Race Car Driver Keeps It 'All in the Family' On and Off the Tracks

By Annette Dawm, WorkStory Ambassador

Joshua “Josh” Stade works as an Estimator and Project Manager for his family owned and operated business, MEI Paving, in his hometown of Chesley, Ontario. In addition, once the racing season begins, Josh can also be seen behind the wheel of #17 on race tracks across the province! At work for Josh, no two days are the same. He loves working with different personnel each day and going through a variety of tasks such as “pricing a job or running equipment. [It’s] not usually the same day to day.”

One constant in Josh’s life is that his family is always by his side and fully supports him, whether it is at work, or throughout his racing career, which he sees as a “hobby”. Josh says that his family has played “a huge role” in his professional life: “They have taught me everything I need to know. There are many things to owning your own business, [like] saving money, pricing jobs, [and] managing staff and money.” The Stade family are a team in every sense of the word and Josh still learns from them every day. Racing late models may be a hobby for them, but there is still a lot of work that goes into this passion, and every member of the Stade family is involved (along with some of their closest friends). As part of “Stade Motorsports”, Josh is the team driver and his dad, Duane is one of the crew chiefs. His mom, Theressa is the main photographer and videographer. Josh’s older sister, Vanessa, as well as his girlfriend, Bailey (pictured with Josh) work together on marketing and promotions while the youngest Stade sibling, Jodie manages prizes and giveaways!

Not every family is as closely knit as the Stade’s, but Josh wishes for more parents to be supportive of their kids when it comes to activities that interest them: “If you can support your kids’ dreams and goals, and they’re willing to work hard for something, [you] should at least give them a chance. My parents got us involved with racing to keep us off the streets and as a result, it has me doing hands-on experience [which helps] me every day. [It’s] as simple as fixing your own personal vehicle. There is more than one benefit to what I have learned throughout my racing. I have had a ton of great driving practice and awareness as well. Parents need to get more involved in their kids’ lives. Too many kids are hanging out on streets, so if they’re willing to work hard for something, support them as much as you can.”

Also in terms of family, Josh has followed in his father’s footsteps by studying Civil Engineering at Georgian College. Additionally, he has also found a family setting on the race tracks: “My favourite tracks are Sunset Speedway and Sauble Speedway” says Josh, because both venues have a “welcoming atmosphere with lots of friends! It brings the racing community together like one, big family—from racing to camping. It's more than being on the track, it's the social aspect as well.”

Josh has won many awards over the years, including “Rookie of the Year” in 2009 and “Most Improved Driver” in 2010, 2011 and 2014. Stade states that his progress “has been all learning curves. My team and I improve more and more each year, and it’s very pleasing to see great results as you grow in the racing sport.”

In the future, Josh would like to give back to his team and his community by winning a championship, but even now, he has reason to celebrate. On May 2, 2015, Stade had his most rewarding experience as a driver so far: “[It was] my first opening travel feature win down at Sunset Speedway. It was big for me because we worked very hard to accomplish that checkered flag and there were 31 race cars on opening night.... Sunset Speedway had just become a NASCAR sanctioned race track, so it was a huge success to go against the best drivers in Ontario and win!”

For anyone out there who has a dream they wish to pursue, Josh Stade offers the following advice: “If you have a dream, you have to chase it. It never comes easy, but that's my lifestyle. Family business and racing is all I do. I spend it alongside great friends and family and work hard for what I want. So, if you have a dream or goal, you have to work hard for it and not let anyone hold you back, because in the end it's going to make you happy and the hard work will pay off!”

To learn more about Josh and his team, click here.