Mother and Son Share Special Bond at Martinsville Speedway
Friday May 8, 2015
Michelle Powell is a single mom. Her 12-year-old son Colton is her only child.
The duo does most everything together and that everything often includes NASCAR and Martinsville Speedway.
“I’m the only parent in his life. It’s just allowed us to bond together and travel,” Michelle said. “It’s allowed us to spend quality time together. We typically do our vacation around the NASCAR schedule.”
And while the pair has been to Darlington, Daytona and other NASCAR tracks, Martinsville Speedway is one that holds a special place in both of their hearts. Each of the three trips they have made to the .526 mile track has resulted in a special experience.
“I think he was six or seven when I first took him to Martinsville and that was actually the first race that he stayed awake for the whole entire race,” Michelle said.
Michelle, a high-school math teacher, has used her career to give Colton some unique opportunities at Martinsville.
She works closely with Driving Science, a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) based program that uses motorsports in the classroom. On their second trip to the speedway her work with the program helped make one of Colton’s dreams come true.
“He got a chance to meet Dale Earnhardt Jr. at Martinsville,” she said. “Without NASCAR we wouldn’t have had that chance to venture out and go to different places and cities and meet new people.”
When the combo headed to Martinsville for their most recent trip, Colton got to experience the thrill of Dale Jr. in Victory Lane.
“I was exhilarated. I’m just…I’m just…I can’t really explain how I felt,” Colton stuttered. “I was hoarse the next day. I felt like I had laryngitis I was hollering so much. I was so excited.”
That is an experience mom will never forget.
“That was one of the best moments for us. It was really exciting. I’ve seen him cry at Martinsville when Dale Jr. didn’t win,” Michelle said. “Just to see your child upset because his favorite driver didn’t win; to the point that he was crying. And then to see that jubilation from him when he did win, that excitement was just overwhelming. Words can’t explain it. It’s just exciting to see my son happy, it makes my heart over-joyed.”
While most sixth-graders would be content seeing their hero in victory lane, for Colton it’s more about spending time with his mom.
“It’s brought us closer together,” he said. “When drivers are going by, I can say ‘that’s Greg Biffle in the 16.’ And she will be like ‘how do you know that’ and I say, ‘because I see it on TV.’
“That starts conversations like no other. The moments you spend with your family out there, you bond over a certain topic, there’s no way you can forget that.”
Colton said he already knows what race he wants to take his mom too next.
“I’d take her to the next one that Dale Jr. wins,” he said.