Best Buy employee driven by roar of the engine

Chris DeHarde loves motorsports. He’s been to every Indianapolis 500 since 1996 — when he was 7 years old — and writes about racing for various media outlets.

The problem was, he was living in his native New Orleans, working part time at Best Buy.

“I was talking to a couple friends and they said you need to move to Indianapolis if you want to pursue this full time,” Chris says. “So I went to a Best Buy in Noblesville, Indiana, and said, ‘I work at this Best Buy outside New Orleans, can we make this happen?’ Two weeks later, I was driving to Noblesville.”

Now based about 40 minutes from the Iegendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Chris’s job in the Best Buy warehouse helps finance his growing freelance writing career. For one thing, it helped him earn enough to buy a car, which he drives to various races, often overnight.

“It’s been a crazy ride,” he says. “I’ve gotten to do things I never thought I’d do. So far this year, I’ve driven to Alabama, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa and Ohio. I just got back from Toronto, and I’m heading to Missouri in late August.”

He usually has to cover his own travel expenses. At one race he had to share a hotel room with three other people, but he says it’s part of the territory he’s willing to deal with to make it work.

‘Competition and action’

Chris grew up in a racing family. His dad has only missed four Indy 500s since 1960. One of them was for his high school graduation — which his father missed. Why? Because he was at the race.

“I just love the competition and the action,” Chris says. “There’s no end to how many cool stories you can find in motorsports, and I want to tell those stories.”

He also has some pretty good stories of his own. In 2016, for the 100th Indianapolis 500, Chris covered seven races at four different race tracks over the course of four days leading up to the big event.

“I left Anderson, Indiana, and got to the hotel around 1 a.m. on race day,” he says. “Two of my buddies told me as soon as I walked in that they were leaving soon and to take a shower quickly. I was at Indianapolis Motor Speedway by 2:20 a.m. and, at that point, we already were on the second row of cars in the media parking lot.”

With a degree in mass communications, Chris has covered races for various websites and has written about high school sports for newspapers.

“My goal is to make motorsports my living,” he says. “And right now Best Buy is funding my dream.”