Kimmie Serrano expects to spend Mother’s Day weekend like she spends a lot of others — cheering on her favorite Indy driver, her son Sting Ray Robb.
Serrano is Robb’s “momager,” an affectionate catch-all title that provides a snapshot of what she does to help her son pursue his racing dreams.
Robb, who recently moved up from the developmental level Indy Lights (now called Indy NXT) to IndyCar racing, showed a passion for the sport early.
“I can tell you from a mom’s perspective, I had no idea what we were getting into,” she said.
From the moment Robb could speak, she said he would urge, “Go faster, Mom!”
Robb started begging his mom for a go-cart during his preschool years. To keep him from pursuing motorcycle racing, she granted his request, hoping they could quickly move on to the next thing.
“It literally never changed,” she said. “That drive in him, that desire in him, that passion in him was apparently quite ingrained. That is what he is meant to be doing because he has literally never wavered from that.”
As a typical mom worried about her son’s safety, Serrano tried to get him into other sports — anything but race car driving. When her best efforts failed, she finally agreed to support his dream.
However, Robb’s dream wasn’t easy to support. His parents decided to give up their hobbies and contribute any finances needed to fuel his quest. His grandparents, Phil and Suzy Davis, were also a major help.
Both Serrano and Robb’s father, Larry Robb, were constantly working, managing the 100-plus employees at the grocery store they owned. Nothing came easy — they had to work for every opportunity.
“We would roll up in our Tahoe with a cart and a pop-up tent in the back and park next to a semi-trailer that had a big, fancy rig that had 15 engines, and we’ve got the engine we’ve had for 2 ½ years,” Serrano said.
She credits Robb’s character being formed by the hardships they endured, the many mistakes made and a family with a strong faith in Christ.
“Sting Ray has said on numerous occasions that our identity is not found in those successes or those failures; our identity is found in Christ. Honestly, I think that’s what has kept all of us level through all of the ups and downs,” Serrano said.
Serrano has no doubts this is God’s plan, even if it seems “ridiculous” to think that God would create someone to be a race car driver.
“But He truly did. I honestly believe it’s because this is a platform. Here we are on the biggest stage in the U.S. in the motorsports industry. Sting Ray’s got this platform to share about God. What an incredible opportunity,” she said.
“This is his mission. This is where God intended him to be.”
Serrano also wholeheartedly knows that her main role in life is being there for Robb. She also considers it her mission to support others who don’t have that support as much as she can, planting seeds along the way.
Serrano’s journey has included many highs and lows.
One year she and her family were devastated by a losing season, only to win the championship the next year. Serrano and Robb’s dad divorced. However, she married a man who encourages this focus and continues to have a good relationship with Robb’s dad, who is also integral to his racing.
The financial challenges never abated, but God has always provided.
Many times Serrano would see Robb off at an airport and would remind him to call when he arrived to confirm they got the money for the race. If not, he would have to turn around and return home.
“Every single time — I’m not kidding you — every single time, someone called out of the blue and said, ‘Hey, I just want you to know I’ve been watching Sting Ray and I want to help. How can I help?’”
Having a child in such a high-risk sport drives Serrano to God every time he’s on the track.
“I’m insane. I’m an absolutely crazy mother who allows her child — who even supported and encouraged him — to do that. Keep in mind that he’s my only child. I often ask myself, ‘What am I doing?’”
“With the Indy 500 coming up, they’re driving 240 (mph) out there,” Serrano said. “I am absolutely mortified. But I am taking comfort in God’s arms at this point, knowing that He’s got him. He is here because God put him here, and I’m walking in that faith.”
In spite of the fear and the struggles, Serrano loves her life.
“More than anything, I love the relationship that he and I have. He’s often described me as his biggest supporter and also his biggest critic.”
“Maybe that’s why it’s my job in life — that’s why God gave him to me. It’s not always roses. There are times when I want to choke the kid but that’s how parents are. It’s just been such an incredible experience from day one,” she said.
“I’m so blessed to have this time. It’s been an incredible experience, and I can’t wait to see what’s next.”
To learn more about Sting Ray Robb’s racing and how he uses that platform for Christ, go to stingrayrobb.com and follow his social media.