The memorials and stories of John have been heartwarming to the family, and we would like to thank everyone that has reached out. As this blog was one of his last creations, we would like to keep this legacy alive in his honor. The next couple blogs will be written by a few of his close friends and other celebrated voices within our sport. This week will be none other than Don O’Neal, Army veteran, marketing professional and top sportsman driver.

You can say that when our motorsports circle feels the earth shake, we band together; I am not the best writer when it comes to profound emotions or communications. I talk significantly better than I write (that is the one “haha” for the blog this week).

Reading the past two guest blog posts by Stinnett (Gary) and Bogacki (Luke) to help their friend Johnny D, I found myself nodding my head, smiling, and even wiping my eyes (pollen is horrible. Ok maybe two “haha’s”). Two men with families, businesses, and respect from thousands of people (peers) in our wonderful world of motorsports are sharing life experiences telling us the keys to living a happier life. Did making the most of every day you have motivate you? Did cherishing the relationships and friendships encourage you to call someone and tell them? Are you trying to enjoy the time at the track, shop, or during the travels to make memories? No? Hmm.

Most know my story; if you don’t, here is a short version of overcoming adversity, the loss of many people in life, and most recently, my wife. I was very vocal and transparent during our battle with cancer for over three years. People deal with their battles in so many ways, and there is no right way. We are human. We want what we want, and if we are not to have it, we have a little divine intervention most of the time. The words from Gary and Luke were very similar to conversations that John and I had one night while I sat in an ICU room watching Diane struggle to hold on to life. John always talked about memories, relationships, and happiness.

Now I know you are saying, of course, John said something profound, that is who John is, and I promise you this, since 2007 when I first met John driving the Army Car, he mentored me with ideas and conversations. He became my friend. We played golf together and had long discussions about life, racing, and business. I am a Johnny D groupie. John always wrote excellent articles about technical topics, yet he also pushed to improve our sport and education.

Time is not our friend in life. We all use the cliché, “Burning at both ends.” We all are guilty; we refuse to take care of ourselves. We have relationships with people, and we want to continue to have them in life; I challenge you, no, not challenge, I am begging you to please get screened, make the appointments to fix yourself for your loved ones and your racing friends. We want to make more memories with you and your loved ones.

Make time to create memories with your friends and family. It is what we will look at one day and smile. Take pictures, lots of pictures! Having photographs to share and telling stories are fantastic tools for therapy. I look at photos to calm my heart, slow my tears and motivate me not to let anyone down.

Are you listening yet? Do you think about your own life? A loved one’s life? Are you saying, “Ok, I will make time,” “Honey, get a calendar; we need to plan?” Or did you pick up the phone and text a friend you just haven’t talked with in forever? Or call your family and tell them how much they mean?  We all started dying the day we are born, expiration dates are recorded, and we need to do the best we can with the time we have offered. Never waste a day or a chance to be positive in humanity; it may leave an impact for a lifetime. Like the title stated, Incapable of filling in, yet I would share my challenges, struggles, dark days, and lonely times with anyone that needs help. Again, I challenge you to mend bridges, make memories, and enjoy being happy; life truly is too short.