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What Jobs Did Race Car Drivers Have Before Racing Full Time?

Everyone started somewhere. Even race car drivers!

What Jobs Did Race Car Drivers Have Before Racing Full Time?

Long before the glitz, glamor, trophies and oversized checks that come with being a famous professional race car driver, many started with surprisingly ordinary day jobs.

Take Danny Sullivan for example. A racing legend who has his face forever enshrined on the Borg Warner Trophy for winning the 1985 Indianapolis 500. But before that? He was racing through the streets of New York City… In a taxi cab that is. 


Sullivan’s unique story is a cool reminder that everyone has to start somewhere. 

The topic of what kinds of first jobs race car drivers had before driving race cars full time came up on a recent episode of The Money Lap podcast. Parker Kligerman and Landon Cassill also shared their own, less conventional first jobs.

Parker Kligerman: Bird Battler and Boat Wrangler

Imagine a sun-drenched yacht club in Connecticut, where a young Parker Kligerman spent his days not behind the wheel, but at the mercy of the sea... and birds. Yes, birds. “I worked at a yacht club here in Connecticut, in the town I grew up in Westport, and for about a summer,” Parker revealed. “And I scraped off docks and tied up boats. And bird shit. Literally just tons of bird shit everywhere.”

It wasn’t just about wrestling with ropes and fending off feathery foes; it was here that Parker's dreams of racing began to crystallize. “I only lasted a couple of months, and then, Yeah, I was like, wait, racing's gotta pan out.” From battling birds to battling for position, it’s clear Parker’s determination was set on a different kind of career path.

Landon Cassill: Car Business Buff

While Parker was dealing with docks (and birds), Landon Cassill was honing a different set of skills. Growing up in a family steeped in the car business, Landon’s path seemed almost preordained. “My family comes from the car business. So, no racing, it’s the used car business for me,” Landon shared, highlighting a legacy of automotive affinity that would later translate into his professional racing career.

It’s a far cry from the glamorous life of a NASCAR driver, but these early experiences laid the groundwork for the tenacity and perseverance both racers would carry into their careers. Every twist on the track and turn of fate can be traced back, in part, to these humble beginnings.

So, if you’re still grinding out your 9-5 slinging used Toyota Camry’s or scraping bird shit off of a dock in Connecticut, don’t worry. There’s still hope for you yet! 

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