Three years ago Jaxson Jacobs, then 14, was driving a practice run around the track at New Smyrna Speedway near Daytona Beach, Fla. As he came to the end of the straightaway, traveling at what he estimates was 240 km/h, Jacobs’ motor exploded and his car slammed into the wall. He was knocked out cold and his car was destroyed.

“That one sucked,” Jacobs says, now a first-year RTA sports media student at Ryerson.

But it didn’t suck because of the injury. As Jaxson says, he’s “been knocked out a lot.”

What sucked was that this practice run was part of Speedweeks, a 10-day event leading up to NASCAR’s biggest race, the Daytona 500. The 2012 season was the first time Jaxson was old enough to race in the event, in front of all the top names in racing. He was more embarrassed than anything else.

“If you’re a race car driver, chances are you’re kind of crazy and you just have to accept that,” he says. “If you let the fear of wrecking get in your way, you’re never going to succeed.”

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