Tim Narr: Sportsman of the Year

Tim Narr Receives Sportsman of the Year Award at MIS

By John Wells

Tim Narr of Raymond, Wisconsin, was presented with the Sportsman of the Year Award at the annual MIS banquet on November 3rd.

Over the years I have had the opportunity to meet many, many people while working at Madison International Speedway.  This is one story that I wanted to pass along to our fans about some of the extremely positive things that happen behind the scenes and not necessarily on the track.

One car that was noticeably absent for much of the year in the Pellitteri Waste Systems Legends division has been the familiar #49 car of Tim Narr of Raymond, Wisconsin.

I think as long as we have had the Legends division at MIS Tim has been there with his car and quite often a second car that he had several drivers get behind the wheel over the years.  So why the limited schedule for Narr in 2012?

He had big plans for this racing season like he always does.  But then while sitting at home one night these changed dramatically and put things in perspective for him.

“I had been experiencing floaters in my eye and then all of a sudden I could barely see out of one of my eyes.  It’s like there was a curtain over half of my eye.  I wasn’t sure what was wrong, but I knew it was very serious,” said Narr.

After seeking immediate medical attention, Narr was told he had experienced a retinal detachment.  “A lot of things were going through my head before finding out what was really wrong with me.”

As a result, Narr needed surgery to repair his detached retina.  “I was in a lot of pain,” he recalled.  “It’s definitely not something I would ever want to go through again.”

Following surgery Narr was faced with several weeks of “down” time…literally.  “I was face down for several weeks to avoid any sudden movements that could cause more damage to my eye.  It wasn’t very fun, but I did lose some weight,” said Narr with a smile.

He knew the surgery would put a damper on his racing plans for the season.  “You have to put things in perspective and your health must be number one,” he added.  “Never take your health for granted.”

After he got the go ahead from the doctor and his wife, Narr wasn’t so sure about jumping back into his car and taking on the “Ring of Fire” at MIS.  “I didn’t feel like I was 100% and there was no way I was going out on the track and possibly putting the guys I’m racing with at risk.”

And that’s what makes Tim Narr the special person he is…he puts others first. 

He’s one of the first people I seek out in the pits during the racing season to see how things are going or to ask him a question about the Legends cars since I’ve never claimed to be an expert on cars.  He’s just a genuinely all around good guy.

But don’t take my word for it.

Earlier this season, I talked to Legends driver Jeff Lechnir who makes the long haul from Oshkosh, Wisconsin, to race at MIS each week.  I quickly realized how big of an impact Tim had on other drivers.

“Here is a man that loves the sport of racing and will do what he can to help keep it alive,” said Lechnir.

Narr made a very positive impression on Lechnir right from the start.  “On my first night of racing at MIS I was approached by a taller man with his hand extended and a smile on his face.  He introduced himself as Tim Narr and said ‘Thank you for coming out and if there is anything I can do for you, here is my card, just give me a call.’  Wow, that meant so much to me as a new driver.”

Lechnir goes on to say, “About a week after meeting Tim I received a packet in the mail with notes about how to set up a car at Madison along with articles and notes on setting up a Legends car for asphalt.”

In March of this year Narr made the trip from his home to Oshkosh to help Lechnir who was working on someone else’s car to get them ready for the race season.  “A couple of days later I received the call about Tim’s detached retina.  I was devastated.”

Even though Narr was unable to race when the season began, he continued to be a source of inspiration for Lechnir.  “This didn’t stop Tim.  We kept in touch on a weekly basis and he kept encouraging me over the phone by giving me assistance and answering my questions.”

When the race season began Narr was there in the pits at MIS to support his fellow competitors.  “Even though he couldn’t race, and I know it was hard for him as it would be for any of us, Tim was right there helping Kyle Vergata and me with whatever he could.”

Narr was able to get back out to race this year, but the story doesn’t end there.  It only gets better!

Lechnir experienced major problems on July 6th when he suffered major engine problems including a small fire when he trying to exit the track.  “I thought my season was over for sure,” said Lechnir.

But Tim Narr wasn’t going to allow any such thing.  He contacted Lechnir and offered him the motor from his backup car that was severely damaged in the July 6th race too.

“I drove down to pick up the motor from the #50 car and brought it back to my shop only to find out that the engine had a small leak at the base of the head.  I went from Wow, I’m racing again to Now, I’m really done for the year all within a few hours.”

Once again here comes Tim Narr.  “He offered to let me use his primary car on July 13th since he had other commitments for that night.  That’s just the type of guy he is.  He’s always willing to help others,” concluded Lechnir.

Fellow competitor Kyle Vergata of New Berlin, Wisconsin, also can’t say enough about Narr. “Tim has helped me a lot with setting up my car.  He has been my mentor since I began in the Legends division a couple of years ago.  His attitude is positive in nearly every situation.  I would consider Tim to be not only my mentor but one of my closest friends.”

Or how about Narr’s effort in getting a first-time driver, Jacob Krueger of Oregon, Wisconsin, some seat time.  “I was helping him out in the pits and Tim asked me if I wanted to drive.  He would give you the shirt off his back.  That’s just the type of guy he is.”

Legends driver Tony Moyer of Malone, Wisconsin, added, “A great night of racing for Tim has always been measured not by wins but making sure he shakes the hand of all his competitors and wishing them good luck and being able to load his car back in the trailer in one piece at the end of the night.”

Tim Narr doesn’t do these things for attention and probably wouldn’t want me to write this story.  But he is a fine example of how sportsmanship and character is alive and well at Madison International Speedway.