You've seen the guy around the track ever since you've been going there. He doesn't work on any one team, but kind of moves around and talks to nearly everyone-except that goof in the green car that nobody likes. Whenever he visits with someone, they always seem glad to see him. He's stopped by your car between races now and then just to ask, "How ya doing?" He's a friendly sort, but now, late one night when you're alone in the garage fixing last week's damage, here he comes walking up your driveway.

"Hey, man, how's it going?" he asks with a genuine smile.

"It's cool," you reply, wondering where this is going.

"How much car did they leave you?" he asks, looking not at the car but around your garage.

"Not too bad. A bent A-arm and a lot of stuff that needs to be put back into alignment so it'll be ready for this weekend. What, uh, brings you out here tonight?" you ask, not knowing any other way to say it.

He smiles again, looks you right in the eyes, and says, "You know, I've been watching you for two seasons, and you've got talent. You know how to get a lot out of a car without beating it into the ground or eating the fence. But while you're turning left real good, I can see your money turning right into the wall week after week. You up for a little gut-check talk about what to do about it?"

Whoa, you think, what's up with this? But he's already got your attention.

He can see you're interested and says, "Grab some paper and pen, and have a seat on that tire and take some notes, dude. I think I can make your racing life a little easier for you. And before you ask, there are no strings. I like what you do out there, and I'd like to see you get up to the next level. You game?"

"Yeah, man," you say as you head for the workbench and grab some paper and pen.

"OK," he says, "here are 10 ways to make your racing go better without spending a dime." And so he goes...

1 Learn how to tell the difference between wants and needs for your team. Ask yourself: Do you want this, or do you really need it? Sure, having a spiffy new pump jack or a stack of skyscraper toolboxes would be neat and maybe even make you look a little more pro, but not if you need a new clutch or fresh tires to run better. Learn which parts you truly need for better results, and put them high on your priority list. Keep in mind that this is where you have to be hard on yourself to make the right decisions. When you make a bad one, you pay the price-literally. And you go backward because you put your money in the wrong place.

This tip not only applies to parts for your car, but also tools and shop stuff, too. Learn the difference between needs and wants, and your money will go further and with better results. After a while of training yourself on the difference between the two, you'll end up doing it automatically. Wants and needs-learn the difference to get the results you are looking for. But remember that along with those, you need to constantly keep assessing your priorities-kind of like on the track when you're deciding which groove to use to pass someone. Which one is going to work better right now, at this minute? Here's an even better tip: Use a spiral-bound (at the top) pocket notebook to keep this list of hints for yourself. On the front of it mark a "W," (wants) then put a big "N" (needs) on the back. The notebook will help you set your priorities before you write them down.