Editor’s Note: With the outbreak of COVID-19 forcing racing around the globe to a sudden stop, SPEED SPORT is reaching out to members of the racing community to find out how the outbreak is impacting them, both as racers and in their daily lives. This story is the first installment in what will be an ongoing series.
CONCORD, N.C. — Just because there isn’t any racing on the track because of the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak doesn’t mean the racing industry has stopped in its tracks.
Lee Faulk Racing and Development, an asphalt late model team based in Denver, N.C., is keeping busy with side projects that Director of Operations Michael Faulk hopes will make the team even better when racing resumes.
“I think the first few days everybody was kind of in shock,” said Faulk, who runs the business alongside his father, racing veteran Lee Faulk. “This is uncharted territory for everybody, including ourselves. We had some projects that we kind of put on the back burner due to racing. So we just decided it was time to catch up with some projects and some side jobs that we had going on here at the shop and actually getting some motors rebuilt and getting some stuff done here to make our program better when we go back racing.
“We’ve all been healthy and feeling good. So we’ve just kind of stayed doing what we were doing. We’ve been getting cars ready to go test when we can get back to the track, just trying to make our program better and trying to make our cars better, doing some maintenance and some other things that we had going on here.
“I know it sounds crazy, but our lives haven’t been affected that much yet.”
Lee Faulk Racing and Development keeps busy throughout the season, with the team slated to field full-time entries for Braden Rogers, Nolan Pope and Jonathan Findley, while also assisting in running cars for Kody King and Austin McDaniel.
However, with races being postponed left and right, Faulk says it puts the team in a position to have to make up the guaranteed races later in the season for the team’s contracted drivers.
“We’re very fortunate to have great parents and families of the drivers who drive for us and they understand, obviously, what’s going on and we’ve been in contact with them and come up with plans to make these races up for them and for our drivers,” Faulk said. “So, you know, barring any catastrophic setbacks that are unforeseen at this point I think we’re going to be able to make up all the races and do everything that we need to do to take care of our drivers and our clients as well when this is over.
“We’ve been very fortunate to be in business for 25 years and you don’t stay in business that long by making dumb decisions,” Faulk added. “We’re very fortunate to put ourselves in a good position over the last decade to save and have a resource available to us in times like these in emergency situations. So yes, it’s going to hurt. It’s going to sting a little bit in the short term for sure. But we’re getting through this very well compared to many others.”
Away from racing, Faulk says his that life has been a bit different of late. His daughter is home instead of at school, but his wife Vanessa is a realtor and typically works from home anyway, so his home life hasn’t changed much yet.
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