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Orange County Speedway

Orange County Speedway News
Flagman Riley says job at Orange County Speedway helped him turn his life around
Aug 27, 2008 - updated Aug 27th, 2008 4:20pm
Web posted by Randy Pettitt

Rougemont, NC. --

Jordan Riley might have made the biggest mistake of his young life if it weren’t for stock car racing at Orange County Speedway. Now the 18-year-old proudly stands atop the flagstand here on Saturday nights. He is a shining example of how hard work and being at the right place at the right time can pay off in life. “I always struggled in school and didn’t want to do the work,” said Riley, who graduated from Orange County High School in May. “I failed the ninth grade and I was ready to quit. But Orange County Speedway helped me turn things around big time.” Riley was a potential baseball star when he abruptly lost interest and quit at age 15. “He could really play and had a cannon for an arm,” said his mother, Cindy. “We were really surprised when he just stopped playing. It seemed he lost interest in everything at school. He just didn’t want to go.”

He and his father Reggie happened to be at an OCS practice session when a chance meeting with Director of Operations Kim Foushee set things into motion. “It was on a Tuesday and we had to ask permission to sit in the stands and watch,” Reggie Riley recalled. “I asked her (Foushee) if they had anything for a teenager to do part-time at the track. She agreed to talk with Jordan.”

A while later, young Riley burst out of the speedway office and sprinted over to his father. “I told him I had to go home and right then,” recalled Jordan. “I got the job and I wanted to start right away. It was the first thing I had been excited about in a while.” Riley’s first task at the track wasn’t so glamorous: “I started out picking up trash.” Foushee did attach one string to Riley’s job at the speedway. “I told him he had to keep up his grades and stay in school,” said Foushee, “or I would fire him.”

Riley said a ninth-grade English class was reason for his failure to advance to the tenth grade. He took freshman and sophomore English classes his sophomore year and passed them both. “It was very, very hard for me,” he confessed. “The only reason I did it was to keep my job at the race track and keep my parents happy. That got me back on track with the rest of my age group.” Meanwhile, at the track, OCS officials noticed how dependable and hard-working Riley was in his daily tasks. He got a chance at a promotion. “Kim called me asked me if I was afraid of heights,” Riley recalled with a laugh. “She asked me if I wanted to be an assistant flagman. I couldn’t say yes fast enough.”

Riley still remembers his first night on the job: “I got such an adrenaline rush that my knees were shaking. It was a whole different perspective when those cars are thundering past right under you.”

He was an assistant for the latter part of the 2006 season and was two races into the 2007 season when fate intervened on his behalf again. “The regular flagman had just started helping a touring series. What I did not know was he resigned from OCS so he could go with them fulltime,” Riley remembered. “Kim called me and asked, ‘What are we going to do? What I did not know she and Kip had already decided I was ready.


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