Any racer worth his or her salt knows that to have a successful race, one must be prepared. With that train of thought in mind, let’s get ourselves working on a game plan for the new year.
First, we will need to set some goals. Call it a wish list or even things we dream about, but if you truly want to make those dreams a reality it’s important to set goals that are realistic and attainable. Make goals that are measurable, like lap times. Design goals that can be accomplished with the help of your team, and include your family. Everyone loves being a part of obtaining goals, and keep in mind there is no better way to set an example to your children than by letting them see your efforts pay off as well as including them in those efforts.
So, what is it you would like to do? And don’t just say, “I want to win races.” That goes without saying. After all, that’s why we joined NASA, right? Let’s start with basics. How’s the car? What can I do to make it faster without needing to rob a bank. Keep in mind, a great NASA instructor can teach you things that many times don’t cost a thing. So, considering some better coaching is always something to entertain. This is the perfect time during the preseason to consider coaching.
One of my favorite pre-season things to do every year was to clean up the car, the trailer and don’t forget a trailer is worthless if the tow rig isn’t reliable. Having a well-laid-out trailer can make race weekends so much more fun. Build some racks that hold clear bins so you can quickly and easily see what’s inside. Start stocking up on needed parts like brake pads, shocks, gaskets, etc., a little at a time so your wallet finds time to breathe. Create containers for lubes, sealants, brake cleaner, and so on.
Well, enough about the car, trailer and tow rig, but know they are equally as important as the desire to be a better driver capable of faster laps that ultimately will put you on the podium. So, let’s begin asking ourselves, what goals should I be looking at to realistically have a more fruitful year?
First of all stop focusing on just winning a damn race. Learn to focus on being a truly clean driver, one everyone loves to go head to head with. The only way you’ll ever do that is by being able to know your limits and the limits of your car and being able to put your car wherever you want to, exactly when you want to. How do we do this?
When asked why he won so many wars, Napoleon Bonaparte replied, “When in doubt, attack, attack, attack!” Using this line of thinking simply means, practice, practice, practice. You don’t have to be running in the very front of the pack to earn the respect of fellow drivers, but learning exactly what areas you need to practice on will eventually get you to the front, so you’re already winning and just didn’t realize it.
When it’s all said and done, it’s you who has all the answers and the ability to find hidden speed. Learn to open your mind by not trying to build the Titanic, but by learning to build the best rowboat instead. Find out how to row faster than anyone. Once you’ve dialed that in, remember that line from “Jaws” when Brody says, “You’re gonna need a bigger boat.” In other words, work on you, then a faster car. Be positive this is going to be a great season and enjoy a great NASA new year.