(LEFT) Racing is hard, especially if you’re convinced thatyou’re not fast enough to run with the big dogs in closequarters. (BELOW) When everything comes together,success will follow. And who doesn’t like winning?
Anything you can do to softenthe car will help you maximizewhat limited grip is available.
Try it, you might like it.
“I don’t want to hold anyone up.”
Some drivers are so lacking inconfidence that they becomefocused on not messinganyone else up and becomeoverly fixated on their mirrors.
Meanwhile, an overtakingdriver’s biggest fear is that thecar ahead will try to help themby getting out of the way.
Even if you are not one ofthe quick cars, look ahead anddrive your line. Being mirror-aware is good but being mirrorobsessed is dangerous. Driveyour line and give a point-by ifsomeone comes up quickly butstay with your job: Drive yourcar and let others drive theirs.
About the author:
A racecar driver coach since
2010, drivers coached byJim Kearney have beenon the Runoffs podium
15 times, scoring six goldmedals (two each in FV,FF, FC, FE, HP), two silver(both in FE), and six bronze(four each in FV, FC, P1,FM). Jim has also coachedthe FRP F2000 championtwice. Ross Bentley alsorecently noted in his SpeedSecrets Weekly that theSCCA Runoffs may be theone of the biggest mentalchallenges in sport. Rosssaid: “Guess who I’d get tocoach me if I was racing inthe Runoffs? Why? BecauseJim tunes the helmet.”Check out kearneykdd.comfor more information.
THE AUTHOR’S EARLY DAYS
My racing career began with a shock – more precisely,anaphylactic shock. What was supposed to be a routine iodinedye test resulted in a few days in intensive care. And it made methink: if I had died, would I have been satisfied with my life?
As a spectator in 1967, roughly a decade prior to that aforementionedhospital visit, I’d seen Jim Clark win the Grand Prix at Watkins Glen.
It was thereafter the only sport I followed. I then went to the Indy 500,plus more races at the Glen and Mosport, but always as a spectator.
In 1977, shortly after leaving the hospital, I heard that Bill ScottRacing was offering a Solo 1 school at Summit Point where youcould drive your own car on a real racetrack – I quickly signed up.
At the end of the day, Bill Scott came over to me, in a crowd of 50participants, and shook my hand. He said, “It would be a shame if youdon’t race.” I have no recollection of what I said. Perhaps I fainted.
Two months later I rented one of BSR’s Showroom Stock C Pintosfor a SCCA Driver’s School. At the end of a workday in Lancaster, Pa.,I drove to McLean, Va., picked up the Pinto, and then drove to Lime Rock.
I racked out in a sleeping bag, and I knew next to nothing. I’d broughta roll of white adhesive tape for my numbers, and I failed tech as ataillight bulb was out. To rectify that problem, I borrowed Chip Gnassi’staillight bulb from another BSR Pinto and returned it following tech.
A leaky left front tire had me gridded in the back, but with a quick repairI made my way up to finish second. The winner’s best lap was a 1: 18.1;mine was 1: 18. 3. Thinking back, it was like someone had pulled an elasticband taunt for 15 years and then let it snap forward at the green flag.
I was startled recently when I came across this photo from myvery first race, a long-ago adventure. Borrowed driver’s suit andbig grin. At age 30, and after watching racing for 15 years, I’dfinally got on track. You never know if you don’t go. Life is short.