“Silly Season” has long been used to describe this time of year in motorsports. The current season is winding down, the NASA Championships are over, season championships are winding down or, in some cases, wrapped up, and people are focused as much on the next season as they are on what’s left of this one. It applies to professional and amateur motorsports alike.
Of course, we in motorsports might like to think we invented the term. Well, I thought we did. However, according to Merriam-Webster, the term is said to have been coined in the 19th century to describe the period during the year that Washington, D.C., was on summer break and European governments were on vacation. This condition put political reporters and journalists with many newspaper column inches to fill in a tough spot — and stories that filled those column inches were deemed in many cases as silly.
Be that as it may, this is a fun time of year, one I always enjoy. On the personal side, the punch list of what my car needs to be ready for next season is manageable, and I at least have a game plan for its driver.
We in the NASA National Office have been working to collect all the requests for rule changes that come in this time of year. It seems pertinent at this point to remind everyone of the 2023 requirement for all cars racing in NASA to have full fire systems on board. If you don’t have one, that should be on your to-do list this offseason. If you already have one, make sure it’s serviced and up to date before the new season begins.
I’m also looking forward to seeing more and more GR Toyotas on track next season. What began with the GR Supra continues with the GR86 and now the new GR Corolla, which was used as the pace car for the 2022 NASA Championships, and displayed in the Toyota booth at the SEMA show this year. Every buyer of one of those cars gets a complimentary one-year NASA membership and one complimentary day of HPDE. Think of how many new people that’s going to introduce to what we do. Think of the significance of the largest car company on the planet placing its faith in NASA and its regions and, ultimately, our instructors. It’s pretty impressive, and it is the ultimate form of flattery for NASA.
We also have been working hard on new sponsorship and contingency programs for next year and even getting a head start on the 2023 NASA Championships at Pittsburgh International Race Complex. I’m really excited about the 2023 NASA Championships. Pitt Race is one of the most underrated tracks in the country. In terms of flow and design, it’s as good or better than any track I’ve driven, and I say that without exaggeration. The racing surface is only a few years old, so it’s excellent and the track itself is huge fun to drive, with blind rises, challenging elevation changes, fast straightaways, all of which is surrounded by some pretty country. It should be perfect in September.
If I haven’t been clear, I’m really looking forward to next season, and that has me in a great mood here lately, which comes as no surprise. Any psychologist will tell you that consistently having something to look forward to is essential to good mental health. Racing is good at providing its participants with something to look forward to every month. Racing also requires a lot of hard work in between, which also is essential for a good state of mind.
So, it could be said that silly season has come to take on a new definition. Because we all are in such a good mood in anticipation of the next season, we’re all feeling a bit giddy. Or maybe that’s just me. I look forward to seeing as many of you in person next year as possible.