Here’s a Great story by SpeedSport.com!
My KAM drivers need to take note that everything we teach and believe to be the keys to success in Motorsports is evident in this article and exemplified by the drivers that were chosen as drivers for the Clauson-Marshall Racing team. Heck, they only had plans for two drivers but with 3 amazing candidates to choose from they added a third driver to the team/budget so they didn’t have to make a choice in cutting one of them. That says a lot for the quality and caliber of these drivers.
The article illustrates that the team owners were looking for hard working drivers who made sacrifices to “earn” opportunities over the years. Passion, dedication, knowledge and commitment to a race team as well as the sport at large were also character traits mentioned as criteria for driver selection.
The team also appreciated the teamwork displayed by the drivers and considered it a show of a winning attitude both on the track and off. And finally, they were looking for and chose drivers who would be great mentors for their Development Drivers.
This is a perfect “case-study” of the success that can be achieved when you follow the right path and invest in your energy in a proven Driver Development program that concentrates on producing a talented, well-rounded driver who not only learns the craft of racing but respects the sport with good sportsmanship, humility and gratitude in addition to a building a passion and love for racing that must be nurtured over time.
Kids may come into the sport wanting to be race car drivers or having a Dream of NASCAR in their future. But that is not passion or desire, that’s a want – maybe even a whim – that can change very quickly if they don’t get the proper “training” to perform, coaching for skill set building and division mastery in age appropriate increments. Getting the appropriate reward pay offs and positive reinforcements that are equal to the hard work and efforts given by drivers for which it is supported – making them earn accomplishments instead of making it easy to obtain them. Because at the end of the day, higher level of competition racing is getting the wins for the team and the owner; but to get to that level you have to have mastered the craft’s techniques and skill sets need in addition to a complete and thorough understanding of all the concepts involved in the sport.
And there are many moving parts to racing. It will take a good solid 5 years or more in karting to build a truly solid foundation for which to launch a productive and successful motorsports career to reach the higher levels of the sport. Team owners don’t care if you won a class championship in Jr 1 or Kid Karts, they care that you are able to race alongside the toughest competitive drivers in the sport, of say Midget racing as it applies to this article, and finish at the top of the leader board. One of my most successful KAM drivers who is still racing today at a National level didn’t even win a race his entire Rookie year at KAM. But he still gives all the credit for his successes over the years to his development years at KAM. Don’t get me wrong – winning is great! When it is earned by demonstrating talent and knowledge and utilizing skills needed to compete with a full field of drivers who are equally matched and highly competitive. Drivers who have mutual respect for their racing peers and want to do battle on the track because that is what racing is all about, instead of playing a simple game of follow the leader with no obstacles or challenges. Drivers who can lose to another driver and be the first one in their pit to congratulate them on the win while still feeling the rush of a pure fun exhilaration because it was such a hard-fought battle between drivers demonstrating their skills and talent to the fullest and beyond. Knowing that they are pushing themselves and each other to give it their all and be their best and making needed improvements along the way to keep up with one another or to race at the front of the pack and acknowledging efforts made because they understand what it takes to accomplish that level.
That is what a good driver development program and management will produce. The alternative is a driver who only wants to win and is completely disappointed when they don’t, blames others, makes excuses, is jealous of drivers who performed better and his negative attitude reflects it in poor discipline and behavior. Usually children who are in this category are reflecting the negative attitude and behavior of a parent who by all accounts is not being a productive coach for the race team, and most likely not following a development plan. Parents need to be careful about letting their egos get in the way and be willing to put the “Mommy and Daddy over-protective” – “I’ll fix everything and make it all better” personas on the back burner. Track time and race day is when the Coaches hat is worn and the Crew Chief apron goes on. You are also the Team Owner and you must set a good example for your drivers to look up to and emulate.