Ford Racing Mustang Challenge Racer Profile: Dan Aweida--Some Guys Just Want to Have Fun 19 August, 2010--A competitor can have many faces. For some, it is a face of grit, focus and resolve. For others, it's a hearty laugh, a bit of trash talk...
Ford Racing Mustang Challenge Racer Profile: Dan Aweida--Some Guys Just Want to Have Fun
19 August, 2010--A competitor can have many faces. For some, it is a face of grit, focus and resolve. For others, it's a hearty laugh, a bit of trash talk and the pure joy of going mano-a-mano. Ford Racing Mustang Challenge stalwart, Dan Aweida, is firmly among the latter. For the Boulder, Colorado resident, racing, particularly in the Mustang Challenge, is simply about the race, as in the thrill of competition.
A quick learner, Aweida rates himself a capable racer who on any given day can challenge for podiums. Even though he didn't grow up behind the wheel of a kart, that's in no way a deterrent to showing up on the start line. What would be a deterrent is the day it all stops being fun. So the Mustang Challenge provides the ideal home for Aweida. Balanced competition and enduring camaraderie are hallmarks of the series.
"I used to get really stressed out about my performance and car's performance. But, I've learned over the past couple of seasons that going with the flow is more fun. Instead of agonizing about the car's grip and how to improve it, I've learned to drive the problem, to make it an advantage. So if the car is loose, let's learn how to be as fast as possible with a loose car and turn it into an advantage," says Aweida.
His comment proved prescient. At New Jersey Motorsports Park, Aweida had run all of his test and practice sessions on very worn tires. Heavy overnight rain meant that when the Mustang Challenge field arrived to qualify for race 1 of the double-header weekend on Saturday morning, the track was damp all over, and even wet in places. Despite everyone running on new tires, including Aweida, the grip levels where no where near what had been experienced previously. Except that is for Aweida, who had suffered from lack of grip up to then. Now with everyone else having to adjust, Aweida, set the standard and recorded his first series pole position, which lead to a his second series podium later that day.
Away from the racetrack, he spends the workday tending to the family business which includes real estate holdings and a venture capital fund. Married to his wife Tina with two kids Rachel and Trevor, like most everyone else he has to take out the trash and run the mundane errands of every day life. His 14-year old son, Trevor, has recently taken up karting and Aweida possibly sees that as the next phase of his passion for motorsports, this time vicariously through Trevor. But, he still enjoys competing behind the wheel too much himself to hang up the helmet anytime soon. Racing is his outlet, a time to blow off accumulated steam.
"This is a great way for me to relieve the stresses of budgets and putting out fires, especially recently with the economy, and have some fun with friends. I've always loved cars and I wish my job could be doing this everyday, but overall, I'm not complaining!" he adds.
Without seeing Aweida in action in his daily life, it's hard to imagine seeing him stressed. On the same New Jersey weekend, amid sweltering heat, Aweida left the track one night to pick up some supplies. He returned not just with the supplies, but with an inflatable pool that he promptly set up in the back of his Ford truck, and complete with a string of lights and plenty of cold beer, hosted an impromptu pool bash right in the middle of the track paddock area.
It's not enough, however, for Aweida to have a good time. Inspired by one of his two racing heroes, Paul Newman (Mario Andretti being the other), Aweida wants to combine racing with a good cause. This season, his matte black FR500S Mustang has been adorned with hot pink racing stripes to raise some money to benefit breast cancer research. His mother-in-law is a breast cancer survivor, and he's come to find out that a number of individuals within the Mustang Challenge paddock are close to someone also afflicted with breast cancer.
"You can't bring up the topic without someone knowing someone who's dealing with breast cancer. And it's not, 'I know someone who knows someone,' it's within a close radius, you can reach out and touch someone who has been affected," says Aweida. "So I want to give 50% of race winnings to breast cancer research."
Where Aweida goes from here remains to be seen. What is certain is that whether he's racing his Mustang, driving his own muscle car around Boulder, at the kart track with Trevor, or skiing the Rockies with his family, Dan Aweida will find a way to make sure he, and everyone else, is having a blast.