“What was the cost of your new motor?”
When the driver/owner gave a five figure amount to the reporter, the reporter was quick to respond back with a follow-up question.
“Why would you spend that much money on a motor when you are here to race an event that only pays $1,000 to win?”
Without hesitation, the driver/owner looked that motor and made a simple comment.
“This is my boat.”
Many others in auto racing would say the same thing. They give that answer because, for many, auto racing is a hobby. It is their weekend golf outing, family time on the boat, fishing, playing a sport, etc.
Some others see it as an opportunity to find a career in the sport. While the focus is always on young drivers trying to be the next big star in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, there are also many, many others trying to find their niche in this sport.
There are many teenage pit crew members hoping to move up the ladder and get that golden opportunity to move to North Carolina and work on a NASCAR team.
At the same time, there are many who want to work on the media side.
Some hope they can start as a track announcer hoping that they can someday work for the Motor Racing Network or Performance Racing Network.
If they can’t talk, they can write and many hope that their work can be seen by tracks, series, and media outlets hoping to give them that chance to make a living writing or talking about something they love to share with the world.
Some will get on a fast track and within an instant; they are in North Carolina busting their butts while wearing a shirt that says Hendrick, Ganassi, Childress, Gibbs, and others on them.
Many will write blogs or submit stories to editors hoping that it will land on a news website, magazine or newspaper, getting that validation that someone felt your storytelling was worth sharing to their mass of followers and subscribers.
The sacrifice that many of these make to get somewhere is one of the most humbling experiences any human will ever imagine. Some will stay in their vehicle during multi-day shows or room in hotel rooms that receive negative stars.
It becomes a “dog eats dog” world as one tries to outdo the other to get noticed and take another step up on the ladder. Emotions are felt and egos are bruised during this time. People will step over another in hopes of getting ahead.
But there is one thing that they all have in common, their passion.
It’s our passion and drive that keeps us going and showing up at the tracks. Either to get greasy and dirty working on the car or writing about those who risk their lives behind the wheel of a human built racecar.
Do we wish we all made good money at what we did, oh heck yeah. Teams that help by buying pit passes and providing food and drink every week really makes a big difference to the loyalty of the people helping them out.
Most of the time, the money reporters receive is just enough to cover travel expenses.
The bottom line, we are all in the same boat.
But, each day, we all wake up hoping for that phone call, email, letter or someone walking up to us at a track offering us that opportunity. For some, those opportunities work right away and for others, it may cause someone to take a step back and re-think their plan and try again.
Working on a race team or with a media outlet is like a marriage or the longest team building exercise around. Things have to click; the doors have to remain open with ideas and positive influences. We need to continue to encourage everyone.
Some would say we are immune to the negatives we see and hear in the sport. We are not, we take it all personally, but it just drives us to prove those negative people that they are wrong.
It’s a great reminder of something we learn from the farmers…when you use manure properly, you will get a profitable yield of crop in the fall.
We are trying just like everyone else to find our successful niche in the racing world. We don’t want to give up, and will find different ways to stay afloat, even if it means putting a “Donate” button on your personal website.
We are not alone out there, and we do support one another. We hand out compliments more than complaints. We are trying to make ourselves better every time we are at the track.
In the end, damn this is fun. We meet the best people in the world, make great contacts and build that rapport and relationships with as many as we can with the hope of reaching our personal goals someday.
When we do, the hard work doesn’t slow down, because when we get to that point, we will be working our butts off to being a part of a winning team to sharing a great story.
If our passion paid the bills, we all would be billionaires.