Let’s Face It, Racing Is Not A Hobby, It’s A Business

I know, I know, it’s been awhile, my apologies. I’m gonna throw myself out there in this one, but it’s like a bomb inside me that has wanted to explode for years, and someone finally lit the fuse. I always feel the need to place a disclaimer before these types of entries. This is in no way saying I don’t love what I already do or that I do not want to continue doing what I do, it’s a matter of seeing the huge potential that is out there and desiring to be a bigger part of it.

As we all know by now, I’ve always seen myself involved in racing ever since I was a little girl, but honestly it’s always been in a more organizational sense than just a supporter of the sport. I think I got the bug when I started managing my dad’s fan club in high school. I’ve always been a bit of a perfectionist, so organization and compulsiveness has been both a good and a bad thing at times.

I made a solo trip to NC the summer after I graduated from high school just to investigate what it was like in the “big” world of racing. I had made appointments to tour and find out more about certain areas of that whole world. I didn’t want to have any outside influences to hinder my own personal expectations and decisions. I wanted my perspectives and opinions to be my own because this could have been a life-altering event. But what I discovered was that my life was so deeply rooted in short track racing that I couldn’t see myself going anywhere else at that time, and the funny thing is, I feel the same way today. I’ve been called a red-neck because of my short track racing lifestyle my fair share of times over the years, and every time I hear it, I just smile and think to myself, ‘yup and I love every red-necking minute of it.’

I worked in corporate training and development for 10+ years and absolutely loved it and wouldn’t be opposed to doing it again, but honestly at this point in my life, to be able to combine that with where my passion lies would be a dream come true. With a degree in Organizational Leadership and Management and working as a corporate trainer and training designer, I often pondered what that could ever have to do with racing. So as this racing season has waned off, I’ve been thinking and doing a lot of research about how I could combine my love for racing along with my experience and education. You are not going to believe this….it could be applied to almost anything racing related! As I continue to do my research I find my heart actually pounding with the potential and opportunities out there to help keep this sport going and building, whether it be team management, the races themselves, trade shows, fan participation, halls of fame organization, the list goes on and on.

I gotta admit, poor organization is probably my biggest pet peeve of all time. When I am at any type of event that isn’t flowing, all I do is sit there and think about how it could potentially be better organized for everyone’s sake. Now please don’t take this the wrong way, I am in absolutely NO WAY saying I am the answer to those problems, but my emphasis has always been in organization and process improvement, to make things simpler and flow for every single person involved, just ask my kids. I think they get a little annoyed at my process designs on a daily basis.

Yes, racing is a hobby, but let’s be honest, racing is a business from every aspect imaginable. Not a money making business, but a business nonetheless. It is one of the most expensive hobbies any of us could probably get involved in. Not only that, but likely one of the most emotional sports as well. I have never seen the sport as a burden in my life. The hours involved in preparation for just one race, from the teams in the shops, the travel of everyone to get to the track, all the way to the people working in the beer stand, are almost impossible to measure.

As I sit here and type this my mind almost spins visualizing all that short track racing is and entails. It’s not just cars going in circles, it’s not just buying parts through various dealers, or beer just automatically being there for the fans. It takes unfathomable organization and coordination. It is a functioning, albeit sometimes dysfunctional, system with so much to offer to anyone and everyone who loves the sport. I don’t ever want to sell myself short of what I can give back to all that racing has given me. I am not afraid to admit where my strengths are and I’ll be the first to tell you where my weaknesses lie, and I’m totally okay with that because I know plenty of people in racing who excel where I do not and that’s why we continue to function. My goal is to make sure that I am not missing opportunities where I can use my strengths in order to pick up others’ weaknesses and vice versa. I think this might explain why we all like going in circles. I think I just made myself dizzy, so I’ll close with that.