Mini was honored at the CARS Tour banquet as the 2019 CARS Tour Late Model Rookie of the Year on the heels of 1 top-5 and 6 top-10 finishes in the 11-race season. Following is the transcript of Mini's speech.
"Hello and thank you for the CARS Tour TORP Chassis Late Model Rookie of the Year Award. Last year when my mom said, 'If you're going to continue racing Late Models, you have to race the CARS Tour,' I never thought I would be standing here.
But I wouldn't be standing here if it wasn't for my race team. It takes a team to get here and I know I have the best team. Thank you -- and I truly mean Thank You -- to crew chief Brandon Butler for giving me the best car within our team's budget. You took our old car and made it the best it could be. A special thank you for finding us a new car that we could compete with. Through your late and sleepless nights, driving our truck with no air conditioning -- along with transmission and trailer problems -- you are a saint. Thank you for leading our team. Special thanks to your wife Audra for her kindness and incredible generosity. You guys are awesome.
Dan Givens- You are the glue that keeps the team together with your energy, your passion for racing, and all the time away from your family. Thank you.
Larry Lindsay - I could only wish to do what you do at almost 80 years old. From handling our tires to loading and unloading trailers, you are awesome. Thank you for being a part of our team.
Larry Graff- Thank you for all of your help with team management, social media which is a massive part of our sport, our charity fundraising efforts, and everything you do for kids who are sick. And thank you for the creation of my 'Biggest Fan.'
Ryan Day- Thanks for riding down to the tracks with my dad and all of your help in the pits. You are a true blessing on our race team by working on the trailers to helping us get organized at car shows, and helping me with fundraising to find a cure for childhood cancer. You are awesome my friend.
Grayson Cullather- Thank you for your help and your friendship during the season. I treasure both!
Mom- You're the best. You drove more than 10,000 miles to the tracks this year. Without you, I couldn't race. I love you.
Dad- You're my best friend. You're the person who I've come to for absolutely everything. Without you I wouldn't be the person I am today. You taught me manners, respect, and love. Those are three things a person must learn in life. It's been an amazing life through the 15 crazy years I've spent with you. Thank you for everything you do for me. I love you.
Jack McNelly, Chris Ragle, Keeley Dubensky, Jacklyn Drake, and all of the CARS Tour officials - I enjoyed the opportunity to race this year. You are total class acts and you run an amazing show. 'Lightning' David Saunders will be missed. I enjoyed seeing him so much in tech.
Bobby McCarty- Congratulations on your accomplishment as the 2019 CARS Tour Late Model champion. Congratulations to the entire Nelson Motorsports team. They are all incredible people.
Thank you to my sponsors and supporters: Friends of Jaclyn Foundation, Castrol EDGE, PPC Lubricants, Weber Rector Commercial Real Estate Services, Inc., CosmosAudio, Tire-X, Absolutely Amish Structures, and Kevin. Thank you TORP Chassis for sponsoring the Rookie of the Year Award. Thank you Rayvon Clark and Clark's Automotive for the engines, and Grafix Unlimited for the design work on our Throwback car.
This year I've had the opportunity to meet a lot of people. I would like to say something that hopefully you'll leave here thinking about: There will always be a reason why you meet people. Either you need them to change your life, or they need you to change theirs. Think about it. 𝐓𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐰𝐢𝐥𝐥 𝐚𝐥𝐰𝐚𝐲𝐬 𝐛𝐞 𝐚 𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐬𝐨𝐧 𝐰𝐡𝐲 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐦𝐞𝐞𝐭 𝐩𝐞𝐨𝐩𝐥𝐞. 𝐄𝐢𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐧𝐞𝐞𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐦 𝐭𝐨 𝐜𝐡𝐚𝐧𝐠𝐞 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐥𝐢𝐟𝐞, 𝐨𝐫 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐲 𝐧𝐞𝐞𝐝 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐭𝐨 𝐜𝐡𝐚𝐧𝐠𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐢𝐫𝐬.
The CARS Tour has been awesome. It's almost like a club.
Deac McCaskill - Thank you for being so kind to me and for giving me a hug before we got into our cars. You were my father on the race track. And I thank you for that.
I want to leave you with words from the late basketball coach Jim Valvano. He said there are three things we all should do every day.
3) Have your emotions moved to tears.
In Jimmy V's words, 'If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that's a full day. That's a heck of a day. You do that seven days a week, you're going to have something special.'
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. See you in 2020 for the first race at Southern National Motorsports Park."