Learning Curve: Act Like A Pro, On And Off The Track

By Will Faules

June 06, 2016

This week's column comes to us from Team Winding Road member Will Faules. Will is the Regional Director of the NASA Texas Region, so he knows a thing or two about how to conduct one's self in motorsport. -ed
In my lifetime of involvement in the world of road racing, one thing is strikingly obvious: People do this for fun. Sometimes it can be tough for highly competitive people – like racing drivers – to draw a line between fun and taking one more position.
True pros will always try to remember that it is more important for the car to cross the finish line in one piece, collect points, and allow the crew to focus on preparing for the next event rather than having to thrash on a car before heading to the next event. 
We’re not talking about the last lap of the Daytona 500 here, or the rare chance that there is a battle for the lead of the 24 hours of Le Mans with only an hour to go. We’re talking about once a month amateur road racing where the best prizes are new social media photos standing on a podium, a cheap trophy, and a couple hundred dollars in contingency prizes.  
The difference in finishing 4th in a clean race or finishing 3rd from crashing into your buddy just isn’t worth it in club racing. There’s a few bucks in prize money for the spot, but the potential to strain a friendship because you made a bad move on someone becomes higher. Not to mention the probable fallout with a racing organization for being at fault.
The point is, in order to help keep this fun for everybody, you have to care as much about your fellow co-drivers having a good experience as you do about collecting as many positions as you can.  Maybe think twice about that gutsy pass and tell your friends you’ll get ‘em next time as you toast to beers in the paddock instead of working on your mangled car all night.