A MESSAGE FROM WES FERRELL
Wes Ferrell is a 20-year-old native of Pearisburg, Virginia. A lifelong race fan, Ferrell has attended events at Motor Mile Speedway since early childhood. In 2012, Ferrell was diagnosed with cancer. That year, Ferrell endured 21 chemotherapy treatments over 42 weeks, and lost his right leg. Despite this, Ferrell continued to be a fixture at the racetrack, working as a crewman on the no. 9 Street Stock entry piloted by Barry Gregory. At season’s end, Gregory and the no. 9 team won their first-ever Street Stock championship at Motor Mile Speedway. Ferrell has since been declared cancer free.
The following letter was written by Ferrell to the Motor Mile Speedway racing community. During its preparation, Ferrell said: “Everyone needs to realize that when you have a passion for something, you do whatever it takes to keep it a part of your life, and you don’t let anything come between it.”
I am writing this today because I never got the chance to thank everyone at the racetrack for all they have done for me since 2012. As most everyone knows, I was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in February of 2012. It was getting close to race season, and of all the things I had to worry about, I remember thinking: “How am I going to miss a racing season?” I remember talking to my Mom, it was actually the Thursday or Friday before the first race, and I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to make it or not. I looked at Mom and said “I can go, can’t I?” She wasn’t sure about it, but I was able to go. I was under 18 at the time, so I had to get a waiver to be allowed in the pits. We call over to the racetrack, and luckily Randy [Motor Mile Speedway Competition Director] was there. We asked if we could get a waiver. It was close to time for him to be getting off of work, but he said he would wait until we arrived so I could get the waiver filled out. That he would wait so I could get it filled out really meant a lot to me.
Now we fast-forward a little bit. I’m doing chemo—intense chemo, where I’m in the hospital a week at a time. That didn’t stop me from coming to the racetrack, though. On more than one occasion I was discharged from the hospital on a Saturday and went straight from the hospital to the racetrack. I may have felt like crap, but nothing was going to stop me from going to the racetrack. During this time I was helping Barry Gregory on the no. 9 Street Stock, and those guys have since become a second family to me. They were by my side throughout this whole thing. We won quite a few races in 2012, plus the championship, which really meant a lot to me. That’s something I’m never going to forget. They allowed me to come down into their pit, and they looked after me while I was going through all of this, which meant the world to me.
Now, a lot of people say that racing is just left turns and rednecks going fast, but for me it’s my life and I honestly believe that if it wasn’t for the racetrack, I wouldn’t be here right now. It kept me going. Every night I was at the racetrack I didn’t have to worry about cancer or chemo, it was all about racing fuel and winning races. There were a lot of people who were big in me getting through one of the most difficult times in my life, and I’m going to name a few. Scott Lancaster has become like a big brother to me. He came and visited me in the hospital on more than one occasion, which meant the world to me. Lee Pulliam and his crew were also really good to me. To this day, Lee’s mom still texts me and asks me how I am doing, which means the world to me. And Frank Deiny, Jr. I remember being in Richmond, it was after having my leg amputated. It was just me and my Dad, and there was a knock on the door. Dad opens it, and in walks Frank and Heather. Just that they would come and see me in the hospital said a lot about the kind of people they are.
Nobody realizes just how much racing means to me. Cancer couldn’t even stop me from doing it. All I know is its much more than going fast and making left turns. Racing is my whole life. I have been around it since I was very little. My paw paw was the champion at Motor Mile Speedway in 1991; I have grown up around it. So, I want to thank the track for giving me a place to go. I want to thank the guys for showing up and putting on great races, and for everyone who has supported me. You all will never know how much that has meant to me.