Racing to the dream

To school, he drives a red 2003 Chevy Cavalier. On the racetrack it’s a 1937 Ford coupe, red with yellow flames painted across the doors.

For the last four years, senior Tony Monge has participated in Michigan Legends Car Racing. Legends car racing is a style of automobile racing which uses cars that are slightly smaller than normal race cars, but still keep the speed and the excitement of that of stock car racing, drag racing and other popular kinds of races.

“It’s a lot of fun. It’s like I’m playing a videogame but in real life. It’s such a rush, but it takes a lot of focus and commitment,” Monge said.

Monge has competed in over 50 heat races (8 – 10 laps versus 4 – 6 other racers) and has won about 17 of them. He has also won an impressive three feature races (30 laps versus 12 – 16 racers). Monge admittedly spends a lot of time working on and prepping his car and practicing racing. The amount of time effort he puts into racing is undoubtedly a good start to becoming a NASCAR (National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing) driver, which is his ultimate goal.

Monge has short, jet black hair and sports a pair of abnormally large sideburns, which most would agree he pulls off rather exceptionally. He has small, squinty eyes and is slightly shorter than most kids his age. Monge would describe his personality as outgoing, creative, and enthusiastic, which doesn’t seem to be too far off.

Another hobby of Monges’ would be playing the drums. Monge has been a drummer for nine years, and has loved all of it. He has been in band class since third grade, and for all four years of high school he has been in marching band and on the drum line, which he considers to be an entirely separate group from the marching band.

“It’s cool to be a part of something like drum line, ya know, we’re like our own separate family. And we get to do a ton of cool things like the pep assembly and playing for the student section at the football games. And it’s just a lot of fun. Even though you’re a band geek, it’s just a lot of fun.”

Outside of school, Monge has played drums for various local rock bands and is also the drummer for the band at his church.
“Playing music is really sweet. It’s fun to get to express yourself through music, and to write your own stuff, and it’s just fun to me and I enjoy it.”

Without having to think, Tony could give you a list of some of his favorite things. For example his favorite movie is Talladega Nights, a popular comedy film starring Will Ferrell about an unorthodox race car driver who loses his touch after a big crash. He loves some heavy metal music or a good NASCAR race.

If he could go anywhere, he would travel to North Carolina , which just happens to be the racing capitol of the world. He believes that North Carolina holds all the keys to becoming a NASCAR driver, which is his greatest ambition. However, none of these things set Monge apart from his peers. Instead, he is unique in that the amount of passion he shows for his hobbies, which are racing and music, exceeds that of any teenager.

Tony, as he is known by to just about everybody, is the only child of Anthony and Michelle Monge.
“It [being an only child] has its benefits and it has its downfalls,” he explained. “You don’t always have someone around to talk to or do stuff with, but if I had any siblings, ya know, we wouldn’t be able to afford my racing.”

Racing may now be a busy hobby for Monge, but someday he may be seen on the Nascar circuit.

“It’s a lot of blood, sweat and tears,” he laughed. “But racing is definitely something I want to do for the rest of my life.”

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