With Father’s Day this weekend, several MX-5 Cup drivers are thankful for their father’s involvement in their racing careers
Many budding professional racing drivers owe much to their parents. Whether it was financing their start in the sport or just being there as a helping hand, most couldn’t have made it to where they are without assistance from Mom and Dad. That’s especially true in the case of a couple of drivers in the Battery Tender Mazda Global MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich Tires.
Nathanial Sparks is the 2016 champion of the series. He got his start racing in Spec Miata while his father raced in another class. Eventually they moved to MX-5 Cup, with Sparks’s father handling much of the crew chief duties in addition to working to provide for the family.
“You know with any father-son duo you’ve got to have something you’re both emotionally invested in that you can do together,” says Sparky, as Nathaniel is known around the paddock. “That’s something that brings any group of people closer together – sports, camaraderie and all that. To be able to do something together that you have a bond, something you have an interest in with your dad, makes the world so much stronger. That was how we initially started racing. I was playing sports and he was coming on with work, and he said, ‘Lets find something we can both do.’ When we started racing, we were taking turns, so we were both emotionally invested in each other and any improvements that we made together. It was one of those things that made it so much more than racing – it was bonding time.”