I will be the first to admit I don’t know Mike Tidaback very well. Despite us both being involved in New Jersey racing for most of our lives our paths have rarely crossed. Mike spent most of his time with the small cars like the TQ Midgets while I followed the Street Stocks and Modifieds.
That is not to say I didn’t know the name. Mike had some incredible wins early in his racing career. He was the winner of the Niagara Falls Indoor Races in 1999, long before I even knew what Indoor Racing was. He was the ATQMRA Champion in 1996, 1997, and Co-Champion in 2005. But perhaps the pinnacle of his racing career has been his Gamblers Classic win at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City in 2008.
Although I don’t know Mike well, I feel, as I am sure many of you who are reading this, that I can relate to him more than some members of my own family.
Mike loves racing. He has tasted the glory of being at the top. That is probably a big reason he was back at Boardwalk Hall in late January when he was severely injured in a racing crash. He probably knew the odds were against him, competing against younger competitors with very high-end equipment. But like many of us when you get that taste of success, and have an opportunity to feel it again, we take it.
Atlantic City was also another chance for Mike to be with his racing family. Drivers he had competed against for years. Children of drivers he had competed against who would now be lining up beside him on the track, and numerous supporters he had met over the years.
But the biggest way I can relate to Mike is as the father of a young son. Being a dad changes a man. I have written about many things but I cannot even begin to explain the father/son relationship. The joy you take in watching them grow. Introducing them to things you love, and if they share that same love there is a bond that makes you even closer.
Mike has passed his love of auto racing onto his son Mikey, who can usually be found anywhere his father is racing. Mikey is his fathers biggest fan. He was in attendance in Atlantic City when his father crashed. In fact, due to rules put into place at the hospital due to the large number of flu cases, that was the last time Mikey saw his father.
I can’t imagine not seeing my son everyday. Worse yet, I can’t imagine my son not being able to see me, and not understanding why. I know Mike feels the same way.
Through it all Mike’s wife Renee is doing her best at balancing caring for both her husband and their son Mikey. She has not asked for anything but prayers for Mike. However, she did mention in an article published by Area Auto Racin News that she thinks if Mike hears from his racing family it could help with his condition, which is still critical. Since he cannot receive many visitors Renee would love to read any cards or notes sent to Mike.
She is accepting cards at her home address, which can be found at the bottom of this article.
I know by this time many of my New Jersey racing family who are reading this have already committed to sending a card. I know I don’t have to ask, but I will anyway. Let’s show Mike how much we care for him, and fill that mailbox. Share your favorite memories, tell him how much you are looking forward to seeing him back at the track, and remind him how much we care for him.
242 Gloria Place
Brick, NJ 08724
Article by Ellsworth Boyce
Lets Send Our Love to Mike Tidaback