Follow along with Joe Morrison as he campaigns Leverich Racing’s Top Fuel car! This is Part 2 of his story. You can read Part 1 here: https://www.racingjunk.com/news/2019/12/12/an-average-joes-road-to-the-nhra/
“If wishes were horses, then beggars would ride,” is a quote that my grandma used to say whenever I started a sentence with the words, “I wish.” It was drilled into my young mind (in a very encouraging way, thankfully) by my parents and grandparents that if you want something, it won’t come into your life by just hoping. I truly believe you can achieve just about anything if you are willing to learn, work hard, show up and be willing to do what it takes to succeed. That belief and work ethic are sure coming in handy right now! There is a TON of work to do before the season starts, but we’re making steady progress.
One of the first steps was preparing for our test session to upgrade my competition license on Jan. 21 and 22. Gary Leverich has been hard at work preparing the car and organizing the new trailer. He is gathering parts, putting together racks, repairing heads and getting what we need to make the required updates to the car to keep up with a few new rules from NHRA. It’s a real challenge getting everything done, because he is balancing a full-time job, the race team and family time for the holidays! At this point, the car is ready to make runs and Gary will be leaving Michigan Saturday to try to escape before the snowstorm that is predicted to hit there.
I have been working literally seven days a week between my nonprofit (Right2Breathe) and securing the sponsor money we need for the race team. We’re also looking for product sponsors to provide consumable engine parts and everything else that goes along with Top Fuel racing. Making calls, sending emails, reaching out through social media, sending marketing and demographic information… all take time to get done. Balancing all of that while still trying to pay the bills has been really hard. Don’t get me wrong – I wouldn’t trade it for the world – but I am certainly motivated to keep things moving forward! Basically, that translates to working past midnight almost every night. In addition to the sponsorship search I had to get a drum of Nitro, 15 gallons of oil and buy the Nomex underwear required for the pro nitro classes, along with a host of other smaller details. You would be amazed at how challenging it can be to locate a drum of Nitro Methane! Thankfully, my friend Goldy was able to help.
Since there is no work for my landscape business right now, I use the wintertime to make a little money playing guitar in a couple different classic rock cover bands. Making music for me is both great stress relief and a way to keep my mind in creative mode. It’s amazing how similar the music business and drag racing really are! The other way I have had to supplement a lack of income right now is selling off some race parts and components that I don’t need (thank you, RacingJunk!).
Another important aspect of preparing for the upcoming season is something that I started last year. I have been working on improving my health, losing weight and generally trying to get my body back to the way it was when I was in my late 20s. My friends Anthony and Karen Monetti have been priceless in helping educate me about better nutrition (Karen) and how to effectively exercise and talk with me about accomplishing goals (Anthony). Anthony has a GREAT podcast called “Project: My Life” and I highly recommend it. I know that I need to be at my very best for this opportunity and I am grateful for the help of amazing people like Anthony and Karen! Anthony has these three phrases he says often, and I believe it’s a brilliant way to help guide people while they’re trying to accomplish anything: Believe in yourself, trust the process and practice patience. I’m working on all three!
Amid all this chaos, my wife Jen has been very understanding while I am spending so much time working to move my racing career forward. I absolutely do my best to make sure that we work as a team to take care of our four kids. Thankfully the older two are self-sufficient (23 and 20 years old), but with a 14-year-old son who is a freshman in high school and an 11-year-old daughter who is heavily involved in competitive cheerleading, life is FULL!
Well, it’s after midnight (again!) and I better call it a day. I’ve got three days at the Motorsports 2020 trade show in Oaks, Penn. starting Friday, packing up Sunday night, then leaving by 6 a.m. Monday morning to drive from New Jersey to Bradenton, Fla. Monday night I’ll be on the Drag Racing List Facebook page, interviewed live by Bill Pratt and John Bockelman at 8 p.m. as we’re on the road. Then it’s time to make my first runs in the top fuel car Tuesday and Wednesday… I can’t wait!