Mark Martin is still winning races at a very advanced age for upper-tier drivers because he knows how to, and instinctually does, drive each lap as fast as the car will allow

Winning in racing means you traveled a defined distance in less time than all of the other competitors, period. Less time means you went faster for longer. In all of the discussion about setups and fast race cars, we sometimes loose the truth that a driver has to take that car and produce the win. It won't do it by itself.

I can't tell you how many times I've been asked to make up for lack of talent or drive in a driver by making changes to the race car. Granted, the car did need a few things, or many, to make it capable of winning, but my job stops when the green flag drops.

I've been "forced" numerous times, through monetary considerations, to work with teams where on closer examination, realized they didn't believe they could win. And that's an important thing to think about if you're part of a team, be it crew, driver, or owner.

Winning starts in your head. Mohammad Ali never once believed he could lose. Richard Petty started every race firmly believing he was going to be the winner, even the last race he won at Daytona, his 200th, against the very best super speedway driver of the day, Cale Yarborough, when he hadn't won in some time and most thought would never win again.

I once designed and set up a car for the owner's kid and we went testing. The driver, a girl who could drive well, was passed by a multi-time champion of the series she raced in and she picked up the pace and stayed with him for a few laps.

Then she dropped off that pace and he pulled away. In the garage after the practice was over, I told her that if she expected to win in this very competitive series, she would have to learn to drive that fast the entire race. That's because that's what winners do.

Mark Martin is still winning races at a very advanced age for upper-tier drivers because he knows how to, and instinctually does, drive each lap as fast as the car will allow. If that's faster than all of the others over the course of the race, he gets the checkered flag first.

Why do Kyle Bush or Jimmie Johnson win so many Cup races? It's because they drive the wheels off the car each and every lap. A great driver can't stand to have anyone in front of him. He races for 10th just like it's for the win. As more cars get picked off, sooner or later, there are no more cars to pass, just distance to put on the field.

So, you might not be there yet, but knowing what it takes to do anything helps you to train yourself. And for racing, you can work on becoming the right kind of driver to be able to win. If you're not winning from lack of desire or stamina, you darn well know it.

The other thing is the progression for winning. I have said this before in past discussions, but it's true. For young and new drivers, winning is a learned experience. Start out learning to finish a race. Then try for a Top 15, then Top 10, then Top 5, and so on. One of the hardest steps is learning to lead a race. There's no one to follow and you must finally set the pace for the field yourself. It'll surprise you how weird that feels.

Progress in your racing in measured and calculated steps. Some of you will be able to move up faster than others, but only you'll know what speed of progression is right for your comfort level. And some tracks/classes/series will be harder to advance in than others. Take that into consideration and don't get frustrated. A Top 5 in the touring Super Late Model divisions is harder than a Top 5 at a local track.

Treat each progression as a win. In that way, you can enjoy success, at least in your own mind and in the thoughts of the entire team if they can take the same approach. When that first race win comes, you'll already have won many times before.