On Sept. 10, Daryn Pittman announced that he would be stepping back from competing full time with the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series at the end of the season.
In his announcement, the 2013 World of Outlaws champion stated that, “Although my plans are not fully certain at this time, I would like to pursue the business side of the racing industry.”
Although he has made it clear that he won’t be running a full schedule in 2021, Pittman is “by no means willing to call this a retirement at this time,” as “I just don’t know what the future might hold or how much time this next adventure will allow me to race.”
Sprint Car & Midget Magazine caught up with Daryn, to find out about his plans for the future and get his take on his 25-year racing career.
SC&M: Daryn, in your announcement you made it clear that you weren’t fully retired from driving, but that you want to do some things on the business side of racing. Do you have something lined up, or that you’re close to having lined up, or are you just starting to look for opportunities?
DARYN PITTMAN: No, it’s definitely not something that’s locked up. I guess I’d use the word ‘close’ pretty vaguely. There are a couple of opportunities that we’ve been in contact with, one of them for about a year, the other one a little bit shorter amount of time but probably the last six months or so. We’re kind of waiting to see how those develop and see if that’s something that…you know, we’ve been pursuing, but obviously are pursuing much more aggressively now to see if they’re kind of the right fit for us.
So, a couple of these things are really my first priorities right now and that’s why I felt like I left the door open in my statement. In an ideal world, something like this goes through and this is the direction that we’re going to go, and it will probably leave me very little to maybe no time to race. Especially maybe in the short term.
But, if some of these things just don’t materialize or either of these opportunities don’t go through, or don’t seem right for us, I’ve had some interesting offers since making the statement, but there’s definitely a good chance that I could be racing part-time or a little bit more than that, depending upon how things go.
But I’m definitely not actively searching for a fulltime ride. I’m not actively searching for a part-time ride right now. My focus is what is the direction for me and my family for the next 20 or 25 years.
If that opportunity comes available and starts to happen right now, that’s what I’m focused on, and racing has kind of taken a backseat to that as far as priorities go, in my opinion.
SC&M: You’re still relatively young; you’re 42 now. What drove your decision? Was it the possibility of one of these opportunities or were you just feeling…
DP: You know, a little bit. But, truthfully, I think as a kid all I ever wanted to do was race. And you just think you’ve got your whole life to do it. And if I could have raced as long as Steve (Kinser) or Sammy (Swindell) or some of the other guys that have raced, forever I would have thought that’s me, that’s what I want to do. And you get older and your priorities change a little bit.
I’ve got kids, they get a little older and the school scenario – as far as homeschooling or staying home – becomes a factor. And, truthfully, there’s just several things that have kind of changed and I really just had a pretty good clarity that I didn’t want to do this for another 10, 15 years. I didn’t want to it as long as I was allowed to do it.
As a driver, you never know how long your career can last, whether or not that’d be health-wise or just ability-wise and ability to get rides. But I just realized that I didn’t want to do this for…you know, at 42, I don’t want to do it till I’m 50 or 55 because I didn’t feel that I could just retire at that point. And I felt like, at 42, I’ve got 20 or 25 years of whatever this next phase is that I can really focus and work hard on.
I just felt like now is the time to make that transition, so I’ve had a great ride and I’m proud of everything we’ve accomplished and I’m surprised how quick I’ve come to this conclusion that I’m fine to step away; this is all we’ve ever done. But I feel very strongly about it and I’m just ready to move on to something else.
The performance side of it is a part of it. There’s a lot of little pieces that sort of helped get us to this point, and you know I think once you’ve sort of reached the top – and going from feeling you’re winning a championship and being a contender to win every night and being one of the top teams in the country, and then some things change and you find yourself in a different situation. And it’s hard to fall halfway back down that mountain and not really clearly see a path to how do I return there.
Just looking forward, not necessarily just how my year’s gone this year or last year, even foreseeing two, three years down the road, I just don’t really see a path that gets me to the performance level that I feel like I want to keep competing. And that also just sort of helped me decide that it was time to do something else.
SC&M: You’ve always been driven by your Christian faith. You used to carry the Christian fish graphic on your car. If I remember correctly, early on you missed an ASCS Speedweek in favor of Bible camp. It wasn’t surprising when you and Mandy were married and had kids and really embraced a pretty wholesome family lifestyle.
Working on the business side of racing would also appear to fit with a lifestyle where you’re able to spend more time at home with your wife and kids.
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