A life behind the wheel

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Shelby R. Orozco
  • 509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
All children have a dream of what they want to be when they grow up-- an astronaut, a fireman, a police officer. For one Airman here at Whiteman Air Force Base, his dream became a reality.

"How many times do you have a goal, when you're six [years old], to stand on the front stretch of your hometown track and you actually get to have that happen?" said Staff Sgt. Chris Brockway, who works in the 442nd Logistics Readiness Squadron traffic management office.

Brockway's dream as a six-year-old was to become a racecar driver. And he did it.

"To go way back, my grandpa has owned racecars for 40 to 50 years," Brockway said. "When I was younger, he would take me to the races and I'd go home and tell my mom I wanted to race cars."

Brockway's mother was not a fan of his racing dreams and did not let him go to the races with his grandpa for many years.

"I didn't go back until I was 16," Brockway said. "I had a couple of buddies that invited me to the races and I was like, 'Hey, my grandpa might still have a car!'"

The pull of that night at the track was just enough for Brockway, who decided he was going to follow his dream and become a racecar driver.

"I never missed a night after that," Brockway said. "I ended up working on my grandpa's car, and then I bought it. I asked, 'Okay, who wants to sponsor me?'"

Brockway races what is known as a B-Modified, which by racetrack rules is defined as an automobile designed solely for competition on oval race tracks, controlled from within by a driver.

"There are A-Modifieds and B-Modifieds," Brockway said. "A-Modifieds are full-blown, not very limited and have very few rules engine-wise. The B-Modifieds are a limited version of the A-Modifieds."

Even though racing has always been his dream, it did not start out very easily for Brockway.

"When I first started I literally knew nothing," Brockway said. "I am not a mechanic and that is not me. Once I started driving the car and it was obvious I wasn't going to go away -- fail or succeed - my grandpa started teaching me how to drive and what to do during different situations."

Brockway's excitement for racing did not just stay at the track; it often spilled into the workplace.

"I think initially my co-workers got tired of hearing about it because it's the only thing I did," Brockway said. "They'd ask what I did over the weekend and I'd say, 'I went and raced cars. Isn't that the greatest thing you've ever heard?'"

Lieutenant Col. Allan Slavin, 442nd LRS commander, is very aware of Brockway's weekend getaways.

"He definitely has a love for the sport," Slavin said. "He often talks about racing in the workplace. With his experience behind the wheel, it's interesting to hear the inside scoop from a driver's perspective. I've been to one of his races and it's much more fun when you've got a driver to pull for."

Almost eight years later, racing is still Brockway's number one passion.

"Racing makes me feel good," Brockway said. "It's a lot of fun. I love the fact that when I get out on the track in my car, nothing else matters in the world. It's the one time I feel completely at peace."

Even though Brockway would be content just driving, at the end of the night there is only one thing on his mind.

"Winning is my favorite thing about racing," Brockway said. "There's a racing community that provides a great family atmosphere, but once the green flag drops it's about winning the race."