IRL: J. Ward Pikes Peak preview

For the Dads: * The Heritage Motorsports team was established by Jim Rathmann, Jr. and John Mecom III in tribute of the legendary careers of their fathers, Jim Rathmann, Sr. and John Mecom, Jr. "Our dads built history at race tracks all over...

For the Dads:

* The Heritage Motorsports team was established by Jim Rathmann, Jr. and John Mecom III in tribute of the legendary careers of their fathers, Jim Rathmann, Sr. and John Mecom, Jr.

"Our dads built history at race tracks all over the world," said Jim Rathmann, Jr. "We're building from their foundation to create a successful future for this team."

"This opportunity has allowed my dad and me to share a part of our family's heritage at the track," said Rathmann, Jr. "It's something I hope to share with my own son someday."

"I couldn't ask for a better mentor or partner than my dad," said John Mecom, III. "He has driven himself and everyone around him to perform at a higher level than his competition."

Jeff's Racing Motivation:

Ward was first exposed to racing as a toddler by his father, Jack Ward, and began riding mini-bikes as a four year old. His dad raced bicycles in the Tour de France and also raced motorcycles professionally. The family now cheers on their third generation racer, Brandon, Ward's eight-year-old son.

"My dad is the reason I started racing motorcycles. Some of my earliest memories are with him, learning to ride mini-bikes. I grew up watching him race, and he quit so that he could take me to the tracks to race. I wouldn't be where I am if it weren't for him."

"Racing is Brandon's choice, and he loves riding motorcycles. He says it's his favorite thing to do. Watching him amazes me but at the same time it scares me. He goes all out on jumps without any fear and he's good at it, too."

Luck on the Track:

In the previous two races at Indy and Texas, the Heritage Motorsports team had been running third when the car sustained mechanical problems forcing them to finish each race at the back of the pack.

"I believe I make my own opportunities on the track, but making it to the end of the race does require some luck. The team tries to cover all the bases, but you never really know. It takes luck keeping parts together and the motor intact."

"Some drivers believe it's better to be lucky than good."

Team Work:

The Heritage Motorsports crew will be on the road four of the next five weeks racing and testing. The team works seven days a week preparing two cars for each race.

"Going into the busiest part of the season, the only way to be successful is to be prepared," said team manager, Mitch Davis. "We've put together two identical cars ready for the next few races. We didn't have all the latest and greatest pieces for both cars until Indy, but having two in top racing condition takes a little of the strain off the team, because we can rotate them if we need to."

"The guys have to spend everyday together working for a common goal," said Davis. "We've had some good performances this season, which keeps our momentum up. But, it's a long season. We have to put conflicts aside and work side by side everyday to be successful."

Ward Family Vacation:

Ward's family; wife Candice; sons Brandon, Ayrton and Alain; and daughter Siena travel to every race to watch dad compete. The family will be taking a mini-vacation in Colorado between the Texas and Pikes Peak races.

"I was away from home for five weeks, preparing for Indy. So, the family is putting in some quality time between the next two races. Even though we're going from race to race, driving to Colorado together in the motorhome will give us more time to spend together. "

"Having my family with me at each race, allows me to stay focused at the track. I'm not missing them or worried about what may be going on at home. And, the kids love coming out the tracks. They've grown up around racing."

-HM

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