Everyone knows the age-old saying in motorsports that the only way to make a million bucks in racing is by starting out with several million. In a time when it seems like more drivers are struggling to afford to get behind the wheel, it is always an inspirational reminder when we see drivers fighting hard for funding and succeeding both on and off the track. Drivers like Andy Lee.
I first met Andy when I was his twelve-year-old student at the Bondurant School of High Performance Driving. I had saved up my own money to pay for private lesson at the SuperKart School, at the time I was confident that the money spent would be worth it. I smile as I look back on the experience, realizing I got more out of that track day then I ever thought possible. Andy and I stayed in touch over the last seven years, exchanging various emails and our paths crossed several times. But now that Valentin and I are in Phoenix full time, we have enjoyed the opportunity to get to know Andy better, and I continue to be impressed and inspired by Andy’s determination and dedication to motorsports.
Though he has always been a motorsports fan, Andy didn’t have the opportunity to begin his driving career until he moved from his hometown in Colorado Springs, to the Phoenix area to begin working at the Bondurant School of High Performance Driving. At the time, he was washing cars for the school, but by being there, he was also gaining the track time and street-cred that would help him as the years passed. From his first national karting win at the Florida Tour in 2008, to his first World-Challenge win at Miller Motorsports Park this year Andy has never taken his eyes of the checkered flag. Andy has been so successful because his discipline and focus on specific goals. I mean, a person doesn’t just stumble upon Rookie of the Year honors in the World Challenge series, a title like that is hard earned.
Andy has had a variety of very unique opportunities to drive many types of cars in different racing events. In 2009 Andy drove in the Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup Series, which then led to him competing in a VW Scirocco Cup Car event in England, and Andy even competed in the Baja 1000 in 2010. As his driving resume continued to increase in length, Andy reminded himself of his goal to race in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and developed a more focused plan to get there. Andy partnered with Best-IT’s Harry Curtin for the 2012 season. The duo raced Chevrolet Camaros in the Pirelli World Challenge Series.
With their Rookie season behind them, the two are anxious to get back on the track for 2013. Andy acknowledges their very honest, and very focused goals for the upcoming season. “It is easy for people to say that we need to win the championship next year, but I have learned that it doesn’t always work that way. Our goal is to focus on one race at a time. Right now, the opening round of St. Pete is my focus.”
Andy has a wealth of knowledge about the industry and he continues to surround himself with people, who support his passion, his mother and his girlfriend, Megan, both continue to invest in the success of Andy’s career. Andy also understands that there will be tough times, like during this past season when Andy and his team showed up to the Mid-Ohio race weekend a day late after their semi broke down twice on the way; they missed a full day of practice and were eventually taken out of the race by simple mechanical failures. But it’s the tough times that make him stand a little taller each time he is on the podium. And I am confident that we will be seeing a lot of Andy on the podium during his upcoming 2013 season. Best of luck, Andy… we will be watching!
Andy would like to give thanks to his girlfriend Megan, his Mom, Barry Pantazer, Dan Arndt, Harry Curtin Harrison Gentry, Dick Roberts, Mark Loberg. The Bondurant School, Mark Miller, Allan Ruest, Eibach, Centerforce, OS Giken, Pfadt Race Engineering, Ron McDonald, Borla Exhaust, AIRAID, and his crew- Jason Cole, David Stevens, Terrence Sapon, Tristan Brannon, Will Curtin, Justin Thompson, Lyden Slade, Cameron Corbin, and Chris Harrison.