Diaries of Thunder: Candice Corrigan

During the Daytona Speedweeks, we’ll be featuring blogs from our non-competition team on the ground. Today’s blog is from Candice Corrigan, Marketing Communications Manager for the XFINITY No. 16 team.

Daytona Beach, FL - Feb 21, 2015:  Ryan Reed (16) wins the Alert Today Florida 300 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, FL.

Ryan Reed wasn’t the only one who got their first win at Daytona in 2015. Just two weeks on the job at Roush Fenway Racing, I found myself in Victory Lane at the famed track – a ritual I had witnessed more than a dozen times at DIS, but never from this angle.

Starting a new position a week before the start of a new NASCAR season is a daunting task. By the time we left for Daytona on my eighth day as a RFR employee, I was just trying to keep my head above water – learning names of my coworkers and teammates, Ryan’s quirks and expectations of me, and even what I should be wearing each day to the track. I never imagined just over 48 hours later, I would be a part of something so emotional.

I have to admit I was scared to take this job. My background in NASCAR includes working at a racetrack (Richmond International Raceway) and for the Motor Racing Network on the Sprint Vision program as a video production coordinator. While I had interacted with drivers in both of my previous positions, I didn’t know if I would like being in charge of their day-to-day schedule and dealing with the range of emotions that driving a racecar could bring on. Ryan in particular brought on a different set of “what if’s” with his diabetes – which I soon learned he had under control 100 percent and I should not worry about.

Once we got into the race on Saturday afternoon, things flowed pretty naturally – taking pit notes, communicating with media members and making sure our at-track guests were content. Ryan ran up front a lot of the afternoon and I was able to take a breath during the lengthy red flag. I guess I thought about the possibility of a win, but it wasn’t until the last lap that I really realized what was about to happen. Of course as Ryan came to take the checkered, our crew guys jumped over the wall in celebration, so I didn’t even see the finish! I also ripped my radio out of my ear in excitement, so I had no idea what was being said over the radio – had we actually won? I figured it out pretty quickly as everyone exploded in cheers and quickly ran towards the pit wall to root on Ryan as he did his burnouts.

The rest of the evening and the following day/week were pretty stressful – answering lots of media requests and fulfilling our win plan. Trial by fire they say – but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I return to Daytona this year confident our team can make it two-in-a-row, but nothing will compare to the overwhelming joy of my first win.