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FERNS: Giving Back

Read below or listen to the full column, read by Taylor Ferns. 



It’s no secret the number of responsibilities I have and the roles I’ve taken on — race car driver, team owner, law student, Women in Motorsports North America founding member, SPEED SPORT columnist, mentor and ambassador.

That’s not to mention the extracurriculars that come with participating in those positions. Not to be mistaken; it is all by choice and out of pure desire to further pursue my passions. Now, I’m adding another item to the list: philanthropist.

As I have matured, experienced different cultures and progressed through my education, it has become important to me to give back to the communities in which I live and/or work when I can and where I may recognize a deficiency.

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Taylor Ferns raced from 17th to finish eighth in the recent USAC Silver Crown Series race at Toledo (Ohio) Speedway. (Ferns Racing photo)

Racing is expensive – plain and simple. Even when you try to cut corners on products such as buying the fiberglass body instead of carbon fiber, or sticking with the factory-bolt kit instead of titanium, you’re still spending money. And a lot of it at that.

So what’s one area in which drivers often fail to invest as they should? Safety equipment.

Most, if not all, racers go to the track to win, regardless if that is a realistically achievable goal or not. Some participants rationalize that it’s better to spend $1,200 on a set of tires rather than a new helmet. Or elect not to buy a fancy, new fire suit when that money could be allocated toward fuel, accommodations or some other item they prioritize ahead of a new fire suit.

By no means, am I advocating for this thought process, but it is reality – especially with the inflated costs we are currently facing not only in racing, but society in general.

To add, as a youth coming (and growing) through the ranks, parents look to spend an egregious amount of funds toward new shoes, suits, helmets, Nomex, gloves, seats, etc. on an almost annual basis. With that, some may overlook the importance of up-to-date, quality safety products.

A philosophy I learned while going through my master’s degree program and implemented in my work at The Sam Bernstein Law Firm was to bring solutions to problems when navigating issues, especially when interacting with higher administration.

With that, I introduce The Safety Bank by The Taylor Ferns Foundation.

The Safety Bank was created in effort to provide adequate safety gear to the masses through donations from those with greater access to products.

Many higher profile drivers are on some form of a safety product deal with manufacturers. Over time, you accrue lots of excess that go unused. I can speak from experience as I have been fortunate to work with Simpson Race Products for 15 years and have amassed a suitcase full of extra gloves, shoes, Nomex and other items.

I’d rather give my extra items to someone who needs them than sell them for a meager cost. I know I can’t be the only one with a surplus of safety gear.

The Safety Bank will work is as follows:

  • Safety Bank bins will be disbursed in the near future to sanctioning bodies, some race tracks and at select motorsports special events.
  • Drivers can bring safety items they wish to donate to the track where a Safety Bank bin will be located and place their donations inside the bin.
  • Safety Bank bin locations will be posted on its respective social channels and, eventually, on The Safety Bank website.
  • The Safety Bank team will collect items from the sanctioning bodies, tracks, event promoters, etc. on a regular basis.

The Safety Bank team will handle distributing the donated items by posting what is available through social channels. It will operate on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Logistical details are still being ironed out, but I wanted to use this platform to share some of what I work on behind the scenes, including The Safety Bank.

I think there is a need and I hope to fill the gap. I love racing and only want to help make it better and more accessible for everyone.










This story appeared in the August 23, 2023 edition of the SPEED SPORT Insider.

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