6 Read Stock Car books and magazines until your head explodes, then read some more. This racing stuff is based on mathematical formulas that really hasn't changed much over the years. Even an old book or magazine article can jog an idea back to life, if not give you a fresh new one. If you're serious about racing, you should have about a half a million questions you'd like answered at any given time. Reading will help the thought process and might answer a few of them. Remember, it's a successful day if you learn something new-even if your car does get torn up.
7 Visit other tracks; study other types of cars and racing. If you run pavement, go look at a dirt track. If you're a dirt tracker, hit the pavement track and look around. Check out all the different ideas you haven't seen before. While you're at it, make sure you understand how those ideas actually work. Try talking to some of the people there (networking), and see if they'll answer your questions. You're no threat to them-you don't even race there. Look for anything you don't understand, and learn how it works. Then you can see if it applies to your car. The same goes for driving style, and even in the pits, where you may find some ideas for better pit equipment and procedures. Watch for timesaving methods and tools, too.
8 Learn how to weld. Learn gas, stick and wire welding. If you can make it yourself, you don't have to fork over the cash to buy it. Look at it this way: You can make a shock mount with a welder and some steel. Can you make a tire? If you learn how to weld, you cannot only make your own parts but also someone else's. Hit that new network of yours and find someone with a welder, buy them lunch, and have them give you the basics of welding. Buy a box of rods, sticks, or wire-and practice. The highest sought-after commodity in NASCAR shops is the dude or dudette who can fabricate. Once you get good enough, start thinking about getting your own machine or rig. Read on for several places to find them at a good price.
9 Go to garage sales, flea markets, swap meets, and auctions. Garage sales and flea markets have almost anything-most importantly, surprises such as parts and tools. Even if it's not what you need, it might be trading material for a great price. If you go to enough of these events, you'll probably find someone asleep on something good. It will pay off. Imagine a neighborhood artist who wants to sell the welder he uses to sculpt metal. Will it work on a race car? What do you think? Car and even truck swap meets and shows are also great places to find deals. At truck shows, the motor, tranny, and rear-end parts are just the same as oval-track swap meets. If nothing else, you can expand your contacts even more.At all these events, however you should know your prices to tell a good deal from a bad one. Visiting these sales should also teach you another talent you'll really need: negotiating. Learn how to negotiate at these events and once you know the correct values, you'll save even more. You don't want to pay a penny more than you have to. Make your money go further.
Auctions can help teach you the values of items as they are being sold. But keep in mind they are just the prices that are going for the day of that auction. It depends on the people there that day, but generally you can get an idea of a going price. IRS auctions are great places to get good deals on almost anything a business could have. This includes tools, cars, parts, and office equipment. Keep in mind that if it's a really good deal, you might want to grab it and sell it to someone else. All this will help you with the next one, too.
10 Trade stuff. Trade parts, trade tools, trade favors, and trade some of your networking contacts. Chances are your pit crew works for nothing, right? Trade them for their work with tools and whatever you've found at those flea markets and swap meets. Repair some street cars for money, or something you need, with friends and neighbors. Remember the guy who taught you to weld? Maybe he needs a brake job on the family beater. Now you can weld the tractor for the guy next door for a few bucks and a lot of good PR in the neighborhood. Trade stuff and favors with the guys you compete against. After all, some of them are at your level and already know the value of trading.
So now that your head is spinning with all these cool ideas, this guy is on his feet and ready to leave-just like that.
"Hey, man, I don't even know your name," you say.
"My name is Turner, but all my friends call me Lefty. See you at the races," He says, then smiles and waves good-bye.