Yes, Track Night in America Driven by Tire Rack is about getting to have a great time in your car on a racetrack. But it's also so much more. A big part of what makes Track Night special is the people. The drivers, the volunteers, and the staff. They are the ones that create a fantastic community of welcoming, fun-loving, and enthusiastic people that are the lifeblood of the program.
Last week at VIR, Track Night got to play a role in an incredible moment in the lives of two of our Track Night regulars.
When Jake Nicholas reached out to the Track Night team about proposing to his girlfriend, Kelly Breedlove, during an event, the team leaped into action to make them happy.
Kelly and Jake came to their car hobby independently and then found each other. And we won't say they jumped the gun a little bit, but the wedding venue had already been reserved for April 2021 at, you guessed it, VIRginia International Raceway.
So why not begin the journey with a proposal on the track? Jake coordinated with the Track Night leads to concoct his plan, and at the end of the event, Jake and Kelly headed out on track to find a part that a flagger reported had "fallen off his car."
"His car is 20 years old, and it seemed legit something would fall off of it," Kelly laughed.
Once at the top of VIR's rollercoaster series of corners, Jake pulled the car over.
"I told her last year that I was going to propose in Las Vegas at the 'roller coaster' on top of the Stratosphere in Las Vegas," Jake said. "I knew at that point that I was going to propose at the Roller Coaster at VIR. I asked a few friends about possible opportunities before I knew we were going to Track Night. When she signed up, I instantly signed up and started doing some homework. Thanks to a bunch of nice people at Track Night, the opportunity was granted, and I got to express my love for my future wife in a very apt place... at the top of the hill on a 'roller coaster.'"
With a date picked out for the actual wedding, the question maybe wasn't much of a surprise.
"As we neared Track Night, he was being weird about things… so I felt he might try to do it at Track Night," Kelly told us." Once we got to the track and as the sessions went by, I figured maybe he was going to stick with the Stratosphere, since we were going to have to leave for Vegas the next morning.
"Then at the end of the day someone came up to him, and he came over to me and said something had fallen off the Vette, and we needed to go check it out. This seemed legit as he is pretty aggressive on track, and the car is 20 years old, so why not. Things became clear when we passed the corner worker, stopped at the top of Roller Coaster, and I saw Tradd hiding behind the wall with his camera. I got out of the car and said that this was not the Stratosphere! He said he told me the entire time he was going to propose on top of the roller coaster, and this was Roller Coaster. He then got down on his knee, said some lovely sweet things, and offered up the ring."
In all, it was the perfect proposal for a car-crazy couple. And we're sure there are many more Track Nights in both of their future.
"I somehow managed to find the one person in the world who gets me, knows how to poke me when I'm doing something wrong, or need to re-evaluate, and knows how to make me grow," Jake said. "We race together often, at the road course, the drag strip, or the autocross. I've gone out on week-long races before, and she plays life support when I get home for a few days. We just fit together really well, and as we start down the 'roller coaster', I know I can't live without her.
"Track night helped me show that I really can't, and I deeply appreciate it."
Photos by Tradd Slayton