Everything about NASCAR is competitive.
The drivers want to beat each other, the crew chiefs want to outsmart each other, and the owners want to out-succeed each other.
NASCAR fans are just as competitive as their drivers. They take their loyalty of their favorite driver to the highest degree, and things can get downright nasty when it comes to defending their driver.
Sometimes, it's not uncommon for race fans to get speeding tickets or try to emulate their heroes going down the highway.
But even further inside NASCAR, media members are just as competitive as the NASCAR stars they cover.
Hustling for deadlines or wanting to be the first one to break a news story makes being a journalist as exciting or excruciating as being a driver.
Everyone is pushing themselves to produce the best article they can, or to get that interview or quote from a driver.
Here on Bleacher Report, we in the NASCAR section are no different.
Every day we produce articles we are proud of, be it a news piece, an opinion, or lately a rant or a recap of the happenings around the NASCAR world.
Our articles are like gold to each of us, and we want them to be recognized and be the feature of the section. We want it on the front page and we want it as the Pick of the Day.
For some of us, the only reason that articles are produced are for the attention and the glitz and glamor of winning.
Every day articles from other writers appear on my bulletin board with a generic "please check this out" note that is nothing more then campaigning for a read and a vote.
Hey, if that's how you want to do it, then fine. I may read it, but just because you post something to my board doesn't mean I'm going to comment or be handing out votes. I'm looking for something specific in articles that I'm going to vote for.
I, however, have been guilty of doing that in the past. I would pimp myself out to writers with articles that I felt should get attention for whatever reason.
Nowadays I only do that to the writers that ask for a link to my work. I'm learning more and more that if people want to read my work then they will. If not, then I really don't care.
See, I used to get so caught up in trying to win the AOTD. Just like everyone else on this site, even the ones who deny it, I'm just as competitive as everyone else and believe that my work should get recognized as well.
Have there been articles of mine that have been passed over and should have won? I certainly believe so, and I believe that's the case with other writers and articles too.
But, moving on, it's time I break some news to all of you: There are no POTD's in the real world. Shocking, I know.
It's no secret that I long to be a NASCAR journalist. I live, eat, and breathe this sport and I absolutely love to write. I love getting my voice and opinions heard and I love being able to put my thoughts to paper and share them with all of you.
Writing and NASCAR are all I care about, and this site is one of the best things in my life.
Every time I publish an article I feel like I've accomplished something. Whether or not it receives your comments or votes is just a bonus. To me, the real excitement was being able to say what I needed to say and be able to have fun doing it.
Don't think I'm trying to fool you into believing that I haven't gone psycho Kelly in the past because I didn't get as many comments as I thought I would over something I was sure would have been a popular topic.
And don't think I'm trying to fool you into believing that I haven't chewed up Kara Martin's or other writers ears with complaints about this POTD business.
Recently though, my ego was put in check and I can honestly say that I highly doubt I will ever be complaining about those things ever again.
I've told you all and wrote about my recent trip to Daytona International Speedway for both the Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series races. I spent 11 hours at the track on Friday, and most of it was standing on top of the garages, taking it all in.
Whenever someone asked me how I was doing, I would tell them that I was great, all because I was at the track. They laughed and thought I was being funny. Unfortunately, they don't understand that car engines and everything NASCAR really calms me down.
I've said it once and I'll say it again: NASCAR is my life and I'm not apologizing for it.
It was during my 11 hours at the track and a recent conversation with Kara about this website that it finally hit me full force. I don't write for recognition. I write because I love to write and I love NASCAR.
I already knew this and I live my life by it, except it wasn't until I was once again complaining that I realized how true those words are.
Take a close look at the photograph for this article.
That, ladies and gentlemen, is the real me. Not the pose for the camera Kelly. Not the generic look good for a picture Kelly. That is the real Kelly being Kelly and having an absolute blast at the racetrack where she belongs.
I would give anything up to make sure that I'm at a race track and to have that feeling every day for the rest of my life.
Daytona really did set me straight.
It made me realize that life and writing is not about the number of reads you get, it's not about how many comments you receive, and it's not about winning some POTD deal.
Being at Daytona made me realize that I am able to do what I love and it is what makes me happy and that is what it is all about.
Like I said earlier, to some of us, it is about all those things. Some of us want to have a lot of reads and get noticed and have that badge on their profile that says they have won an AOTD...or 12.
Would I like those? You can bet your butt, and I appreciate the votes I get.
My point is, I now realize that I'm not on this site for those things. I'm here because I have a place and I have friends that love NASCAR as much as I do. I now realize that I'm not going to work any harder than I already do because "this is the article that will win it for me."
I now realize that once I hit the publish button, that's all I'm going to do. No more pimping myself out and begging for reads or looking for votes.
I now realize that in the real world of journalism, it's all about being at the racetrack because I want to and love to be there.
And I know realize that in the real world, journalists don't win AOTD's. They write and keep writing.
It's time for me to get back to just writing.
Photo Credit: David Yeazell
To Kara, you are without a doubt the person that keeps me together and slaps me upside the head when I need it. Thank you so much for putting up with me and always telling me what I need to hear, whether I want to hear it or not! You are pure awesomeness and I'm glad you're in my life.