Home Depot Racing -- Nan Zipadelli's interview

Nan Zipadelli First Mother's Day ATLANTA (May 8, 2002) - It was September 5, 2001 when Zachary Charles Zipadelli was born, making Nan Zipadelli a first-time mom. Eight months later in her full-time role as mom, the wife of Home Depot Racing...

Nan Zipadelli
First Mother's Day

ATLANTA (May 8, 2002) - It was September 5, 2001 when Zachary Charles Zipadelli was born, making Nan Zipadelli a first-time mom. Eight months later in her full-time role as mom, the wife of Home Depot Racing crew chief Greg Zipadelli looks forward to the second of just three off-weekends on the NASCAR Winston Cup Series schedule. Not only is her husband home from the marathon-like grind of the Winston Cup schedule, but this weekend is Mother's Day weekend - Nan's first as a full-fledged mom.

What has motherhood been like? Is it what you expected?

"It's a lot of work, but the benefits are totally beyond what I ever thought they would be. What you get out of it is just so much more than I could have ever expected. It makes everything else seem trivial."

Do you have a new appreciation for Mother's Day, and why you gave cards and presents to your mom as a child?

"Oh yeah. Just the other day I had to go run some errands and Mike McLaughlin (Busch Series driver for Joe Gibbs Racing) took Zach over to his motorhome. When I came back in and Zach heard my voice, he wanted me. He was fine playing with his Matchbox cars, but then when he saw me and wanted me and started kissing all over my faceâ^À¦ Mike said, 'He knows his mom.' That's when you know what 'mom' means."

Have there been any surprises or moments that just made you stop in your tracks and laugh?

"There have been a lot of moments when he just makes you laugh. But the hardest was when he was sick. He was seven months, and it was the first time he was ever sick. So, that was a long weekend. When you're not sleeping, you appreciate it more, but at the same time, none of that matters anymore when they're hurting. But there are other times, like when Zach peed on his father, that are pretty comical."

What is it like being a mother and dealing with the rigors of the Winston Cup schedule?

"Probably the hardest part was when Zach was first born. Last September, it seemed like Greg was racing and testing all the time. For about a month and a half straight, it seemed like Greg was gone. So other than the New Hampshire weekend that got canceled, Greg was only home for a day or two each week - if that. It was like being a single mom in the beginning, and I certainly wasn't going to travel with him while he was that young. So, that was hard. Now the travel schedule is the same, but I'm in the motorhome more than I'm out at the track. I'm watching the race from inside the motorhome rather than seeing it from inside the track."

How much does having a motorcoach at the race track help in being with Greg and with Zachary at the same time?

"We first got our motorhome when I was pregnant, so it took on a new dimension in that aspect. I had somewhere to be while I was pregnant. Now when we talk about which races we're going to bring the motorhome, we talk about the races where Zach and I will be there. Last year it was more of a convenience for me and a convenience for Greg. Now it's our home, and it's filled with high-chairs and toys.

"The motorhome is a necessity, but it's also a luxury. We're fortunate that we can be able to bring a motorhome to the race track and bring our family."

Do you talk with other Winston Cup drivers, crew chiefs and wives who have children about how they deal with the schedule?

"When we flew to Richmond (Va.) I sat next to John Andretti and we talked the whole time about how they do it and what the age difference is between their kids and what the good schools are in our area. Something John said was spend time with him now, because in a couple years when Greg wants to spend time with him, Zach's going to have T-ball and soccer practice. Greg's version of spending time with Zach will be going to his soccer game, enjoying part of Zach's life."

Do you have any plans to form a multi-car team, or are you happy right now with Zachary as your main driver?

"Hopefully down the road, yeah, we'd like to have another - but not a couple more. Greg's like, 'Only one more.' For a while there I didn't think I was even going to get one more. But the older Zach gets, the more comical he gets. And I can see how people would say, 'Yeah, I want more than one of these.' So, we'll see."

Do you have any big plans for Mother's Day weekend?

"We are having Zach's baptismal, because it's the first opportunity we've been able to have dad home to go to church. He was home for Easter Sunday, but you can't do a baptismal on Easter Sunday."

Is Zachary going to follow in his father's footsteps or take a more conventional approach to life and go fishing and four-wheeling on his weekends?

"If it was up to his dad, it would be the fishing and the four-wheeling. Racing has been wonderful for our lifestyle, but Greg misses out on the fishing and the four-wheeling. Zach had his first boat ride with his Uncle Mark, not with his dad because dad was racing. But we all know that's a part of this lifestyle."

How They Met (in Nan's words):

"We met in Old Forge, N.Y. I was teaching high school there in 1995 and Greg and Mike McLaughlin owned a home there and they would come up on weekends from Connecticut to go snowmobiling. I met Greg out with a bunch of friends one night. My friends knew his friends and we met. He told me he was a crew chief and I told him I was a teacher.

"Well, I didn't know anything about racing, so I thought 'crew' meant 'rowing crew.' Greg had said that he was from Hartford, but I thought he said that he was going to Harvard, and I thought he was in rowing. So, the next day we go to lunch and we're talking away, but he's not really paying attention. He's watching some race on TV. To me, I had no idea what racing was. All of a sudden, Greg says 'That's what I do.' And on the TV was a picture of Ray Evernham, and on the screen it read 'crew chief.' I was like, 'What?' I thought I was going to a Regatta. But instead I was going to a race track."

-jgr/hdr-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers John Andretti , Mike McLaughlin
Teams Joe Gibbs Racing