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Racing Family: A look into a Carmel family’s racing traditions

Lilly St. Angelo, Student Section Editor

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In an unassuming suburban home on the west-side of Carmel, there lives a family that has a mother and father and two girls, one a senior at CHS and one an eighth grader at Creekside Middle School. They have two cats, Harry and Hermione, who peer curiously at visitors as they pad softly across carpeted floors. From an outside perspective, the family seems pretty average. But if you look closer, you’ll see otherwise. If you look closer, you’ll see the racing memorabilia that lines the bookshelves in the family-room. You’ll see that the father works long hours and isn’t home on most weekends because he travels so much. You might hear casual phone conversations with famous IndyCar drivers and see a model of a hand-designed race car. Because when your dad works for Andretti Autosport, life isn’t average.

“I was born and the next weekend he was at a race. It’s always been that way,” senior Cereys Edwards said. “I’m used to it, it’s normal for us.”

The Edwards’ normal is a unique one. Rob Edwards, Cereys’s dad and chief operating officer of Andretti Autosport, is gone during weekends for half of the year for races that are scattered across the country (and sometimes the world). He also works 12-hour days at the Andretti headquarters in Indy during the week. Most weekdays, the family eats dinner together in the evenings, but then he’s back to work, making phone calls and plans. It’s hard work, Mr. Edwards admits, but he enjoys it. Life has always been different for Cereys and her sister Zoe, but the opportunities and exposure to the world of racing have bonded their family and inspired Cereys’s future endeavors.

“He’s definitely been a drive in my future and his work has too,” Cereys said. “I don’t think parents usually influence their kids as much in their job fields so I feel like that’s something unique about my dad.”

Cereys will attend Xavier University next year to study public relations (PR). She said she wants to eventually go into PR for racing because of her familiarity with the racing world. Cereys has had the opportunity to help out at the track during the month of May as she’s gotten older, taking drivers to events like autograph sessions and managing the in-and-out flow of people in the suites. Mr. Edwards said that while PR is often seen as a glamorous job, it’s hard work in reality.

“Interacting with drivers is difficult because they’re under a lot of stress and quite often you have to get them to do things they don’t want to do,” Mr. Edwards said.

While Cereys doesn’t get paid for her volunteer work at the track during May, she said she values the opportunity and knows that experience will help her in the long-run.

The tradition and excitement that surrounds the Indianapolis 500 in the month of May has not faded for the Edwards family or anyone else, according to Mr. Edwards. Even though there are many other races in the IndyCar series now and teams aren’t at the track for the whole month of May like they used to be, he said the process of getting ready for the big race is more of a sacred process than any other race in the series. For two weeks, Mr. Edwards said the teams are on an exhausting, repetitive schedule.  Every day consists of practice for six hours, debriefing, getting home late and waking up to do exactly the same thing.

“It’s like groundhog day,” Rob said. “Until race day of course, but practice and qualifying are very much like that.”

Last year, the Andretti team won the 100th running of the Indy 500 when rookie Alexander Rossi rolled across the finish line, literally coasting on an empty tank of gas. This memory sticks in the heads of the Edwards’ as their favorite memory they share in their many years in the racing world.

“All four of us got to experience and share that moment together and that is absolutely the best memory I have,” Mr. Edwards said.

Cereys said the win was unexpected and they were all shocked when they figured out what was happening at the end of the race.

“It was kind of unreal,” Cereys said. “You go through all the other races and you can have any other sucky race, but when you get to the 500 and win the 500, things really feel like they’re paying off for the whole month; sacrifices are paying off.”

The Edwards view their racing background with pride and use it as a source of bonding in their busy lives. Cereys and her mother and sister travel to two or three races a year and with these trips have gotten to see much of the United States together.

“I think there are things we’ve missed out on but I think racing has given us a lot of opportunities as well,” Mr. Edwards said. “Different families do different things as a family. Our thing has been to go racing.”

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