

Overall it was a great experience I mean those guys were the Russians were definitely amazing on Ice oh you raced on Ice yes oh yeah go-karts would study tires oh yeah how many Americans went over there was three of us me Bobby Car Bobby Carville and Barry Waddell and

And I think one other guy I came so the nation’s cup at Silverstone you you were one of the two American drivers and the other driver was turning around Tony Renner who went on to you know run Indy cars and yep yeah for for uh chip ganasi

Unfortunately his life got taken away at uh at the 500 and testing so wow his parents were there it was just an amazing few days and so let me see formula Dodge yeah I did but see I did the formula die I did uh

I did a full season in 93 and I did a couple races in 94 and a couple races in 95 I won the races I did in 94 and 95 but mainly just to keep me out there keep my name out there I won I remember I got funding

For bussman and some of my some of the people that I worked with I’d get 500 here a thousand dollars here and I’d raise the money to do the races and we would not want them you know we went out one uh I think it was New Orleans a

Street course we won Phoenix and we won the three New Hampshire races on the oval so it was good it was definitely a good step in stone it was something that that was visible to you know millions of people’s on TV and um and I know you would write little blobs

In your in your Winston Cup stuff and and you would put yeah journey to win the barbershop race oh yeah at Loudoun so that was one thing that was cool meeting you I mean if it wasn’t you I don’t think I would ever made it nearly as far as I did so

Well yeah you were a pretty good hot foot though so you you raise go-karts in Russia you raced formula cars all through Europe uh One races won championships and all you want to do is raise NASCAR yes but one one thing I want to get to

You so I’m sure you maybe maybe maybe you don’t remember 95 you came up with a deal you said hey Jared we have a sponsor for you to do five Bush races and that’s when we did it with Greg Pollocks and Chad Little’s team and then we hired uh Tim Tim Weiss out

Of Johnson City and we put together five race Bush program for bussman fuse and it went well I thought um you know we we qualified all our five races we finished well you know top top 20 top 25 and from a road racer and concern to

Have hardly any road oval track racing I thought it was pretty cool that uh I mean there was times of Brilliance like you know when we when we qualified in top ten with a V6 at IRP they all had the V8s and we were the only one with a V6 in our car

And we qualified in the top ten so I never had anything easy in my racing career you know I just always had to and I think I enjoyed that as a driver because it made me try harder and made me show The Flash or Brilliance that maybe I had some of

Those times I it caught me in a bad way but um you know I made it work Jerry was a guy who did not come from a wealthy family and so many people that make it in any kind of professional racing it’s because they were funded along the way and Jerry

Never had any funding he had he had to fund it with his right foot and his steering wheel and he did a good job remember we want race go-karts once that uh Jim Hall’s go-kart track in California anyway he said Tom he’s a friend of mine

Coming out and we’ll have a good time I think I was going to the Riverside race or who knows where yeah yeah and so he said just stick with me now here I’m a hot dog right just stick with me I I you went around the first turn I

Never saw you again like you were in a different world like I’m back there driving and you’re up there racing and that was the difference I realized I’m glad I chose this side of the business not your side yeah because I wouldn’t do it I couldn’t yeah it’s I don’t know I

Can’t I mean I’m sure a lot of drivers have I mean you had a great start with the with this interview with Aaron I mean I don’t care about myself even close to erinson he’s he’s my idol he’s something that uh you know his movie

Senna I think totally I can sit in my basement and just watch that movie with what he did um he was a true racer but myself I just I wouldn’t say I copied that I think I think watching my dad grow up we didn’t

Have a lot of money but I saw that he had he wanted to go racing you know he built his own stuff uh by hand and um you know they would they would go straight really good but they would not never turn his car I know I remember those one time

Don lajoy who Brandi lajoie’s dad was a a track champion at Danbury and I remember Don took my dad’s car out and he said Jerry you got all hell of a kind of motor you have some motor in this thing but it will not turn I mean this

Thing will will definitely go straight but it definitely won’t make the turn so you know my dad had a tough and I I saw that and I and it gave me that extra energy to just try harder and go after and I think in his case he looked at it

As okay Jerry we’re going to get you into SK modified and I can see you know I he kind of saw it like okay you’re going to start racing at Stafford and Thompson and maybe waterford’s people I think it was just too hard for us you

Know it’d take a lot of money to do that and it was hard for me to to go out there and learn and compete against these guys and I think I just wanted to try a different way and I felt like I can make it and I think I decided to

Choose the the barber SOB series you know meeting Mark you know Frank Martinelli who paid for all my Formula Ford races I think we won like 16 out of the 20 races we ran we won all the memorial races at Lime Rock Park it just gave me that it gave me that

Step to get up on top where at least you met me yeah you know you mean with the races that I’ve won and stuff but um I was just a racer I just you know I watched my dad work so hard he just gave me more

Emphasis to to make it and I think for him he just kind of wanted me to do the the weekend thing and then run the run the roofing business and that you know roofing business is like it’s not the it’s not the easiest kind of work so you

Came down here you got a bush ride I think you picked up one ARCA ride and then remember a trucking company called and said well that he I want to go back to the Arca ride because the arc that in 96 um I did the formal opal in Europe and I

Ran the whole year in Europe and that’s when Dan Bartel called you and then he talked to me and he says hey we want to get an American to run the formula opal Euro series so we didn’t we did we weren’t able to come up with the money but we we missed

The first four races and then we’d he decided to say okay Jerry come along he says just pay for your flight and I’ll take care of everything else I’ll put you in a hotel room and the car will be there but I didn’t know what car because

It was there was 11 different countries running and they always had a backup and then whatever Dan partel did as far he one one weekend it was an Italian team the next weekend it was a Russian team then it was the Germans then it was the

Austrians so I never had the same car every time I went out there so we still finished fifth in the championship we we had a couple we had a few podiums with the last race I did we were leading ushering and um one of the corner Marshals uh got killed

I think or got hurt really bad and they red flagged it and they went by qualifying not qualified second so they gave John Landers uh the the win who won the championship and um and we ended up finishing second so that was 96 then I came home and I decided

You know what that’s when you said I’m going to write a letter to all the Cup teams and and see if you can get a job with them and you did and one team answered and was Richard Jackson Richard Jackson and he hired me and I was making I think

It was 240 a week sweeping floors everything sweeping floors um I was sleeping in a little pop-up Winnebago trailer in the back of uh the shop and I was there for months I was spotting for Morgan Shepherd but I think you can see that times were changing and NASCAR was changing and

Richard Jackson I think was kind of a little team and it was hard for him to hang on and I think uh Morgan Shepard had a deal already going to Jasper racing and I decided to go to Richard I said Richard listen you have nine cup cars in

Your garage I said what would it take for me to get one of your cop cars and let’s go do an ARCA race and he said okay Jerry here’s what I’ll do for you you give me fifteen thousand dollars and I will put you in in the Charlotte race next month that and

That’s exactly I called everybody I called you I called my I called everybody about my mom and dad and raise the fifteen thousand I think bus fuse put in five thousand dollars um and then I got everyone else to chip in and we did the race and we finished

Fourth at Charlotte the first race and that’s all we’re supposed to do and Richard said okay Joe you did a really good job let’s run Saturday night and we ran Saturday night we led the thing and we should have won it but we we got snookered

On the last time I remember that hug that I got from you when it came in that was so cool so yeah I wasn’t it like there was a story that says unsponsored car out there and somebody who owned a trucking company said he called them and

Said I got money for that guy yeah and they sponsored me for a few races yeah in Cub yep and that’s literally I went from I went I went from the Arca race to the next week because rich or Morgan was leaving to Jasper and Richard was like hey Jerry

You did a good job tonight at Charlotte you want to race that Michigan next week and what do I say of course so oh and I remember that race and that was so I mean I I literally remember practice I mean he practiced when we went out and we were second

Fastest behind I think it was Jefferson and I remember Jeff Gordon came up to me and said who is this guy like he had never even heard of Jerry news name here we have all the Daryl waltrips and and Dale earn hearts or whatever behind him and this guy’s

Running second who is this guy it was cool I you know the one thing that some no not a lot of people not a lot of people know is after that we went out and qualifying and then I was I was kind of in awe like you know

There’s Dale Earnhardt Jeff Gordon and the DuPont and I mean it was just everything was going on and I was in a black suit it just was a plain black suit with my name on the collar I think and we uh we went out and qualified and

I balled the thing up in turn two backed her in came it went to the infield care center and I came out of the info care center and one guy showed up it was Richard Richard Childress he probably doesn’t remember this but he put his arm around

Me as I’m walking back to the to the trailer and he says boy let me tell you something I clock everybody from the start fitness line to turn two and you had Everybody by two and a half tenths the only bad thing is you were sideways

And so you used to sideways well I wasn’t used to sideways I just pushed it too far and I I ended up putting it in the fence um yeah I was like I think Jeff Jeff maybe told you or told me he said dude you just qualified in the top 20 you’ll

Be fine like you don’t have to be saying no I didn’t think of that I didn’t even think about that I just because you’re a racer I was just a gung-ho go you know just go for it all right sir was the second race then at Sears point

No that that was I did a few race I did uh a couple races with uh um Richard Jackson and then that uh team kind of folded and I went to um 98 I went to Billy Marino Dan Marino yeah so you moved to Georgia be near Dawsonville

And I was there for 11 or 12 races and then and then I got canned from that why I I don’t I don’t know I I can say a lot of things but I’d rather not I think it was so it was very fortunate you know

Built a good chance on a rookie and I I chose that uh because of Dan because I was a huge Dan Marino fan you know Miami Dolphins um but it went good I mean in some races it was good you know I think we only missed one race and we just uh

We had some tough luck I mean we we started it was it was basically a new team in Dawsonville where whereability’s team was in in Mooresville um but yeah I mean we did the best we can do and we lasted 12 races and we got let go and

Then they they filled it in with a couple guys but then the team just told her yeah it just folded up yep and then I stayed with I I went to melling yep and that was that was like family of Harry melling and and mark melling his

Son I had such a good relationship with them I was there for a year and a half and I think it hurt them when when you came to me and said hey I think we may have a deal for Hendricks and I was with Melly at the time and and

I think Mark was always I remember Mark he was kind of how he is there a way that we can get it over here and I couldn’t say anything you know it was like a driver I was kind of like stuck you know I mean I I think I brought too much feelings

To melling because I really liked him as a family I I loved being there I used to go to the shop every day and hang out with them and work with them Jeff Bice was the crew chief and you know we had some good runs at times

We had some tough luck but we had some really good runs I remember Watkins Glen we we finished fourth or fifth and uh in the in the Glen race and we had some other great runs too but um then I went on to Hendricks so yeah I got a call

From Rick Hendrick like whoa Rick Rick yeah Tom Rick Hendrick’s on the phone yeah uh can you come by my office tomorrow I want to talk about this kid Jerry Nadeau and uh I went there and son of a gun we put together a deal and we had a sponsor

And uh and so that year looked like it was not going to be very productive until the very last race right with Hendrick with Michael Hogan and then they they put some other stuff together with Delphi and right but the very last race of the year you won yeah

Yeah it would win oh yeah and I wasn’t there but man would you know Jerry got off the plane my whole office was there at the Concord airport you’re on the private plane yeah you know the biggest hugs in the world man like he did it it

Was just it was amazing I mean so here’s this you know go-kart racer Russia the whole deal he wants to go NASCAR racing and I called up Bruce McGinnis I said you’re right you know he’s the he’s the next Center of NASCAR holy man yeah I wouldn’t say

That it was good it was really cool I mean it was it was a perfect ending it was a perfect ending for ESPN I think that was ESPN’s Last Broadcast race for for uh for NASCAR and um I you know it’s funny I did a test for Bill Elliott in 98

Actually it was 97. and I went out there and I bawled I could put his car on fire in turn three and we signed a contract right there I couldn’t believe it yeah I went out there it did like one or two laps and boom I backed her in and

Yeah that was that was interesting but I hated I hated it since that time and I loved it ever since that time I mean I had really good runs I think I had like five or six top five runs there at Atlanta and we we led a few of them and

You know a few of them got taken away from us I think the year after I won that they I let it I had a 13 second lead in it and we ran out of fuel last lap we just we come around the White Flag guy going to turn two and boom just

Totally ran out of gas you know it’s interesting you balled up the car and they saw in the contract I’ve heard Roger Penske say I can slow a guy down I can’t speed him up if he doesn’t want to go real fast I can’t do it to them so

That probably was the same philosophy he’s not afraid to go fast and we can try to slow him down I probably needed I probably needed a Roger Penske or Don Miller to tell me they do slow down you’re doing fine that’s the one thing I didn’t have I was always there’s nobody

That can put pressure on my on myself except me and I needed somebody to kind of tame me and say okay then you drove for the team that was right around the corner from here they became Red Bull Racing what was the name of it oh mb2 Motors yep

Uh US Army that’s right yeah yeah Jay Frye and and uh there was three Partners but Jay friend the Jay fry ran the race team and did you go like yeah I went to Saturday yeah that was cool well traveled well it was cool you know I remember when we flew

Into cabal in Afghanistan and we we had to land with no lights and literally because you know there’s people on the mountains and with rockets and oh man it was me I think Bodine um Schumacher and Antron Brown Michael Schumacher no no Tony Schumacher oh okay okay in the

Drag race because we were all sponsored by the Army and we went out there for like six or seven days and it was amazing I mean we sucked intense which was cool because we’re like barbarics were right here and all the soldiers right here and we’re

Literally we walk out we have to go to the showers and we walk over here we go to the bathrooms and go back in our tent I mean it was just really really cool that’s pretty cool wow so and then so that’s the team that you raced with when

You were Richmond yeah yeah I did uh we did me too I did a deal with them because I filled them with them when Ernie got hurt right earlier the earlier Ernie Irving he was he was my idol um you know I filled in with them a couple times

Bristol and Darlington we ran really really fast there both places and so when he did a deal with the Army he we hired me to do that and uh yeah we did 10 races we were a new team it was it was Johnny Benson and the Valvoline

Car and myself in the US Army was the second team they weren’t sure they can do it but they did it with me and and they tried to make they they made it happen I mean it’s we had tough luck in the beginning but then all of a sudden

We started we finished eighth at California we finished uh fourth at Texas and then we went to Charlotte and they did an open test and we were we were the fastest by two tenths over Jimmy Johnson on the open test and then we went to Richmond and that’s when

I qualified I think 10th and we were the fastest in practice and then some I guess I spun it and hit the wall all right so Richmond Richmond was at three quarter three eighths three quarters a mile three quarters a mile and hadn’t it been I

Mean was it slick was the track slick no I yeah I’ve heard so many things and I I don’t no I just think it was just a Naidoo move it was just a bad move on my part I think I I feel like uh things that I remember from from the guy

That was working with me he said that I he told me that I didn’t want to go back out because I was too happy the car was too good yeah like hey leave it alone and I think we we came in to do some changes we did

Some Shock changes and went back out and you know after a few laps you know he did tell me he says I I passed Rusty Wallace and Rusty’s like did they do put tires on and he’s like no he’s on the same tires that he had on for 30 laps and we were

Just that good and then we came in we did a change and and then I went back out and and then yeah woke up 28 Days Later so just a it was a perfect really hit I don’t think it could have been dubbed again I mean I know a lot of people see

Kurt Bush’s wreck and you know he did that in the safer barriers mine just was a perfect solid hit 121 G solid um twice in a millisecond on the left side driver’s side so the car came around yeah it spun around this way and it hit driver’s side and uh pancaked

It really good I mean it hit so hard that it ripped the transmission and went through the floorboard and hit me in the leg so there was a PR there was practice it was a happy hour it was after everything and you went out and you and you’re

Ripping I mean you’re really fast and and then it all went black yeah 28 days in in a coma was that a real coma it was an inducer induced coma okay yeah I mean I had a puncture lung and I mean they were keeping me alive by you know put

Near me and stuff um you know they flew me over to to Virginia Internet whatever Virginia uh Richmond yeah yeah the good hospital so they took care of me well um you know it just I think it’s funny like when when I woke when they woke me up I

Yeah I was kind of stunned I didn’t know a lot of things and I remember Dr Petty was right there he was old he was holding my hand and then I was telling I said what’s going on you know I couldn’t talk and I was like what’s well it’s

Because I couldn’t feel it I couldn’t feel my left side and it’s because of the nerve damage that I did in my brain I damaged the thalamus the right side which affected the left side of the body so basically my whole left side it’s like pins and needles right now yeah so

This side is fine yeah and this side is kind of numb yeah it’s cold wow yeah and again it’s not there’s a you can take a medication there’s a it’s called Neurontin but it doesn’t cure it just it makes it more suitable but I’d rather I’d rather just live with it than you

Know take a medication so I mean so you wake up you shake it off how long did it take you to get back into life sometimes I don’t know if I am in life you know it’s it’s it I don’t mean it’s I don’t mean it to be sound depressing

It’s just it’s been difficult you know like it’s um it’s my life you know racing has always been my life and I think with when Dr Petty held my hand he said Jerry I suggest you know I would I love you like a son they said I would choose a

Different profession and you had no one and it totally totally killed me when you said that it would have been cool it would have been nice if I had somebody there or somebody say I know what to do with him you know and I couldn’t think right and all I cared

About is I just wanted to get out there and right and I literally I literally went to tests with our team mb2 because Jade never gave up on me he wanted me back in the car as fast as possible and we went testing literally four months after my accident

We went testing at Concord and it went great the only thing is like I was seeing three cards instead of one car and I and I couldn’t feel the brake pedal because of my left foot so yeah so you left foot break which is a a trick

Drivers do but you couldn’t modulate it because you didn’t have enough nerves yeah I just didn’t feel I did I couldn’t sense the how much I was pushing on it and I think a lot of it was because of the the the damage that I did the senses

Aren’t the same as my right side so yeah I mean I I think once you if you do it more often and more repetitive I think you can get used to it um but I think I didn’t I did maybe a half a day and it really brought me down even

Though I was quick I I didn’t feel like I was ready yeah um and I think Jay was always gung-ho and always keeping me upbeat and and I and I think it’s I just got really I didn’t want to I don’t know I felt I was nervous

Because you know of what Dr Petty said and he’s like Jerry if you take one little hit and it doesn’t have to be a hard hit you can you can be slapped and you can be you could be gone um it was that it was that that’s what

Really kind of tore me up and so you he’s the guy that you put the faith in and you did what he said well I did he’s a doctor but I I understand doctors always go that extra and to go more when sometimes I feel like you know me I did

A bunch of cart races after that you know we won a few endurance races at Charlotte and carts and and I ran some I did a lot of those uh uh lead follow and and a lot of those riding drives where I did hot laps and cars I felt good in driving

But I think there was still a competitiveness of me that if something happens it can be over and I and I couldn’t I just felt like I would be too I didn’t want to be too selfish you know I I feel like um you know hopefully everyone understands that

You know I want to be I want to live to be a hundred you know you know it’s I I can’t say that I think it’s just a matter of uh finding what what pleases me so so to stay in racing you coached drivers for a little bit right

Didn’t you coach for Hendrick a couple of Hendricks yeah yeah a couple rookies um yeah I don’t I don’t remember their names but Boston Reed and yeah uh I did some stuff with Andy Lally um Jeffrey Earnhardt and then David Gillen you know where David uh when he

Won that race I literally quit I quit after that when he won that race at Kentucky I just had too much I I just felt I just felt like it was too much being a spotter and a coach and I felt like there was more than that that I can do

Was your vision at that point good enough like yeah yeah that tripled car no no it’s I mean I drive I drive on the highway there there may be sometimes I get a little grumpy mad and do crazy stuff on the highway but I don’t mean it that way I just

Comes out that way and I think um with David no I can see really good and I I the thing that helps with me when you’re spotting is you you’re a racer and you you’re putting yourself in their seat and I can tell when you’re clearing when you’re not clear you know so

Um and plus I get you know we did a lot of stuff on simulation with eye racing stuff I remember Andy Lally said hey come spend a few days a few hours with me let’s go to Atlanta and you know he did some work he did a

Cup race there and he made it so um you know I think there’s things that I can benefit from but I just don’t know again I don’t I’m not interested in being competitive again I just want to do something that I feel like making Bagels every day yeah we

Talked he wants to be a bagel maker I’m all for it so so now I mean really your career like so many other race drivers once once they don’t drive competitively anymore has gone towards manufacturers ride and drive programs and that’s kind of where you’re at right yeah and I’ve

Been stuck on that for forever for the last five years six years I did a lot of BMW stuff Ford stuff Jaguar but um you know we just did I just did a 14-day Chicago Auto Show deal you know where we’re giving rides in um RAV4s for Toyota

Um so that was fun I mean it was you know it pays the bills and and um but am I happy yeah I don’t know I don’t think I’m I’m happy when people are happy and I think I saw that when the people get when they’re in my car and

We’re talking they enjoy that they’re like thrilled and even when I did hot laps with people um you know I remember doing deals with Dodge hellcats you know we were doing thrill rides and you know I I think I was the one that made the biggest

Smoke and the biggest show and I was the closest one to the walls but I never hit anything and I think I was let go because of that yeah I did because you know they had already had their Five drivers but they would suck because a new guy comes in

Jerry and Adu and I go out there and when I come in the line everybody that’s in line is supposed to get into the cars and they all wanted to get my car but they need to get in there they need to get in the other next car right and

That’s that’s where I felt horrible and I feel like and then they’re telling me Jerry you can’t well guys you you asked me to come do a Thrill Ride you’re giving me you know 250 dollars to do this I’m giving you a Thrill Ride um

I’m giving it how I feel like I’m safe so that’s where it’s hard for a driver when with a good driver and I don’t know where that good driver needs to be and I haven’t found a home where I can really be happy and be secure and feel

Satisfied and and then go home you’re like a real driver a real race driver doesn’t have a plan B now you didn’t have a plan B no at all yeah I get I get it but you know what I I think I mean nothing makes me happier

And to hear you talk about how much you love your wife and your daughter I got to tell you that means the world to me that there’s something in your life besides going fast that makes you know makes sense makes makes a difference yeah my wife and kids are everything to

Me today you know we me my wife Marianna who’s been with me for 10 years and we have a a little in Jordan and and Natalie my my first child um you know she was born the day of the 500. and and we got rained out and I drove

From from Daytona up to South Carolina and we we had the baby then so for Natalie um so yeah that yeah and I just I have too much of that love for the for a family even though I have the racing you know they’re there and

Um you know now it’s there’s not really the racing but they’re my family’s there and it’s like now I need to make myself happy and I just haven’t seemed to find that that next Niche where I can be like gung-ho ready so I’m waiting for that

Phone call when you have that when you do that Bagel thing I’ll be there I really you know I’m I’m talking to this audience and I’m not sure how if this is how many people are watching this right now but I can tell you that this is one of the hardest working

Guys I’ve ever met I mean when Jerry came down to North Carolina he didn’t he lived at my house I had a spare bedroom he lives in a spare bedroom he didn’t have a car I gave him my car to use and he worked my agency and he would do

Anything hard work he doesn’t really give himself enough credit but he’s one of the best salesmen I ever met he could go up to a virtual stranger to introduce himself and wind up getting five thousand dollars towards his tire budget or something you know if there’s somebody watching this show this guy is

A diamond in the rough and you know if you need somebody of that caliber there’s a lot about racing and is real good at all sorts of things including Roofing and bagels uh get in touch with Hagerty and and we’ll try to connect you to

You know I wanted to go back I wanted to ask no no I wanted to say it’s funny all the Ryan drives that I did that I’ve been doing I’m always the first one there I’m always the first one talking and putting cones I’m always making sure everything is prepared and

You know I think that’s where you know there was a time that we were working in Denver at the Denver the the football NFL team and we were working in the parking lots for uh BMW and I’d literally set my alarm for 4 30. I’d get to the track and I’d spend two

Hours literally doing the track doing the talking doing the go so I have that fire when it comes to that I just don’t know where it needs to keep going where I’m you know staying happy and satisfied the rest of the day with Ryan drive I can do

It all day I I literally love Ryan I mean my first ever Rhine Drive was with with Ron Nelson at Japan and out of 480 drivers that oh no there was I think there was 280 drivers I was the I was all there was only 10 drivers that were

Chosen to go on the track and I was one of them and I’d never been to a ride and drive event Mount Fuji or something Mount Fuji whoa and we’re in lfas you know these cars do you know a buck 80 on the straightaway so so I’m doing it and I’m literally

Crying in my helmet I’ve got my US army helmet I’m sitting on the right side where they’re sitting on the left side and I’m out there with stu hayner um you know Roberto Guerrero all these guys that that they chose for the track and I’m I’m like oh my I’m like dumbfounded

Like oh my God I found my next home you know I’m literally crying and saying and I never received another job after that because and I don’t know why but these Rhine Drive deals it’s one in a million years like you’ll get an amazing deal

And that deal that I went to was an amazing deal it was a it was a 14 million dollar episode that Toyota did it at their Fuji and it was a it was a four hour deal where we spent four hours on the racetrack giving rides for people and

We’re we’re literally dicing me Stu hayner and and Roberto and and you know another Corvette a bunch of Corvette guys um I can’t remember the names but we’re literally shown racing and and people are literally thrilled and that’s something that I feel I can keep going I can keep living it

And being happy in life is stuff like that and it doesn’t have to be professional it doesn’t have to be um something that’s risky I think um it’s just you know 70 to me is like 120 for other people so I’m not saying anything in that way I

Just I enjoyed the drive but I do enjoy helping I do enjoy teaching I do hope to bring kids that are looking uh to come up whether it’s Motorsports racing or Indy cars are Formula One or NASCAR I mean I think the stories that I have I

Think can help in what the way I did it so and thanks to your help too for sure Tom well I appreciate you coming out here this afternoon man it’s it’s a pleasure to see you now it’s been a pleasure to know you for the last 25 years so thank you thank you

If you’re watching this and you’ve enjoyed this let us know you’ve seen me now for you know eight or nine years doing barn find Hunter and what I’d like to start doing on this series is to start finding out the back story and and asking questions that get into people’s lives that human

Interest story so if you enjoy this get in touch with Hagerty and they’ll find a way to make more of these happen I really appreciate you watching thank you