Mason Massey, a NASCAR Xfinity Series driver, may not be a household name. However, he is part of a group of over 80 million people worldwide who stutter. This communication disorder once held him back from winning a race because he was afraid of being interviewed.
When Massey was about 12 years old, he had the opportunity to win a Legends car race. However, the thought of being interviewed on the public address system on the frontstretch made him anxious. As a result, he intentionally allowed the challenging driver to pass him.
Reflecting on that moment, Massey expresses regret and determination. He vowed never to let his stuttering prevent him from victory again, stating, “I’m not gonna let this cost me a victory.” He realized that his goal and dream since childhood would be hindered if he allowed his speech impediment to hold him back.
Despite his struggles, Massey persevered. Throughout the years, he won 200 feature events and 11 championships in Bandolero, Legends, and dirt racing. Notable achievements include the 2012 U.S. Legends national championship and the 2020 Crate Late Model championship at Senoia Raceway in Georgia. In the current season, he has participated in a limited schedule for SS-Green Light Racing in NASCAR’s Xfinity Series, with a notable 10th-place finish at New Hampshire.
Massey’s stuttering is now seen as a motivator rather than a hindrance. He believes that without it, he may not have reached his current position. The challenge pushed him to work harder and improve on the race track. As a result, he has become grateful for his stutter.
Stuttering primarily affects males, with over 3 million Americans experiencing it, according to The Stuttering Foundation. Around 5 percent of children go through a period of stuttering lasting six months or more, but the majority recover by late childhood. However, approximately 1 percent struggle with a long-term stuttering problem, including Massey.
Massey acknowledges the difficulties he faced growing up with a stutter, especially in relation to his racing career that required constant communication with his team and interviews. He sought help from a speech pathologist, who provided him with tools to manage his speech impediment. Ultimately, he learned to accept himself and be true to who he is.
Today, Massey has a different perspective on his speech issue. He no longer worries about what others think and is okay with stuttering in front of people. While he continues to work on improving his speech, he has also embraced the idea that his stutter is part of God’s plan for him.
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