How We Roll:
Track Heroes is a research focused non-profit for Veterans and 1st Responders driven to find alternative pathways forward to positive Mental Health by using High Performance Driver Education (HPDE) events.
Traditional Psychological treatment methods do work to resolve many issues and Track Heroes encourages people to maintain and continue Provider care. What we offer is an additive. As our research and data builds, we hope to introduce new techniques to healing that are more tailored to the problems faced by our community, and in terms that allows us to talk more openly about a topic (Mental Health) we historically do not.
To be frank, many of our fellow service members have been in and out of therapy for years; yet still face systemic issues mentally, physically, socially, professionally, and in relationships. Track Heroes does not have all the answers, but is on a mission to improve upon issues that remain for many of us.
So, WHAT IS the Track Heroes Program?
First of all, this is not therapy. We do not have 1 on 1 or Group talk therapy. We strongly encourage you to continue current treatments with your Providers and any medications. Track Heroes reserves the right to withdraw a participation offer for active suicidal/homicidal/hallucinations or intoxication during events for the safety of all participants and you!
If selected, participants will agree to participate in our program. This program will include a BMW Performance Driving School in Spartanburg, SC and a High Performance Driver Education (HPDE) event with their own track-capable vehicle at one of our partner racetracks (with part of your BMW participants). Our current partner tracks are Carolina Motorsports Park in South Carolina, Virginia International Raceway, and Summit Point Motorsports Park in West Virginia.
Participants will also fill out biographical/experience surveys along the way, take part in online racing meet-ups once a month for 5 months, and courses of instruction at events aimed at reinforcing some of the neuroplasticity that will be explained.
In the end, you will virtually graduate with a certificate and the status of “Green” in the track circuit if you complete the program. This process generally takes approximately 6 months, with your engagement consisting of dedicating roughly 5 days in person and about 3 hours online once a month for 5 months.
How do I sign up & What is expected from me?
You can sign up on our website. We are currently seeking 12 members from the Lowcountry region for our 2022 class. Through donations, Track Heroes will sponsor the cost of the BMW Race School and Track Registration Fee. Participants will be responsible for Lodging and will be required to book at the hotel we negotiate rates for (for logistics and cohesion).
Please be patient and understand we are a non-profit, 100% funded by donations. We had an overwhelming response by our community for interest, which is amazing! For 2022, there is a change in our application process. We are taking applications; but priority is being given to those fitting our regional demographic and new research criteria for our study, followed by the order the applications are received. We truly hope to serve everyone, but it will take time. As our program, science, sponsors, and donations grow; so too will our slots. Our hope is that the science we discover will be shared and used to advocate for our community to help benefit us all!
Track Heroes uses recent peer reviewed neuroscience research and applies it to High Performance Driver Education (HPDE).
As a Veteran & 1st Responder, you operated in a career of long-term, chronic stress. Over the years, your body psychologically and physiologically (our focus neurologically); learned to adapt to that chronic stress environment. This change occurred in addition to common service-connected injuries such as PTSD, TBI, Anxiety, Depression, and many other physical/mental/social conditions.
Many have received assistance through therapy and medication, yet problems still persist. Our community struggles to cope with the loss of Purpose, Identity, and Comradery. We also struggle with a physiological stress and perception issue.
Diet Science of Stress
You will get a better understanding in our program, but many don’t truly understand what stress is. For starters, we will mention something most have heard of; cortisol. Normally, cortisol is released during a perceived stressful situation. When released, it performs a Relay Race between 3 Racers (Racer 1: CRH, Racer 2: ACTH, Racer 3: Cortisol) through your body and upon coming back tells your brain to stop the cascade of hormones that perform this process (relay race complete).
Sometimes in our population, the first 2 Racers release normally, but get into trouble during the Baton hand-off to the 3rd Racer at the Kidneys. The 3rd Relay Racer’s bridge is broken and the 2nd Relay Racer has to devise a method of handing the Baton to them. As the 3rd Relay Racer hasn’t returned, the brain sends another Relay Racer. You begin to build up a lot of Relay Racer 1 in the Brain (CRH) and Relay Racer 2 in the body (ACTH) with the occasional Relay Racer 3 (Cortisol) getting a Baton and coming to the finish line to complete the circuit to tell the brain to not send another Runner.
Yeah. What the heck does Diet Science Relay Racer’s mean?
You are on-point with questions! I just described the Hypothalamus Pituitary Adrenal (HPA) Axis problem. A build-up of Racer 1 (CRH) in the brain primes what some may have heard referred to as the “Amygdala Hijack.” Basically, it helps make you hyper receptive to fear and anxiety association, which then stimulates the activation of the stress system. It’s a Catch-22 Paradox. Racer 2 (ACTH) has been found directly associated with higher sleep wake cycles. How is your sleep?
Think of this problem cascading multiple times a day over decades. This problem is what we believe persists beyond treatment and is what our non-profit is researching to find solutions to. Track Heroes is part of that mission.
Adaptive Control is a theory developed by our team based on neuroscience designed to tackle complex issues stemming from chronic occupational stress exposure in Veteran and 1st Responder populations by empowering them with practical tools to rapidly regain life function.
Adaptive Control (AC) is different from Mindfulness. Mindfulness is very awesome for centering and de-escalating. Adaptive Control uses tools we teach to recall a mission focused and controlled mindset during points in the day you may become destabilized. This helps you to rapidly regain a mind in control to continue your day. Adaptive Control starts in our Racing Program with our neuroplasticity training.
How was Adaptive Control Established?
In 2020, a crack commando nerd unit was quarantined by Covid-19. They spent over 800-hours reading highly specific, peer-reviewed neuroscience journals and continue today. From this research conducted by scientists over the past 5 years, the elite nerd unit detailed a robust picture of what fMRI and behavioral studies revealed. The nerd team also discovered neuroscience journals on racing; along with neuroplastic training programs. Said nerds began to tie it all together in a training program and field test it in 2021 with amazing results. The outcome was Adaptive Control applied to Track Heroes.
Racing & Neuroscience – For Veterans & 1st Responders
Part of you is probably saying, this is Awesome! The other part, Are you insane putting stressed out people in $100k vehicles over 100mph!?!
Obviously, we don’t just let you rip. Crawl, walk, run (ish). At the BMW Race School, you are driving almost all day. That said, the beginning exercises are at low speeds that help to orient you to the car, track, and atmosphere. Keep in mind that our exercises are deliberate and structured in a way to create something in your neural circuits. Part of it working is you do it, then we tell you what we did.
It’s a small team atmosphere with a small class broken down into smaller groups. You go at your own pace and speed. It’s a very motivating atmosphere. Through the day, you will be rapidly learning and exploring those skills as you see yourself improve. It ends with some light competition. This is a very bonding experience you won’t want to end.
No, this is not a Cult. We want answers for You!
As stated before, we are not therapy. We don’t do 1 on 1 or Group talk therapy. Please continue all treatments with your Providers. We aren’t isolating you or selling fruit punch. No time-shares either. If you’re still reading and asking what’s the catch? Not really going to find one. We are a group of Veterans and 1st Responders who have been through what we are talking about and have watched our peers go through it as well. We have wandered from job to job, unsatisfied. We had a crazy idea and said, “What if?” From the heart, we are trying to do what we are passionate about and love for a living while giving back to make us all better. We want to be part of the solution for us and those to come. This can be huge. We will follow the answer wherever it goes.
What is Next?
The hope for our program is to continue after you graduate as part of our vision to tackle the loss of Purpose, Identity, and Comradery. In the (near) future, we hope to start Track Heroes Car Clubs regionally with graduates as a means to locally meet with your class peers, fundraise for further track events to continue leveling up in the track circuit, give back to peers in need in your community, and mentor others in the program who are beginning their racing journey. Growing our community in size will also drive more donations, sponsors, grants, and funding for our research. Just by participating, you will help us get to new answers.
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In 1997, I began active duty as an Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Technician, or bomb squad, for the Air Force. I did two tours in Iraq, one tour in Afghanistan