Tuesdaygram Oct 30

29 Oct

Working for a race team is one of the most rewarding, stressful, satisfying, gut-wrenching, thrilling, exhausting, beautiful jobs I’ve ever had.

I’ve worked in racing for eight years now, 11 if you count internships, but this year was very different. I started the year scared shitless. I’m not entirely sure why. I knew what I needed to do and how to do it, I had the tools to do it, I knew the right people to help. The scary part was probably being my own boss and the fear of screwing up really big and it being all my fault and getting yelled at.

I screwed up a couple of times. I wonder if anyone noticed. I noticed. I beat myself up. But also, along the way, I discovered I’m pretty damn good at things I’ve never done before. It’s a proud moment to find hidden talents and know that when dropped into the deep end you can swim… and climb out and do a triple lindy back into the deep end if needed.

Now I know not to panic, because I can schedule drivers for back-to-back-to-back appearances and get their asses on golf carts with just enough time to get them there acceptably late. And sometimes fulfilling a request for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich trumps all other tasks. And when you have to find the driver that’s supposed to be getting in the car RIGHT NOW, he’s probably at catering or in the can. And if you have a backup iPhone battery, someone will need it to watch videos on pitlane.


The last race required a whole new set of skills. Our poor guys left the track assuming we’d lost the championship on a tie-breaker as did everyone else.


At midnight, however it was brought to my attention that we had in fact won the championship thanks to a lesser known rule. Which meant re-writing the press release, getting back to the hotel at 3 a.m. Waking up at 5 a.m. to throw up. Waking up at 7 a.m. to wash a race suit, pack, check out of hotel and wait for official confirmation on the championship while getting nails and makeup done for awards banquet. Then finally sending press release from a parking lot en route to new hotel. Bet you didn’t know that can all be done at once. Well boom, that happened. And there was much rejoicing… yeaaaaa!


To be honest, most of the skills I acquired this year weren’t really “PR” skills and I suppose some might tell me that it’s not my job and I’m letting these guys run all over me and I need to be more professional. I still do “PR stuff,” but that’s the easy stuff, all these other things I do it because they’re my family. Whatever, so I’m being a girl and calling the team my family, but either way, when someone asks for your help, you do it, when someone needs an extra ticket, you find it, when they tell you they need a minute, you give them five.


So of course, at the final race, the fear came back, but it was different.

It hit me like a ton of bricks at the finale how dangerous our sport is. Standing in our pit box, I realized that one of our drivers was wearing a commemorative helmet design for his friend who was killed in a testing accident 10 years ago and another was wearing a banner across his visor in honor of another driver who had died only a week before at a training day. The thought ran through my head “how long before it’s one of my friends?”


Another black cloud hovered over me days after the race: what if we don’t have the same drivers next year? What if one of them goes to another team? What if our crew changes? I imagine I’d stomp my feet and pout like any proper only-child would do. They’re MINE. We are FAST. This is MY family. YOU can’t have them. Whoever you are.


So I’m going to hang onto this year as long as I can. I’m going to curl up with it like a blanket and be thankful for every lap, every flag, every tire and every rev, because who knows what’s around the next corner… I hope its my friends at Daytona.


note to self : work on iPhone selfies for 2014….

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