Jennifer and Tim Andrews: A Love Story

Jennifer and Tim Andrews at Lucas Oil Raceway in July.
Tim Andrews has been involved in racing his whole life, as it turns out so has his wife, Jennifer.

Growing up in Ohio, with generations of her family being farmers, Jen was worlds away from stock car racing. That all changed once her father Alan began working in the ARCA series as a jackman for Bobby Bowsher. (Bowsher was the ARCA Series Champion in 1992 and again in 1994) Her mother Michele was also involved in racing at the time, keeping lap times for the team. This later parlayed into a job in public relations with several teams, including Cunningham Motorsports.

All it took was for Michele to meet Tim (who was a development driver at the time) while he was racing for the bells to ring insider her head. She declared to her daughter, “I found your next boyfriend!” Jennifer brushed it off, she was uninterested. Heading to the next race, Jen packed up with her mom for the driver to Pocono on the condition: no bugging about this guy. Well that guy, Tim Andrews won the pole for the race that weekend. During a cookout after qualifying, Tim and Jen met for the first time as he sat beside her on the only open seat, an empty cooler. That’s all it took for the two to hit it off. That same night they went out on their first date, bowling. Tagging along on the date was Jen's mom and a friend. 

A long distance relationship ensued, Tim was traveling to race and also spot for Kyle Petty in the Cup Series while Jennifer was back home in Ohio. In April of 2008 they both decided that was enough of the long distance and Jen moved south to North Carolina to be with Tim.

The Love Story:

AE: How did Tim Propose to you?
JA: We had been talking about it for a while. We had gone on a cruise, I thought he was going to do it then and he didn’t so I was trying to give him plenty of opportunities to propose. He had the ring two weeks before he proposed in August of 09. What he did was, we were going to Gatlinburg with some family for my grandmother’s 80th birthday, for a long weekend. I also convinced his mother to go along, not knowing this was when he would propose. So she drove out there with us and was just randomly video taping things and her excuse for the camera was because Tim has a race in Chicago that weekend so she wanted to drive along to the race to tape it.

We got to the cabin, it was one big cabin that we were all staying in, and my sister-in-law was just as absolutely excited as possible. She was making double sure she had her video camera, she was just so stoked. Kaci (my SIL) asked Tim when he was going to do it, he said probably after dinner, so she went outside to go get some bags and at that moment Tim decided he could not wait any longer and proposed in front of our whole family. (Except Kaci the one who was so excited)

It is now a running joke with Tim and Kaci that he could not wait long enough for her to get inside, I guess you could say the ring was burning a hole in his pocket? The following morning Tim and Jen packed up and headed to Chicago for the Truck Series race. At the track the couple shared the good news with their racing family.

Jen and Tim at the track the morning after getting engaged. Romantic? To racing diehards, yes!

Tim and Jennifer were married on November 27, 2010.

About Tim: Getting to the fun stuff

AE: Does Tim have a pet peeve?
JA: The pet peeve that comes to mind about Tim, he is so anal when is comes to wires. All the wires behind our TV have to be tied together, have to have a zip tie on them and any wire he sees laying loose has to be folded up and zip tied. (Tim, please come to my house, my wires at the computer and TV are a mess.) He gets that straight from his dad, his dad is the same way. It’s ridiculous, he is not a messy person, he picks up after himself but he is crazy about the wires. We can’t get our Wii out because the cords are so tight.

Another one would be that Tim is a bear in the morning. Me, the instant my eyes are awake, I am talking full speed and I am ready to start my day. He is not until he gets in the shower and gets his breakfast, then he is ready, until then he is not one to talk. I am talking like crazy and it drives him nuts and I do that on purpose now.

AE: What is one thing about Tim that you think nobody really knows?
JA: I think the biggest thing is that Tim has the biggest heart of anybody I have ever met, almost to a fault. He can almost get walked over because he is so nice and caring about people. He would do anything for me, anything for my family, anything for his family, he is just the sweetest and most caring person I have ever met. He is probably not in the right business for it. (laughing)

AE: For a racing fan that is reading this, what is one thing you want them to know about Tim?
JA: I think what sets Tim apart from other drivers is all the different jobs he has had in the sport. Tim built his own legends car, he has been a suspension specialist, a car chief, a spotter…you know Tim is the main person that works on and sets up his car. He is the one who calls for adjusts on his car now, he has such a wide knowledge and knows the sport inside and out. He is very technical when it comes to his race cars.

Life as a NASCAR Wife:

AE: How do you manage life as a NASCAR wife, your own personal life and job and trying to make it to the track to support your husband as well? It’s a lot to balance at once.
JA: Well I knew what I was getting myself into. (Given her racing knowledge from childhood) I knew Tim was going to be gone every weekend, that is just part of it. You take the good with the bad. This is his lifelong dream and I fully support it, it’s my dream to, so you just have to work towards it. It’s tough that I have to stay and work, we have a dog so I stay home with her a lot.

Family photo: Tim, Jen and Buckeye
But I try, unfortunately, Tim is doing a lot of start and parks this year just trying to get his name out there, but I try to arrange my schedule to be there if he is going to run the whole race. It’s hard, when he ran California this year in the Nationwide series for the whole race, I wasn’t there. I do not know who had it worse, his father (Paul Andrews is a winning CC in NASCAR) or me, we were both struggling really hard with it. Not knowing what was going on with the car, what Tim was saying and obviously the TV is not following him at all.

AE: Were you there for his race at LOR?  Andrews was slated to run the entire event but was  involved in a late race wreck with Michael Annett. Following the accident emotions ran high. 
JA: (laughs) Yes, I was there for that one. Thankfully, I don’t know if I have ever been home when he wrecked. Luckily, because it is so comforting to hear him come on the radio right away and say “I am fine” or start yelling at someone. But, yes I was there for that.

AE: How do you handle those emotions in the moment without totally losing your cool?
JA: I really think the most stressful part is qualifying, because he has to qualify in and if he misses the race, it is just a total loss and it is such a let down. Really that is my most stressful time, watching them race I feel like I can calm down and enjoy the time between qualifying and the race with Tim. I just spend as much time with him as I can and enjoy pre-race as well.

When it comes to wrecks, at Indy, it was right in front of our pit box. It seemed like it happened in slow motion, but he is so good about coming on the radio to say he is okay. It just seemed like it happened so slow, that I didn’t really have time to process and start freaking out because I heard his voice immediately and I can tell he is okay. Then at that point I just want to get to the infield care center to see him.

The hard emotional part is just wanting to punch something when something like that happens. It is so frustrating, you get so mad when they are very few good opportunities right now and when the get wrecked, it is just so frustrating. I just want to punch the pit box to get my frustrations out.

AE: It’s been a rough year for Tim, as you said, having to start and park most weeks. Is the frustration of that all something that is left on track, or does it get brought home as well?
JA: That is a very timely question! We have been battling about that all summer. He definitely brings it home with him, I mean this is his life and what he wants to do. He gets frustrated, is trying as hard as he can and just not getting where he wants to be right now. He comes home, I am his wife, so I am his sounding board and I listen to his frustrations. It’s been a tough summer of him, just when you think you see the light, it gets shut. I sit there and listen and then vent to my family, so my family gets my venting. I try not to take it out on him, cause I understand why he is frustrated, that is my job to help pick him up and get him through this.

After getting to know Jennifer and Tim through their separate interviews (catch up and read Tim’s interview here : A career in limbo.) I am impressed that ever-present through the struggles of this year is their positive attitudes. Sooner or later a team will realize that they need Tim Andrews as their driver and snag him u,p and when that happens, standing beside him will be his loving wife Jennifer.

I would like to thank Jennifer for opening up to me, it was such a pleasure getting to know you and Tim. Thanks to Melissa Wright for helping to arrange these interviews.

NASCAR By the Numbers and In the Rearview Mirror (looking back at NASCAR's history) are Amanda's two weekly columns with Skirts and Scuffs, but as an Associate Editor her duties are limitless. Amanda also strives to provide exclusive interviews for the readers of Skirts and Scuffs. To read her past columns and interviews, click here. Feel free to follow Amanda on Twitter.
Jennifer and Tim Andrews: A Love Story Jennifer and Tim Andrews: A Love Story Reviewed by Unknown on Thursday, August 25, 2011 Rating: 5