Anyone who has raced in NASA’s Arizona Region has probably met Robert Rose at least once. Whether he’s recruited you to join the Spec Miata class, taught your HPDE course, coached or competed against you in Spec Miata or Time Trials, Rose is busier than a politician working the crowd during a NASA race weekend.
“Describe me as this crazy guy out there in Arizona with seven children who since 2013 has been on eight different teams with a bunch of different goofy team names,” Rose said with a laugh. “They’ll probably know who I am.”
Rose is a ball of energy whose passion for auto racing runs deep since he started racing in 2006 when he was the lone Mazda Miata driver in a sea of Chevrolet Corvettes. Fifteen years later, he’s still as enthusiastic as Arizona Region’s Spec Miata leader and chief recruiter.
“It’s kind of the Tom Sawyer effect, where I start painting the fence, make it look really enjoyable and then put the brush in everyone else’s hand and just step away and let them find out how great it is,” Rose said.
The Arizona Region is averaging 16 Spec Miata cars per event, far from the days when just a handful of cars would compete in the class. While Rose deserves credit for growing the ranks, he credits the previous Spec Miata leaders for setting the table. “A lot of it was timing,” he said. “They did the heavy lifting and got the group off the ground.”
When Rose isn’t teaching an HPDE course or working with a driver, he competes in Time Trial and Spec Miata. Some drivers use Time Trial to put down a hot lap or learn the track in preparation for the Spec Miata race but not Rose. His priority is on Time Trial and earning a ticket to the NASA National Championships.
“I’ve been competing in NASA for 14 straight years and the stars have never aligned to where I can go to the Nationals,” he said.
Rose operates a two-car program with his original Spec Miata running Time Trial and the other car dedicated to Spec Miata. How does a guy with seven kids afford to maintain a two-car racing program? He’s glad you asked.
Rose has teammates for his Time Trial and Spec Miata cars, and he encourages other budget-minded racers to seek out teammates to reduce costs. It’s not an arrive-and-drive program. Think of it as a cooperative. Rose handles race logistics, tow and will do basic work on the cars, while his teammates are happy to wrench on the vehicles.
Jon Davies has been teammates with Rose for the past two seasons, joining the team after Rose approached him at the track. Rose became Davies’ driving coach, pushing him out of his comfort zone and encouraging Davies to compete in Time Trials.
“He’s just a very genuine, kind of outgoing, very happy, positive guy and looking for the best in things,” Davies said. “He’s just very motivated. When he gets an idea in his head or he wants to do something or wants to achieve something, he will move mountains to be able to do it.”
The team aligns with Rose’s vision to come to the races with the cars fully prepared and goals for the weekend.
“When I go to the track, I’m going to win. I know what contingency I’m trying to line up for, and I know exactly what I need to do to achieve those goals,” Rose said. “I’m definitely not the guy that shows up to the track and just kind of figures it out later.”
Rose encourages other racers to get car maintenance done before race weekend. Racers who do all their maintenance and work at the track don’t stay in the sport for long, he said. That’s why Rose works to bring local vendors out to the track so racers can support local businesses and find experts for tires, brakes and mechanical work.
“They work on everyone else’s car, and you get better service, better results and better quality,” he said.
Rose encourages his fellow Spec Miata racers to share video and data with their competitors to build camaraderie and raise the level of racing — though he does not share his Time Trial data.
“We’re adding a bunch of cars, but we’ve got to make sure we’re also elevating everyone’s pace so that we’re all together,” he said. “We don’t want a field of 20 Spec Miatas all racing by themselves because everyone is doing their own thing.”
Rose’s ties to NASA runs deep because his father would take him to races as a kid. When Rose got older, he bought a street car and started doing autocross before progressing into NASA. It was at the track where Rose met Dr. Paul J. Lynch, the co-founder and CEO of Arizona Pain, which has four clinics in the greater Phoenix area. Lynch took such as liking to Rose, he hired Rose as his executive assistant in 2011.
The boundless energy is a must, especially raising seven children with his wife Launa in San Tan Valley, Ariz. The couple, who have been married to six years, have two children and adopted five other children. “My wife is Mother Teresa, she’s an amazing woman,” Rose said.
Rose is applying the lessons from raising a large family, that ranges from 3 to 16 years old, to serving as a Spec Miata leader.
“I don’t put up with much shenanigans from our racers because I deal with all kinds of stuff,” Rose said. “They all know that I got a bunch of kids that were in the system and so they know that I don’t have much tolerance for rudeness or just bad behavior.
“Being an only child, patience or lack thereof has always been kryptonite for me. This has definitely taught me a lot more patience.”
|Racing Class:||TT5 “Black Betty” and SM “Betty White”|
|Sponsors:||My family, Elevated Trackside Photos|
|Day Job:||Executive Assistant at Arizona Pain|
|Favorite Food:||I’ll eat most anything not spicy|
|Favorite TV show:||“Top Gear”|
|Favorite Movie:||“The Big Lebowski”|
|Favorite Book:||“How to Become a Rainmaker”|
|Favorite Track:||Probably one I haven’t driven yet|
|Dream Racecar:||The car that takes me to a National Championship|