Andy Granatelli Knew DD…Better than DD.

Andy Granatelli
Mr. Indy 500
1923 – 2013

There are people that come into your life that have the greatest impact without any sort of advance warning / notice; they just blindside you and next thing you know, you’ve got a great friend. Andy Granatelli was that kind of friend to me.

I first met Andy in Race Control at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He always had a tour of highfalutin’ folks with him from the West Coast and he would bring them down to see Race Control. From the moment Andy & I met, he changed my life. Andy was Indy Royalty. He was Legend. He was Andy Freakin’ Granatelli! When he spoke, it was Gospel…at least for anyone who’d spent 99% of their time dedicated to motorsports. He had a way of grinnin’ at you that made you feel like you were invincible. To the world, he was famous as “Mr. Indy 500”, but to me, he’ll always be “Mr. Dave Dusick Foundation”. You see, without Andy, there may not be such a thing…

I’m not exactly sure how, but Andy caught wind of this little thing we called the “I Know Dave Dusick” Collaboration. At the time, it was a fledgling idea of a way to help the kids at Riley Hospital for Children. We had created some t-shirts, made some great friends and even raised a little bit of money. Well, if you knew Andy, a “little bit” of anything wasn’t enough! If it was on Andy’s plate, it was overflowing!!! Fortunately for us, we wound up on Andy’s plate.

I’ll never forget that phone call; in fact, I later screenshot’ed a call from Andy, just to preserve the moment. It was a Santa Barbara number on a random weekday. I answered “Hello, This is Dave.” The strong solid voice on the other line said “Hello, this is Andy Granatelli.” Initially, I wanted to respond with “Cool, well in that case, I’m Dale Earnhardt!!!”. Fortunately, I didn’t. Instead, I listened. What ensued on that short phone call would change my life forever. Andy had learned of our I Know Dave Dusick efforts and wanted to contribute. He had seen the t-shirts and offered to lend his name to us for a charitable t-shirt.

Okay, if you’re not business savvy or motorsports history educated, you may not understand the value of this statement from Mr. Indy 500. This is the guy that built the STP Brand. He built the relationship with Richard Petty. He’s famous for kissing Mario Andretti in Victory Lane of the Indy 500. His custom STP Logo’d Business Suit created the word “branding” well before any stupid marketing guy started using it in presentations. This man knew more about building a brand than I know about having a crooked face! In fact, the point of this Blog is that he probably knew more about having a crooked face than I do! None-the-less, that’s the severity of this phone call. The man who created branding in the sport of auto racing was offering up his brand to me…for free.
**OKAY, GOT IT? Let’s continue…**

So, Andy wanted to do a t-shirt. In hindsight, Andy didn’t want to “do a shirt”; Andy wanted to “blow the doors off this thing and tell the world about Dave Dusick!”. Well, as much as I hate to admit to it, I believe I let Andy down. If you know me, you know I’m pretty proud of myself and that I feel like I can do anything. In fact, I’ve done some pretty cool things…unless you pair me up against “Mr. Indy 500”!! Needless to say, I don’t think we lived up to the greatness that was Andy Granatelli. However, in typical Andy fashion, he still managed to leave his mark on our efforts.

In Andy’s mind, “Andy Granatelli Knows Dave Dusick” was more than a t-shirt; it was a spectacle. Heck, everything Andy believed in eventually became a spectacle! However, for reasons not important, when the day came…it was just a t-shirt. No Press. No Photographers. No Media. No admiring fans (well, actually, there were a few of those!). It was just me, Andy and a group of loyalists who donned the solid black shirts on a 90+ degree day. Most of whom were guests of Andy who wore the shirts because Andy commanded they do so; despite never having met me…

Anyway, here’s the point.

Andy’s Vision for the Dave Dusick Foundation was huge. It was millions of fans, thousands of dollars and hundreds of lives changed. If it were up to Andy, we’d had solved a Cure for Cancer by now!

However, the Dave Dusick Foundation is something that grows with those involved. We have great people who do great work, but it’s not called the Andy Granatelli Foundation for a reason; it’s not about Andy Granatelli. Believe me, if it were, it would exceed Andy’s dreams ten-fold; that’s just the Andy way. However, it’s not; it’s our foundation and it grows at our speed. It took me a long time to come to terms with this with respect to Andy. In fact, I’m not sure I ever did…until this moment.

You see, because of Andy’s Vision, we stepped up our vision. Because of Andy, we were responsible for over $100,000 being contributed to Riley Children’s Foundation in our first year…before we were even a 501(c)3. Because of Andy, we will soon be a 501(c)3 Not-For-Profit Corporation. Because of Andy, we are legitimate. Because of Andy, we will continue to grow and change the world.

The truth is, without Andy’s Vision, we may have never become a 501(c)3. Andy had a way of seeing things like nobody else saw them. He dreamed bigger than the world and made his dreams into reality.

In my case, Andy dreamed something so much bigger than even this young dreamer could imagine. I always felt like I couldn’t live up to his dreams, but now that he doesn’t have the chance to tell me I’m wrong, I feel like the only thing left to do is prove him right. If you knew Andy, you knew he was always right. He believed in me more than I believe in myself; who am I to argue?

When I learned of Andy’s passing, I quickly went to google to find something to give me solace. Here is what I found:

“When you are making a success of something, it’s not work. It’s a way of life. You enjoy yourself because you are making your contribution to the world.”
— Andy Granatelli

Thank You, Mr. Indy 500 for your contribution to my life. Because of you, I have a higher Vision for my contribution to the world.

Godspeed, my friend.

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The Curse of Having Everything You Want

Do you ever stop to think about how crazy life is? Do you ever think about the things you “want” versus the things you have?

Well, if you know me at all, you know I spend a lot of time pondering life’s questions just like these…

Here’s where I’m going with this:
For most of us, we spend the majority of our lives trying to make enough money to do the things we “want”. It seems that no matter how much money we make, it’s just never enough. The funny thing about things is that they’re infinite. The good news is that so is money, so the ability to keep working to make money to collect “things” will always exist!

The funny thing is that most of the people who have lots of “things” are sometimes the least happy. Apparently, money can buy things, but it can’t buy happiness!?! Wait, so that sucks? I spend my whole life working to make money so that I can have things, but things don’t make me happy? Then why do I work?!?!

Well, my friends, that is why I’m laying in bed wide awake at 5:30am in a random hotel room in upstate Maine in the middle of Winter!

Ya see, I’m on a different quest. I’ve been fortunate to have opportunities to live outside the box of normality. I’m blessed to have had the chance to live my dreams and continue to do so on a daily basis. I recently walked away from a solid career opportunity (and a big time salary) to chase my dreams as a motorsports entrepreneur. Now, keep in mind that I tried this adventure once before…and that led to bankruptcy and repossession.

So what leads a guy who’s seen his truck being hauled away on a hook because he couldn’t afford to pay for it back down the very same road that got him there before?

Women. I say women. It’s always those darn women!

Oh wait, no. Wrong blog post. Just kidding! ūüėČ

It’s being happy. True enjoyment is worse than a drug; it’s a curse. It’s the reason people who’ve eaten a $60 piece of meat don’t go to Ponderosa; they just don’t want to!

Okay, so what in the world am I talking about?

Let me tell you a little story…

My name is Dave Dusick. I started driving go-karts at the age of 3 & starting driving competitively at the age of 5. By 15, I had ten years experience in an industry that became the definition for my life. At 19 years old, I was given the opportunity of a lifetime; to become an employee at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. For a kid who’s spent 16 of his 19 years dedicated to the sport of auto-racing, it’s a no brainer! “Duh!” was really the only logical answer to that phone call…

But, on some days, it could be considered the worst career move I’ve ever made.

What? Am I drunk? It’s 5:30am, heck, I suppose I still could be!

No, I’m not.
Here’s my take on it:
When you are 19 years old and you’re given the opportunity to stand at the pinnacle of the industry for which you love, there is only one place to go: down. No, I’m not defying my #PowerOfPositivity pledge, I’m simply stating a fact. The truth is, it’s tough to find a following act for the Job of Your Dreams; especially in your 20’s…

I’ve spent the better part of the last ten years trying to find that “following act” to my dream job. What I’ve learned is that it’s not one “thing”. In fact, having a job greater than my dreams at the age of 19 wasn’t a “Dream Job”, it was merely a stepping stone to what has become a “Dream Life”…

So, what’s my point?
Happiness is a fish that you can catch, but you’ve got to learn to be creative with the definition of a fish.

No matter where you are in life, there’s always a “flip side”. No matter who you compare yourself to, they’ve always got a “yeah, but…” in their life.

In my opinion, life isn’t about achieving dreams or goals; heck, for me it’s been about stumbling upon things so far greater than your dreams and goals that you didn’t even know they existed!!

Life is about defining the things are important to you and spending time enjoying those things…

[*Random Public Service Announcement: Give to Goodwill. You’d be amazed at how many things in your closet that someone out there is dying to have…]

Okay, the sun is coming up over the “mountains” and I think it’s time to go enjoy being stranded at a ski-hill in Maine while my boots & snow gear are resting comfortably in the Philly airport!

So, as the sun comes up this morning wherever you are, stop and think about what you do & why you do it. Ask yourself, am I working towards something or am I just collecting “things”…?

#LiveLife; it’s the only one you get.

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I’m Running Out of Gas!

So the other day I had a panic attack for what turned out to be no good reason. You see, I’m notorious for running out of gas. I drive like 40,000 miles a year and my truck only gets like 15 miles to the gallon. Do the math, that’s a lot of pitstops!

I’ve run out of gas several times, about a half-dozen times in the past year alone, but my most famous incident was in southern Utah. I was moving home from California and pulling a U-Haul trailer full of everything I owned. My sister and I had spent the night in Moab and were headed north towards Mount Rushmore. Rather than taking straight route to interstate 70, we decided to take a scenic route along the beautiful Colorado River. Man, was it amazing. Anyway, the route took longer than expected and next thing you know we are nearing the big E on the fuel gauge. My thought was that we would make it to the interstate and there was sure to be a gas station. Heck, there’s a gas station at every exit, right? Wrong.

We find ourselves in my Silverado with a U-Haul trailer full of my life’s treasures and no gas anywhere to be found. We are in Cisco, Utah, a town so small that it isn’t even on the map! We approach a homestead that resembles your crazy aunt Dolores’s junkpile out back at grandma’s farm. A nice lady greets us only to inform us that this is a small town without electricity or running water. However, we were thrilled to learn that her husband is a former Dallas Cowboys professional football player and that he may just have some gas that we can purchase. Yes, he really was a former football player. Once Google was invented, we googled it. Anyway, we pay $20 for a little less than 5 gallons and they send us on our way. Those extra 50 miles led us to a small Sinclair station in rural Colorado where we were able to solve our dilemma for good.

Another time, I ran out of gas in rural South Carolina. It was the early days of the computer telemetry on vehicles and it told me I had 171 miles to go. My exit was 168 miles away. Lesson learned: the tolerance on the computer is a little greater than 3 miles. I’m always at the forefront of technology and had a cellular card for my laptop. I use this to determine the closest gas station and called them for help. They sent an elderly southern black gentleman in a sparkling Cadillac to save the day. We filled up my tank and I followed him to the station only to find that they didn’t take credit cards. I left them my drivers license and drove another 20 miles to get cash from an ATM to return and pay for the gas.

Wow, I had forgotten about all those stories until just now. Bottom line, my gas gauge and I are not exactly best friends.

Anyway, the other day. I was driving along my last unchartered stretch of the Atlantic Coast line in America; The Outer Banks of North Carolina. I started early in the morning with a sunrise on Virginia Beach and quickly jumped in the truck and headed south. Given my tendency, I was smart enough to check the gas gauge and be sure that it was full before I embarked. Pegged at F, good to go!

Okay, fast-forward about ten hours. NC-12 was washed out due to the effects of hurricane Sandy, so I had to take a detour through the North Carolina intercoastal backwoods. I’ve seen just about all of this country, and I’ve got to be honest, this was some of the most backwoods backwoods I’ve ever seen! However, having said that, it was truly remarkable. Some of the most beautiful country I have seen. It’s kind of a cross between the Everglades and central Iowa; farmfields as far as you can see, but the water table is just about surface-level. I imagine it would make a great area for a dirt track?!?

So, I’m driving along and notice my gas gauge is at about 3/8 of a tank. For most vehicles, that would be great. However, my truck has been beaten down so many times that 3/8 of a tank really means about 1/8 of a tank. I quickly check telemetry and it says I had used 18 gallons. For some reason, I freaked out. I think it’s the multiple times in the last six months combined with the stranded feeling I’ve had so many times before.

Throw in the fact that I haven’t had cell service and over an hour and it’s nearing dusk. I’m usually pretty calm, but for whatever reason, this one had me a little freaked out. I hadn’t eaten all day and I’m sure that that led to my inability to think clearly.

Okay, now is where you should listen. After paragraphs of rambling, this is the entire point of the story: Every problem has a solution.

The manner in which we approach the problem determines how quickly we find the best solution. The problem is that our emotional memory bank full of life’s experiences clouds our judgment. It is easy to think when we are unimpeded by emotion, but unless you are a robot, it’s hard to ignore emotions.

On this day, my emotions got the best of me. I immediately jumped to worst-case scenario; 24 gallons used is empty, I’m at 18. 6 gallons at 15 miles equals 75 miles. The next town was 60. That’s only 25% margin. I’m never going to make it. It’s getting dark. I don’t have any cell service. There is nobody around. Oh no! I am doomed.

The truth is this. I had been averaging closer to 20 miles per gallon this trip. The day before I found really cheap gas and filled it all the way up to the top of the neck. That is good for at least 2 to 3 more gallons. If you look at that 7 gallons times 20 miles for gallon, you get closer to 140 miles. To add insult to injury, I learned I had actually driven right through a small town with a gas station while in my haste.

When it was said and done, the nice young man at the family-owned gas station in Belhaven, NC put a grand total of 18 gallons in my truck. My fancy iPhone app told me I average 20.5 miles per gallon for that tank. That means I could have in fact easily driven an additional 120 miles.

Plain and simple, I freaked out for no reason. I believe that this is the in result to most problems. Sure, there are much more serious issues than running out of gas in the middle of nowhere, but at the end of the day, we all have problems facing us. How we address them determines the severity of said problem.

Here is a thought process that I try to use…
When I’m thinking clearly, to evaluate the severity of a problem like this: Will I remember this in one hour, one day, one week, one month, six months, one year or five years from now? The truth is that there are very few problems that drastically effect your life. In fact, most of our daily worries are truly inconsequential to our life. If we can just slow down and think clearly, then we can come up with an easy solution that requires very little stress…

So, the next time you’re really stressed out, just stop. Take a deep breath. Slow down. Think clearly. Is this really a big deal? Even if it is, keep your wits about you and come up with a proper solution without letting your emotions and past experiences cloud your judgment. Just because you run out of gas before, doesn’t mean you’re out of gas now.

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Do You Know Dave Dusick? Yes, Yes You Do!

So, it’s been a LONG time since I’ve written a blog. Actually, that’s a lie. I’ve written about four, but I haven’t published any of them. I just can’t seem to get it right. The subject, you ask? Me! Dave Dusick. I know, sounds simple, right? Nope. Not as simple as you think…

“I am the one and only,
nobody I’d rather be.
I am the one and only,
you can’t take that away from me…”
 РThe One & Only, Chesney Hawkes
For a guy who spends a LOT of time talking about himself, it’s amazing how hard it is to sit down and try to explain yourself. At the end of the day, I think that’s it…I can’t really “explain myself”.
Right now, I’m jammin’ out to “Songs for Sale” by David Nail. ¬†It’s on repeat to help me keep my train of thought…
“Some are called to preach the gospel,¬†
string fence in¬†Colorado…
Some are born to raise a family,
swing a hammer at a nail,
haul bricks or carry mail; 
Go to college, Duke or Yale…
But, me…
I got Songs for Sale.”
 РSongs for Sale, David Nail
This song really speaks to me because I think I’ve spent a large portion of my life searching for my “thing”. I’ve been blessed to spend the majority of my life dedicated to motorsports. It’s been an amazing run that continues to yield¬†experiences¬†I never could have imagined. However, at the end day, is that who Dave Dusick is?
No, I don’t think so.
Okay, so thirty out of thirty-five years dedicated to one thing…and that’s not who you are? ¬†Okay, fine. It is a large part of me, but it’s not all of me.
Fine, so who is Dave Dusick? ¬†Wow. I hope you’ve got some free time! ūüėČ
No, that’s where I’m going to make this one different. Here’s the bottom line, I’m a function of the people around me…
Since the day I was born, I’ve been blessed to be surrounded to an amazing support structure.¬†My family is unbelievable. Not just my Mom, Dad & Sister; but the whole Dusick clan. My aunts, uncles and all the cousins. They are absolutely the most loving people I’ve ever met. It gives me great honor to be the sole bearer of the Dusick name. I can’t wait to carry on the family tradition…
My friends; Wow, what an eclectic group! Looking back, I guess I’ve always been blessed to have a great environment surrounded by people who’ve looked out for me. I may be similar to a three-legged dog that everyone just loves; but hey, I’m truly grateful for those who “had my back” without me ever knowing it…
Then there’s those who’ve touched my life by sharing theirs with me. ¬†There’s been drunken nights in 49 states and nearly a dozen countries; and I wouldn’t trade one of them. ¬†It’s not about the drinks, the bar / house / beach / racetrack; it’s about the guy/girl that was standing next to me….
Finally, the women. Oh, the women… I love women. They’re amazing creatures.¬†
“The trouble with girls is they’re a mystery,
something about ’em puzzles me.
Spent my whole life trying to figure out,
just what them girls are all about.
The trouble with girls is they’re so dang pretty,
everything¬†about ’em does something to me.
But, I guess that’s the way it’s supposed to be…”
 РThe Trouble with Girls, Scotty McCreery
No, seriously. For a long portion of my life, there were two things that motivated me: racecars & women. In fact, for a long time, I lived by the “even a great woman plays second best to a good racecar” philosophy. However, it took great women to teach me otherwise. I know that there are a few that still probably growl when they hear my name, but I can say this without a doubt: I would not be the man I am today without the influence of the amazing women who’ve created, opened, held, touched, moulded and broken my heart throughout the years…
One day, a woman will walk into my life, take all these puzzle pieces and put them together. At that moment, everything will have been for a reason…
So, a great family. Unbelievable friends & some great women. That’s Dave Dusick? Yup!
Ya see, that’s just it…who I am, is a function of who YOU are.
“Life isn’t about the experiences we have,¬†
it’s about the people with whom we share them…”
For years, I worried that I was a horrible friend, but one day a good friend explained the following: 
“Dave, you have more friends than any person I’ve ever met. If you were a bad friend, that wouldn’t be the case. Relax, we love you for who you are.”
Since that day, I’ve tried to embrace “who I am”. I’m me. I could spend hours throwing out adjectives, telling stories and apologizing for the past thirty-five years, but why?!? It’s been the best thirty-five years that I believe anybody could ever have…and I’m truly grateful for all 12,826 days* of my life!!
That’s what this whole “I Know Dave Dusick” thing has taught me.¬†It’s crazy, but there are literally thousands of people whom I can call my friend. There are even some crazy enough to wear a t-shirt with MY name on in!?!? ¬†At the end of the day, THEY do know Dave Dusick. He may be a different person for each one of them, but to them, he’s Dave Dusick.¬†
At the end of the day, that’s best answer I can give.
Here’s a line from a Live version of “Somethin’ More” by Sugarland that I relate to on every level…
“Ya know, I’ve got to tell y’all something…
People, they come up to us all the time and they say:
‘Jennifer & Kristian, y’all are so lucky..
getting to go out on the road and play your music for a living.’
And, I tell you what Lexington, Kentucky…
I look at all your smiling faces here this evening,
and you know what I say to that?
¬†– Somethin’ More, Sugarland
You know, people come up to me all the time and say:
“Dave, you’re so lucky getting to travel the world and meet all the people you do…”
Well, world,¬†you know what I say to that…?
For that, I Thank You.

*Yes, I used Excel to calculate the exact number of days in my life.

The One and Only, Chesney Hawkes
Songs for Sale, David Nail
The Trouble with Girls, Scotty McCreery
Somethin’ More (Live on the Inside DVD), Sugarland
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Yesterday. Today. Tomorrow.

Yesterday sucked.

I was in a little brown box we called a ‘tower’ at the Cycle Ranch MX Park in Floresville, TX. We were preparing to officiate an intense Championship battle in the USAC / TORC Off-Road Series. You could feel the stress greater than the stupid dry heat. Then, in an instant, it all changed. It’s a moment I won’t likely forget; “Hey man, they’re saying Wheldon was hurt at Vegas. It’s bad.”

My stomach dropped. My immediate thoughts were with my friends who had an emotional connection with him. Then come the few brief moments we shared and his amazingly bright and sparkling personality. Then, the desire for hope comes; you hope it’s a false report, you hope it’s not as bad as you hear. You hope for a miracle.

Quickly, without conscious thought, I realize I’m in the middle of something bigger than my self. With knots in our throats, we fire up for our race. It came and went; but, in the scheme of things, it was inconsequential. By this point, I knew what was coming. In wasn’t long after that the news came in; we’d lost our Champion.

Ya know, this is something that you just can’t explain to a ‘normal’ person. ‘Normal’ people say “Did you know him?” or they say “He died doing what he loved”. Racers, we don’t see it that way. We say “Sh*t”. We say “F*ck”. We say “D*mn”. We feel a strong pain straight through our typically guarded hearts.

Ya see, for most of us, this is our life. It’s not just something that we “do”, it’s not a “hobby”, it’s not a “career”; it’s who we are. We’re racers. Like cowboys, outlaws or rebels, we’re a unique breed. All of us have different stories, but in the end, we’re all the same: we dedicate our lives to our shared passion.

It’s that shared passion that bonds us into a very tightly knit community. Sure, we spend our lives trying to be better than the guy next to us; but when that guy falls….we stop and pick him up. He’s not a teammate, competitor or friend; he’s a brother.

When we lose one of our own, we lose a brother.

Fast forward a few hours. I’m mourning the loss of my IndyCar brother while surrounded by a community of Off-Road racers. They don’t feel my pain, but they understand it. Then the bottom drops out. A phone call from one of their own to inform them they’ve lost one of their own; two in fact. 2009 TORC Champion Rick Huseman and his brother were involved in a plane crash, ironically, on a flight home from Vegas. Neither survived.

Instantly, the community around me sank to my level. Strike #2 into my heart. Just a few hours before I was wishing they could help me through my thoughts, now, I found myself needing to help them through theirs…

I didn’t know Rick personally, but again, my friends were his friends. Know him or not, he was my brother. He had a family, and his family is my family.

Although surrounded by tragedy, the next few hours will always be some of the most memorable of my life. I was surrounded by a couple of guys that not only shared my pain, they shared my exact thoughts. Remember that “shared passion” thing, yeah, that’s us. We did what any good racer would do, we drank beer. We reminisced. We cried. We laughed. We cried again. It was a fitting end to a sh*tty day.

So, now, it’s Today.

I’m up before the sun and on headed back to “real life”. My tears haven’t subsided and my pain still lingers for my motorsports family; but I’ve got another life and duty calls.

So, here I am. I’m sitting on a plane trying to ‘wrap up’ a sh*tty day so I can start fresh with a new one. Honestly, my first thought was “who cares”? I sell generators that make people money. It’s not life or death, there’s no passion; it’s just business. Just business. My family is hurting and I need to do whatever I can to support them. F business.

But then, my world became right again. I was looking for answers and I found them. I read an article by a close friend to Wheldon. This article wasn’t about Dan Wheldon, Two-time Indy 500 Champion. This article was about Dan Wheldon, husband and father…

At that instant, in the middle of the San Antonio airport, the waterworks started all over. That’s why. That’s why I’m on this plane and that’s why I’m going to work hard for something with no passion.

Ok, if you know me, you’re confused. I don’t have kids & I just ended a relationship with a woman I thought was going to be my wife. That’s ok, it doesn’t mean I don’t have a plan…

Ya see, this is something I’ve struggled with for a long time; “racing” versus “real life”. For the better part of 29 of my 34 years on this earth, I’ve dedicated my life to my passion. I’ve never really had a plan, but as long as I was doing what I loved, I didn’t need one…

Well, at some point, I learned different. I learned that there is more in life than just this passion for motorsports. There’s a whole wide world out there and it’s got a lot to offer!!!

Thankfully, DW was learning this lesson as well. The article that calmed my nerves explained that he was changing. He was turning down rides so that he could spend time with his family. He was finding joy in something besides Victory Lane. While he still ‘wanted’ to race, he didn’t ‘need’ to race…

‘Want’ vs. ‘Need’?!? Wow. Profound. That’s me. That’s why I’m on this plane and not still sitting at that bar reminiscing with my mourning brethren.

So, after a brief journal entry and a verbose blog, it’s time to turn the corner and face the world. Sh*t!, now what?

Wait. That’s easy. What comes after today? Tomorrow.

Tomorrow, I’ll live & learn. I’ve been working on balance and I’ll continue to do-so. Hopefully, I’ll remember the lost of my racing brothers and focus more energy on spending time with my families; biological, personal and professional. I’ll tell somebody I love them if I do. I’ll tell somebody if I’m upset so that we can focus on making it better. I’ll continue to push my energy towards those that contribute to my life and draw from those that detract from it…

I’ll continue to build a career so that I may have a solid foundation for my future family. I’ll also stay close to my roots and feed my passion as much as I can.

Somewhere in between, we’ll build the DD Foundation and we’ll change lives. We’ll find a way to heal broken hearts and ease worried minds. We’ll spread the Power of Positivity to the world, one person and one day at a time…

But, regardless; I’ll love. I’ll feel pain. I’ll succeed & I’ll fail; and I’ll be me. I’ll live life the only way I know how and when my checkered flag falls on this crazy ride, I’ll know I did the best I could; just like Wheldon and Huseman. Godspeed, brothers, Godspeed.


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Rock Bottom

“When you hit rock bottom,
You’ve got two ways to go
Straight up
And sideways…
I’ve seen my share of hard times
And I’m letting you know:
Straight up…is my way”
— The Judds

Ya know, I spend a lot of time preaching about staying positive and making your life better. I imagine if you don’t know me, it seems a bit like a silver-spoon-golden-sperm-club-kid telling you that “money isn’t everything”. Well, I’m here to tell ya, I’ve seen the bottom…and I know how it feels. Although I hate to admit it, my life isn’t always Rainbows & Unicorns…

Whether it’s financial, personal or emotional; I’ve been there. Although, I dunno, maybe not? I suppose we should define “Rock Bottom”. What is “Rock Bottom”? I’d say, “Rock Bottom” is when you are absolutely sure things can’t get any worse. Ok, so, I suppose I’ve never been there. I’ve never felt like my “life was over”, but then again, I believe that’s a perception issue. So, for the sake of the arguement, we’ll say I have been there!!!

So, yeah, Rock Bottom. Rock Bottom Brewery: great beer. I love the Brickyard Brown. Oh wait, different Rock Bottom. Focus, Dave, focus…

So, some might say I’m at Rock Bottom right now. I just ended a fifteen month relationship with a woman I expected to marry. The hardest part is that I still love her dearly; but, sometimes love just isn’t enough…

So yeah, Rock Bottom? Maybe. For some, yes; for me, maybe. Here’s the deal: I look at Rock Bottom as an opportunity for a ‘clean slate’. I’ve heard it said that “problems are just opportunities for change”; I suppose I look at Rock Bottom as the same situation…an opportunity for change.

Ok, so Rock Bottom. Rock Bottom comes in many different forms; personal, emotional and financial. We get to Rock Bottom by a myriad of methods; sometimes it’s external, sometimes it’s internal and sometimes it’s completely unknown…you just wake up one day and realize you’re there. BUT, no matter what the circumstances or the reasons, one thing remains the same: it’s a place for opportunity!!!

Ok, now before you give up on me, let me kinda let you into how my head works…

Rock Bottom — September 2011
So, I thought I was getting married. I thought I was in love with a woman ‘forever’. Now, I realize it’s not. Now, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t heartbroken. There’s obviously an emotional side to this that’s not included…but, I overcome my emotions by using logic. So, let’s use logic!!! I’m thirty-four years old and surprisingly single. Ok, now what?!? Well, I always say life is “10% Circumstance & 90% Reaction”…so, here’s my circumstance, how do I react?!?!

Here’s how I’m reacting…
I’m working on me. I’m looking at who I am and how I got here. I’m self-reflecting and working on understanding how I need to change to try to not put myself in this position again. I’m also focusing on the positive. I’m grateful for being 34 and un-engaged, as opposed to 40 with two kids and divorced. The bottom line: it could always be worse…

So, here I am. What next? THAT is really the key. When I get to a major life change, I turn the corner.

No more:
“But, what about this…what about that?”
“Oh, man I really miss ____ and I’m never going to have ____ again…”

Instead, try:
“That’s yesterday, let’s talk about tomorrow…”
“You can’t move forward if you’re looking backward…”

So, I’m taking my own advice, I’m working on tomorrow. I’m looking at my Life Goals and adjusting to be sure I find them. I’m looking at this as a chance to try new things, do things I had given up on and to explore the world to find things I didn’t know existed. My life isn’t over, it’s just beginning!!!

Now, I’m sure my female friends are accusing me of being cold-hearted and worse. Now, before you pass judgement, give me the benefit of the doubt and keep reading. Let’s take a look at another example. It’s a different situation, but my approach was the same…

Rock Bottom — April 2010
It was the Saturday of the Final Four weekend. Butler was set to play in their first ever Big Dance Apperance. I was taking a nap on my couch when my neighbor comes busting through my front door screaming “get your keys…NOW!!!!” He had a look on his face like the apocalypse was eminent. I’ll never forget the urgency and concern in his voice. Unfortunately, it was for not; by the time I was coherent, it was too late…

The Repo Man was outside hooking up to my truck. I was 45 Days late on my payment. I had been conversing with the bank about a solution, but had been out of town and didn’t see an email warning of the consequences. No excuses, I voided the agreement and they were claiming what was theirs…

So, I jumped off the couch and approached the guy who was here to take my beloved Avalanche. We talked and it was clear there was no way to talk myself out of this situation (which, is rare for a charismatic guy like me!!!). Fortunately, he was a good guy and stood quietly while I emptied several years of my life out from the console and underneath the backseat. I even chased him down the street to get the IMS Parking Sticker from the window…

I’ve got to tell you, I’ll never forget the scene as I watched my truck pull out of my drive on a hook…knowing I’d never see it again.

In the next few hours, I did what I have come to learn as my ‘therapy’; I journaled. I sat down and poured out my emotions into words that nobody but me will every read. As I remember, there was one thing that stood out during the experience: Chris’s concern for my well-being. He was so upset and was trying to protect me like I was his child. I’ll never forget the look in his eyes. In spite of the negativity of the day, that was a shining light…

You see, less than a year earlier, I had an epiphany on a deserted island: I wasn’t proud of the person I had become. While I had many successes and accomplishments, when it was all said and done, I wasn’t proud of who I was…

So, on this day, a day that some would say is Rock Bottom, I was actually proud. I was proud that I had built a friendship so strong that a grown man would bust through my door with great concern for my well-being. Sure, I was ashamed and worried about my parents and their disapproval of my life; but in the end, I knew I was growing as a person…

Incidentally, I turned a corner that day and have built a solid financial foundation for myself. For fun, I’ll throw in a line from a current hit song that hits me every time…

“One year they reposses your truck,
And the next you make a couple million bucks…”
— Jason Aldean

It’s been almost eighteen months and I’m better. I’m not at the top, but I’m on my way again. I hit Rock Bottom, I learned from it and and I’ve got a plan to ensure I never see it again…

So yeah, at the end of the day, life usually isn’t “over”…it just changes. I suppose the underlying trait here is “Hope”. No matter how bad life gets, you just have to have “Hope”. It’s easy for me; there was a night a little over thirty years ago that I hit the ultimate Rock Bottom… I was sick with an incurable cancer and it was bad. My white cell count was dropping and they didn’t figure I’d see the light of day… BUT, I did. Since that day, we’ve never looked back. One day at a time, but always up. Now, I’m a crooked faced little guy who can’t seem to conquer this thing called love, and has never been very good with money….but, I’m alive…and that beats the alternative!!!

I dunno, guys, I dunno if there’s something useful in this for you or not. But, I hope so. I hope that I can rub off my “positivity” on you. If you read this and you think you’re at Rock Bottom, call me. Let me see if I can’t help you find a solution for change…

Life isn’t always Rainbows & Unicorns, but it’s not about the destination…it’s about the journey!!!

I’ll finish with a quote from Miley Cyrus:
“But..I…I gotta keep trying
Gotta keep my head up high
There’s always gonna be another mountain
I’m always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be an uphill battle
Sometimes I’m gonna have to lose

Ain’t about how fast I get there
Ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side
It’s the climb…”

Wow, she’s hot…is she legal yet?!? LOL…

That’s all I’ve got; I hope it helps. Just remember:
“The best part about Rock Bottom is that it only goes up from here…”
— Dave Dusick

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Living Eulogy: Penny Dusick


I actually wrote this a few months ago, but like many things in life, just never felt like it was finished. ¬†Well, I suppose that’s the point of this whole “Living Eulogy” series; to say things that you don’t normally get around to saying. ¬†So, on this Mother’s Day, I decided that saying not-exactly-complete words were better than keeping what had been said to myself. ¬†So yeah, my first Living Eulogy:

Penny Dusick

Selfless. Loving. Dedicated. Amazing.

Penny Lee Davis was born on December 6th, 1952.¬†¬†While I didn’t know her as a child, I can only imagine she was a fun and free spirited individual from the time she was born.¬†¬†Her family and friends say she was a riot as a teenager and always full of life.¬†¬†She married Robert “Bud” Dusick on September XX, 19XX and became Penny Dusick.

Over her nearly sixty years on this earth, there are about a million adjectives that could be used to attempt to describe Mrs. Penny Lee Davis Dusick, but none can solely encompass this simply complicated woman.¬†¬†If I were to sum it up into one word; that word would be “amazing”.¬†¬†She is a lot of things, but the sum of those adjectives all lead to a person that is simply amazing.

To help illustrate, I’ll tell a little story:

My first introduction to Penny Dusick was about 8pm on April 29, 1977; the day I was born.¬†¬†Penny is my mom.¬†¬†From here on out, I’ll refer to her as such.¬†¬†I was their first born, she was 24 years old.¬†¬†To me, it was her actions the days shortly after my birth that truly define my mother as a person.¬†¬†You see, I credit my mother for saving my life.

About a year after I was born, my mother noticed something.  She, like all concerned mothers went straight to our pediatrician.  While the peds doc agreed, the hospital denied that anything was the matter.  My mom, with Dr. Singh leading the way, would not stand down.  They pushed and pushed until they found a hospital who would look further into this concern.

Within days, I was diagnosed with an incurable cancer and my mom was in the waiting room while her first born was in surgery.  For most twenty-five year old moms, this would be devastating.  I know very few young people who could handle this sort of news.  However my mom, who was also in her early years of Nursing School, rose to the challenge.  Her little boy was sick and it was her job to make sure he got better.

Strength & Dedication:

The next few years were probably harder than anyone can ever imagine.¬†¬†I look back at pictures from those days and it makes me cry just to see the unique combination of fear, pain & love in everyone’s eyes.¬†¬†But, one person stood tall through those times…my mom.

Looking back, I believe it was that Nursing education combined with the inner strength and dedication that saved my life.¬†¬†My mom challenged every doctor, every nurse and every nay-sayer.¬†¬†She studied, pushed, learned and loved…and never once backed down from her belief that she could save me.

In the end, we beat all the odds and I’m here today to tell you how amazing my mother is.¬†¬†Some call it fate, some call it a Miracle or Divine Intervention, but I believe it was all of the above…with my mom acting as the Project Manager.¬†¬†She fought and willed all the cancers into submission.

Obviously, this part of the story ends here…but, the real story was just beginning.

Selfless & Loving:

In the thirty years since those days, I have seen my mother do all sorts of things.¬†¬†From creating a support group for other mothers and children with facial anomalies to being the best infant death bereavement counselor in the area, my mom’s life has been devoted to helping others.

She’s the first person to be there for a friend in need.¬†¬†She’s never met a stranger, and every person she meets is her friend.¬†¬†Her phone rings daily from former patients, random friends and family members looking for medical advice, emotional support or just a friendly voice.

As a mom, she’s the ultimate.¬†¬†Birthdays and Christmas are her favorite.¬†¬†She loves to give joy to us kids.¬†¬†Now, as a grandmother, she’s the world’s greatest. ¬†My niece, Baby Isabella, will be the single most loved human being in the history of the world, and Bubu Penny is the leader of that clan…


At the end of the day, she’s my Mom and I love her with all my heart. ¬†I don’t always say it, and don’t always act like it, but I love her.

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