The definition of the word hero is ‘a man admired for his achievements or noble qualities’ or ‘one who shows great courage’. Everyone has their own hero, or heroes, that they look up to. As kids we admired athletes and saw them as a hero due to their athletic abilities and feats on the field. We admired them for their achievements. Yet, outside of the stadiums and away from the arenas is a group of men and women that fits into the other definition of a hero. They show great courage and are the brave that keep our communities and families safe. This group is our local fire, EMT, and police forces.
Lake County Speedway is fortunate enough to have such great men drive at their track that serve their community. Not only are they defined as heroes for their courage, but you can consider them one for their achievements. Chad Tekavic and Mike Reed are two drivers that keep our communities safe, but are also champions on the track.
Chad Tekavic is a firefighter with Painesville Township. Chad has put in almost sixteen years of being a firefighter and paramedic in the area. ‘I originally had planned on being a police officer’, says Tekavic, but it only took one night class at Lakeland Community College to change the course of his career. ‘Being able to help people’, says Tekavic on the most rewarding part of his job, ‘to know that people are calling you on their worst day and making a difference.’ Chad joined the Painesville Township fire department part-time in 1996. It was not until 2000 that he was brought on full-time to serve his community. In the same year he won the figure eight championship at the track. For Tekavic racing was a family sport. His Saturday nights were spent at the track with his father and brother. He grew up drag racing with his dad and always had a passion for cars. In 1995 his father brought up the idea of building their own racecar and competing. It only took a few races that year to get him hooked. Coincidentally he purchased his first racecar off Mike Reed, talk about a small world.
Today, Chad is serving the Painesville Township fire department. After winning the championship last season, Chad has scaled back on his racing. He now spends time training with his wife, Missy, and supporting her in racing of 5K’s and marathons. Aside from that he also makes time to support his son, Nick, and assists in coaching his baseball and football teams. ‘Right now I am a cool dad. Nick loves the racecar and racing, but also thinks the fire trucks are cool.’ Even though he is not racing fulltime at the track this season, Chad looks to make a comeback to the track soon.
Mike Reed is a lieutenant deputy with the Lake County sheriff’s department. Mike knew at a young age that he wanted to be a police officer, firefighter, and a racecar driver. This might have been an influenced career choice, since he came from a family where many members served in a police station or fire house. He began as a part-time firefighter at the Painesville Township fire department in 1989. During this time he also served as a sheriff. He made the switch after being offered a full-time role with the sheriff’s department. ‘Being able to get out there to help people in their time of need makes it worthwhile,’ said Mike says about being a sheriff. He had his work cut out for him. Knowing that he wanted to race at an early age, his profession made it a challenge to both race and work. Mike began racing in 1986 at the age of seventeen. ‘The highlight of my summers as a kid was when my father would take me to the track and we would watch the races. That is when I knew that I wanted to race.’ says Mike when his passion for racing was ignited. ‘Nobody had raced in my family before… I just wanted to try it.’ During his beginning years as a sheriff, Mike did whatever it took to get time off to race on Friday and Saturday nights. Even today he schedules his time during the summers around his racing.
Mike has won five champions since 1988. He joins the elite at the top of the champions list, as being one of only a few drivers to have won more than four championships at the track. His wife Kelly is a huge supporter of his passion and can be found every Saturday night cheering him on. Aside from racing, Mike’s other passion is his two boys Mike Jr., who races in the Sam & Tommy’s factory division, and Chad, the younger of the two. Both are involved in numerous athletic and extracurricular activities. This season Mike looks to win his sixth (and maybe seventh championship by taking the Renegade Eight title) championship.
This Saturday will be our first annual Heroes Night at the track and we are inviting all fire, EMT, and police personnel to join us. All that would like to come out tomorrow night will just need to show their badge at the front gate to receive two free tickets. It is also the return of the ARCA truck series, as they come to town for a 100 lap feature event. Prior to the start of the ARCA truck race the drivers will be on the track for a pre-race autograph session. Grandstands open at 4:00pm and racing begins at 6:00pm. For more information check us out online at Lakecountyspeedway.com and come see the Fastest Entertainment in Lake County!
500 Fairport Nursery Road, Painesville, OH 44077 • firstname.lastname@example.org • 440.354.3505 •