Going Racing

By: Chip Bond

We hope to see you at all the track events this year, but before you embark upon a full season of racing, we thought this little article by Chip Bond, lifted from an SCCA newsletter would help you prepare - ed.

Though I have yet to complete my first race, I've certainly learned a lot about the preliminaries. If you also aspire to checkered flag fame, you may have some interest in these recommendations.

  1. Get permission from your spouse
  2. It's important that your spouse concurs with your decision. The best initial approach is to "make a deal". Something like "Honey, tell you what, after we finish remodeling the kitchen I'd like to take a couple weekends off to go racing. OK?" When you meet with resistance, a little sincere begging may do the trick. If you maintain a regular schedule of whining and moaning you will eventually wear here down to the point where she confides that her primary concern is for your safety. Congratulations! Success! You assure here that you will only purchase and race with the best and most current safety gear available. Immediately show your sincerity by pulling out all your racing catalogs so you can jointly make decisions about the safest camshafts, slicks, headers, and gear ratios.

  3. Get a second mortgage
  4. Since no mortal can afford to build a race car and run it for a season, you will need to finance your own race effort. Your best bet is to use the equity in your home. Don't waste time trying to find a sponsor. Any business that could afford to sponsor a car is savvy enough to realize what a huge waste of money it is.

    Prepare a budget to build the car and run it for the season, double it, then add 25%. That should be enought o get you to your first race. Go to the bank and get your second mortgage. Don't forget to add in a couple hundred to paint the kitchen and replace the linoleum. After all, a promise is a promise.

  5. Get a tolerant boss
  6. Since every waking moment will be consumed by preparing yourself and your car for racing, you need an understanding boss. You may need to change jobs to find the right one. If you do, look for the following qualities in your new employer.

    • Your new boss likes you, he enjoys racing, and supports your dreams.
    • He's amenable to let you work flexible hours and take every Friday and Monday of a race weekend off.
    • He's willing to put in long hours during the week so you can work on your car.
    • He takes messages for you from parts suppliers when you are on the other line ordering parts.

    Don't be misled by thinking that an ideal boss would be a race himself. If so, you can bet that he hired you to cover him so he could race. This would be an impossible hurdle for your effort.

  7. Find a friend that races
  8. Regardless of the amount of money you were able to obtain from the bank, it will not be enough to get all of the other items you need to set-up your car. You will need a racing friend that can load you scales, bumpsteer gauges, welders, alignment tools, etc. Remember this relationship must be a two way street. You need to reciprocate to the best of your ability. Praise his car and his abilities. Sweep his shop and scrub down his trailer. If he races in the same class as you do, don't take his advice. Friendship does have its limits.

  9. Get help around the house
  10. You will no longer have the time to attend to household chores. Early in the season you will need to hire individuals to do things like take care of the lawn, paint the house trim and care for your pets. Now is also the time to look into a house-cleaning service. The probability that your spouse will move in with her mother increases significantly by mid-season. At that point in your campaign you will be much too busy to do things like check references and discuss fees. Be prepared. Remember th