No One Races Alone

by | Apr 15, 2020

A few weeks ago I got involved in an online conversation where someone claimed that the only reason we can’t go racing is that organizers would demand a driver’s meeting, and if we could just do the meeting on our phones we’d be just fine to go racing again.

I quickly asked, how about multiple corner workers on a station? How about safety and rescue, bridge personnel, T&S, stewards, and race control? Not to mention, tech, registration, presentations, etc.

The response I got had something to do with one man against the machine, and that single competitors are safe within their cars, etc.

At that point I realized this person must be new to this whole amateur racing thing and decided I would bail out before my head exploded. I exited the conversation, but of course I couldn’t stop thinking about the notion that how you could possibly hold a race weekend in a socially distanced environment?

So much of a race weekend has little to do with driving, that I opine occasionally that, “I went to a party and a race broke out!” I believe most of us feel this way.

For background, I’ve held a comp license for well over twenty years, as well as a steward’s license and worked virtually all race weekend specialties at one time or another. It’s rewarding to me paying back through volunteering and enjoy that side of the racing community as do others. Typically, I run in Vintage Historic events, but also run in current era groups.

What I actually like best is that I have a group of paddock mates for most weekends, usually crewless, and looking after our own cars. We typically come alone, but our group is usually together.

In essence, the hardest thing I tried to imagine was a weekend with my friends and fellow racers, having to socially distance. On many race days we’re only out on track 15to 20% of the time at best. The rest of the time we’re prepping or visiting. I would go so far as to say that for many of us a race weekend is the pinnacle of our summer social activities.

Without the people, this wouldn’t be the same. Congratulating the winners and friends who had a great race is part of the enjoyment. Thanking and seeing your worker friends at the end of the day is a given. So much of a race weekend has little to do with driving, that I opine occasionally that, “I went to a party and a race broke out!” I believe most of us feel this way.

This isn’t a political statement. In fact, I’m on a race committee organizing for an early July event we hope will come together. I certainly believe we can balance our need to feel the thrill of driving and racing, visiting with our good friends, and provide for a safe environment for the participants and workers.

Things will need to be fluid this year for sure. I certainly hope that we can keep the sport we love to share, safe to race, but also allow us to share our humanity. After all of this quarantine time, we’re going to need some quality-time with our racing friends. Stay safe!!

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