Fast Lane: Striving For Perfection In Motorsports Isn't Enough - Engine Builder Magazine

Fast Lane: Striving For Perfection In Motorsports Isn’t Enough

To be successful in any business, you must strive to be the best at what you do. However, to be successful in motorsports, you must actually BE the best at what you do. Continued success in the racing industry means that you must continually make your customers winners, and if you do that, then you will have racers beating down your doors each season.

But what does “being the best” actually mean? Well, in many cases it can depend on what playing level you’re operating. Motorsports has many different playing levels: a driver can start at a local track driving, say, a street stock race car, and could potentially advance all the way up to the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series.

Along the way however, the competition becomes tougher and tougher as the weaker drivers are weeded out. If you’re lucky enough to be one of the survivors, you’ll still need to be your best each and every day to stay there. You’ll also need to be tough mentally, because where you were winning at street stock level at maybe a 75 percent rate, expect that percentage to drop by about 90 percent and in fact, you may only win once every few years or so, if at all!

Does that mean you aren’t as good anymore? Not likely. It isn’t that you’ve lost your edge – you’re just competing against the cream of the crop.

If you follow motorsports at all, you have noticed veteran NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series drivers racing in the NASCAR Busch or NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series races. Normally, they win those races. When Ken Schrader has a weekend off from NASCAR, chances are you’ll find him driving in an ARCA race or almost any other series, and in most cases, he’ll end up the winner. But Schrader hasn’t won a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race for years.

It’s much the same in the “stick and ball” sports. At the high school level there are hundreds of thousands of opportunities for players, even mediocre players, to look good on the field. But when that player reaches the college level he or she will find much tougher competition, and may even wind up playing second string. The players who reach the professional ranks are the elite; they are the very best at what they do and they also must work extremely hard to stay there.

Professional baseball is a perfect example of this. Many have been making a big deal out of the number of home runs being hit and the fact that Roger Maris’ home run record was broken several years ago. Are the athletes that much better today than back when that record was set or are there other factors? I tend to believe in the “other” factors.
Today’s athletes are bigger, with better training and diets, but there are also twice as many teams as years ago, meaning there are twice as many players. In my opinion, this dilutes the product somewhat, considering that half the players playing today would not have made a team 40-50 years ago.

Everything is relative, of course, and while this isn’t intended to be a commentary on the state of baseball, much of this can also apply to the motorsports industry. Because of the huge growth of the industry the past 10-20 years your competition has also grown. In order for you to continue your success, you must realize that you cannot rest on your laurels – instead, you must continue to seek perfection. If you want to be a “survivor” you must be the best, each and every day.

If you build “street stock” engines for just one track or one driver, strive to be the best at that. If you build sprint car engines or late model engines, strive to be the best at that level. Work to be the best at whatever level and at whatever type of performance work you do, whether you build NASCAR engines, manufacture performance parts, or even if you are a rebuilder of stock components and engines. Regardless of where you fit in this industry, you can strive to be the best.

Being the best also means having the best people. You should always hire the most qualified employees. Long term employees are also among your most important tools when you are striving for perfection, so do what it takes to retain them. You should have a program in place to keep your employees trained. Remember, as this industry grows, it also changes. Your parts suppliers and machinery manufacturers can be some of your best resources when it comes to training and keeping up with industry changes.

Striving for perfection also means staying involved with the industry associations such as AERA and PERA. If you are involved in high performance work, investigate AERA’s Vanguard group, where you can not only network with your peers, you can learn tips and tricks for building high performance engines.

Regardless of whether you play in the “minor” leagues, the “big” leagues or you’re looking to advance to a higher level, you must continue to offer the best you have to each of your customers. Sure, it’s a lot of hard work, but great things usually are. If you’re willing to give 110 percent each and every day, success will follow.

Jim Walbolt, a professional writer and photographer covering motorsports activities, is from Custar, OH. [email protected]

You May Also Like

The Road to AAPEX Season 2, Ep 2

This year’s Road to AAPEX is a tale of two roads: One metaphorical, paved with questions that face the automotive aftermarket like the impact of EV adoption and sustainability efforts; and one quite literal, that was paved at the start of the 20th century and conceptualized the first transcontinental highway. The Lincoln Highway, which begins

This year’s Road to AAPEX is a tale of two roads: One metaphorical, paved with questions that face the automotive aftermarket like the impact of EV adoption and sustainability efforts; and one quite literal, that was paved at the start of the 20th century and conceptualized the first transcontinental highway. The Lincoln Highway, which begins in Times Square, New York City, and stretches to the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California, was the first designed with automobiles in mind.

The Road to AAPEX Season 2, Ep 1

Last year, the idea was simple: Find a junker, fix it up with the best from the automotive aftermarket, and drive it to Las Vegas for AAPEX 2022. This year, it’s anything but simple. Related Articles – What’s a Ford Sidevalve Engine? – The Drag & Drive Revolution – The Evolution of Pro Mod Diesels

What’s a Ford Sidevalve Engine?

It looks like an ordinary inline 4-cylinder flathead engine. Essentially it is, but it has quite a cult following here in the UK.

The Drag & Drive Revolution

Following that first drag-and-drive event back in 2005, spinoffs of Drag Week have been happening all over the country, and the world, both large and small. In recent years, the trend has been completely blowing up!

The Evolution of Pro Mod Diesels

The advancements within the performance diesel world over the past 20 years have been nothing short of phenomenal. In fact, within just the last five to 10 years, that progress has been even more rapid and impressive, but few progressions have been more astonishing than those within the Pro Mod Diesel realm.

Other Posts

Top Fuel and Funny Car Engines

They’re the pinnacle of drag racing, and the engine builders, crew chiefs and teams who make these cars function at peak performance all season long are looking at every single area of the engine and the car to make it down the track as fast as possible.

Race Oils

Choosing the correct performance racing oil is essential to ensure optimal performance and longevity of your engine.

Facts About Engine Bearings

The experts all agree that cleanliness is the most important factor during installation, and the lack thereof is the most common problem that leads to bearing failure. But measuring is just as critical.

Does Connecting Rod Length Matter?

Over the years, we’ve gotten asked numerous times about connecting rod length and the impact that has on an engine’s horsepower and durability. As it turns out, this question is often overthought. It’s not so much the connecting rod length that matters as much as it is the correct piston pin height. The connecting rod