Is There An End In Sight?

Have you ever asked yourself what it will take to feel accomplished as a racecar driver? How many trophies do you need sitting on the mantle? Will I ever be satisfied? When is enough, enough?

In the beginning, we are simply trying to turn a satisfactory lap time. Turning that time two laps in a row, all the better, and heaven forbid we find enough consistency to turn lap times close to our class competitors. This is indeed the first item we cross off our bucket list. But what’s next? Finding more speed, of course. Without realizing it, this is how our obsession starts, and that bucket list begins growing.

This is when we find ourselves wishing we could move up to HPDE4, then that big day we get our rookie competition license! Now we’ve fulfilled our wildest ambitions, right? Wrong! This is just the beginning, bucko. Next is competing in our first race. Then we hope to qualify well. Then we hope to podium. Then we simply must stand on that top podium step and take home some hardware to place on that mantle. Suddenly that plastic trophy is worth more than any possession in your home. Have we reached our pinnacle yet? Not even close.

Now we find ourselves adding to that bucket list. “Beat that SOB that everybody’s been talking about for so long!” If I could just beat that driver, I’d be a god! Wrong again. Now it’s all about beating him every race weekend. It can become an obsession. The importance of improving our lap times by seconds now becomes hundredths of a second until we actually look at the race results and see “New Lap Record” next to our time. Now were happy! Nope, not yet.

Suddenly, the next line scribbled on our bucket list is, “Win season championships.” Yep, that would be all it takes to complete this journey. Total nirvana … a state of perfect happiness, an ideal or idyllic place. Who are you kidding, grasshopper? Even a Buddhist monk isn’t going to be satisfied with a season championship. Like you, he knows there’s so much more to be achieved so the next line on that never ending bucket list is a simple five words. “Back-to-back season championships.”

Just admit it: You’re a race junkie and there’s no cure in sight. When you’re 95 years old, you’re still going to be thinking about that bucket list and dreaming up I coulda, shoulda, woulda wishes.

Is this drive or obsession? Drive is “an intense desire or enthusiasm for something.” Obsession is an idea or thought that continually preoccupies or intrudes into a driver’s mind. Obsession is really drive that is out of control! There is a fine line between drive and obsession. What makes the distinction confusing is that drive and obsession exhibit very similar symptoms. Yet in many ways, drive and obsession are opposite. Drive is the driving factor toward success, but it is controlled by established priorities, a strategy, and proper perspective. Obsession, on the other hand, drives you over the edge, leads you out of control, and pushes you down a path to certain destruction.

Drive helps you to achieve a goal, so it’s about results. But obsession becomes more about the effort that goes into the goal, ambition, or desire, than achieving it. Are you beginning to see what you’re doing to yourself? Don’t allow yourself to become obsessed, but learn to be passionate about having drive. You will eventually find all those bucket list lines crossed off and you’ll be standing on top of a NASA podium.


  1. I just started this summer and caught the bug after only one day at the track. I immediately bought an older, reasonably priced track capable car (for <10k) and began to upgrade it. I felt that this could become obsessive if i didn't set a budget so i did, but those first few months this summer were spent entirely in the garage, when not at work. I tempered myself but it was hard. I told myself there's plenty of time to prep this car, a little more every season, not all at once. so I've entered a phase where I'm enjoying the smaller upgrades. I enjoy seeing the car improve in small steps. and come next year I'll have a full eight months or so on the track.

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