I have often said to those who are not racers that I don’t find lazy people who race. Almost to a person, the racers and crews are made up of hard working and ambitious types who are very competitive and are willing to do what it takes to compete.
And so that makes this group and this sport much different than a lot of others in our general population. I think that is true of any sport too. An argument used to be made that race driving is not a sport. But by the work ethic definition, it is by all means a sport. That goes for all of the crew members, just like it goes for the entire football or baseball team, even the second- and third-string players and support personnel and coaches/crew chiefs.
The reason I bring this up is to illustrate to ourselves that we can be proud of who we are. The more chances I get to tell racers how alike we all are, the better in my opinion. I see where intense competition can drive teams to isolate themselves from other teams as if they are different. Not so. We all are very much alike in many respects.
What may differ is the integrity within a team. Not unlike the society we live in today, there may be racers who are in denial as to their actions. It seems to be the popular way to go to deny an action taken by someone that ends up being wrong and where consequences are paid.
Rough driving, blocking, cheating, and assault with a race car are all ways that we can be judged wrong by the officials and it does more harm to deny it occurred or that it was in fact wrong. If we, as racers, can show more integrity and honesty in our racing, it might just be a good example for our young racers and youngsters in general.
Before you write in, I’m not saying there is a problem with integrity or honesty in short track racing. What I’m saying is that I see isolated displays of juvenile behavior that puts a black eye on our sport.
If you have been wronged in an incident, there are several ways you can react. The high road would be to silently steam it off and let the officials take care of the situation. If they don’t take care of it to your satisfaction, a discussion can and must take place once the heat of the moment has passed.
Getting pissed off is a natural result of being wronged and is a basic human trait and one that is common among highly competitive individuals. But showing restraint and using your head is much more mature and a great example for the younger drivers and crews.
Have I ever lost my temper and said or done things I regretted, sure. Would I do those things again looking back and seeing the results, not very often. We all learn from our mistakes and that makes us human. Others learn from our mistakes too. They either learn not to go that route, or they learn that is the way you’re supposed to react which is the wrong lesson.
My purpose in all of this rambling on is to try to clean up our sport a bit. Most racers are doing great in the integrity department. Our federal government could take some lessons from many of the racers I know and have seen across this great nation. Let’s keep up the good work and know that how we display ourselves influences those who are watching.
So, if you are in the tiny minority that can’t handle your anger, learn from your peers who have learned from theirs. Suck it up and bite your lip. Take time for the heat to dissipate before speaking or acting out. In the long run, you’ll be very glad you did.
If you have comments or questions about this or anything racing related, send them to my email address: Bob.Bolles@sorc.com, or mail can be sent to Circle Track, Senior Tech Editor, 9036 Brittany Way, Tampa, FL 33619.
Full Of Hubris?
Yes, thank you for confirming in the Oct. ’13 “Track Tech Q&A” what I had suspected of you. My impression of you was that you are arrogant, full of hubris, and make ignorant comments, and you confirmed just that.
Just before this email, I canceled my subscription, mostly due to your poorly thought out commentary, and for the fact that Circle Track is a waste of my money, compared to what I can read and download from the internet. Your magazine is irrelevant, as far as I’m concerned.
Some points that I want to make: Although I have nothing against a little bump; spinning, door-slamming, and wrecking a competitor is not racing. A real racer, when he is being blocked, finds a way around, not through his competition. Formula 1 racers tend to block sometimes, and seeing someone cleanly get around that is impressive, at least to me.
Dale Earnhardt Sr. was not known as a clean racer, and he wasn’t the only one with that reputation from back in the day. With your logic, was Dale Earnhardt responsible for the crash that claimed his life, since he couldn’t “...stay off someone’s front bumper?”
I’ve been a race fan since 1968, and have been a pit crew member. As far as I have seen, today’s young drivers are just as good, honorable, and professional as any other era. Maybe you were referring to NASCAR drivers, but whoever you were referring to as “you young racers,” was not made clear. I haven’t watched NASCAR in about 30 or more years, so I’m not up to date on what is happening there. I’m a dirt track fan only, and go to races every week possible.
Just because you are getting gray in the beard, doesn’t give you a license or authority to insult, and categorize all of “you young racers” as being “a whiny, pouty, big mouth.” Maybe you ought to think of how you are going to be remembered. If you are so superior, and an authority figure, why don’t you try to educate and encourage “you young racers,” how to become better people, rather than resort to cheap shots and insults, which were not made in the presence of those you are insulting. That was not very brave at all, and revealed your character. It takes more of a man to help make others better, rather than tearing down and insulting them.
Not everybody has a “stoic” personality, and not being talkative is not a sign of superior character. If you haven’t noticed, most Americans are talkative and outgoing. The good old days, and the people in them, weren’t always so good. Time and nostalgia has a way of distorting one’s memory. You are no better than the people that you have insulted, and being older than them, you should know better.
-- Roger Mansfield