Weekly Roundup: At Every Level You Are A Team Leader Edition

This past Wednesday night, Uncle Douglas (also known as “Rodney” to TTAC readers) and I took John for his first practice in the new kart. Yeah, I know that’s backwards, we should have practiced before we raced, but we’ve already established my parenting could use some work.

We had the track to ourselves, but there was a crew of men working on the new dirt oval next to us and one of them had brought his three sons along. (Sidebar: what an accomplishment, to have three almost identical-looking sons within a few years. Genetically speaking, this fellow is doing much better than I am.) They left the oval and came over to watch the boy drive. After a few laps, John came to a halt and waved me over. I thought he had a problem with his kart, so I ran.

“I would like,” John said, “to know their names.” Which I dutifully found out and relayed to him. John drove over and started talking to the kids. Before I knew it, he’d come up with a complicated scheme to use all three of them to simulate flagging in race conditions and we ran a few practice races with the kids showing different flags. “It’s very important,” John reminded me, “that all three of them have a chance to wave a flag.” After each faux-race he would huddle with them and give them different tasks.

At the end, he shook their hands then he went to meet their father and thank him for loaning the kids to him. Then we went to say goodbye to the track owner and John hopped out to make sure that his gratitude was fully understood and that he could come back for private practice. When I got home I found out that the kids had made a gift to John of their flags. I’ll have to return them, God damn it.

One of Ross Bentley’s Speed Secrets is this: “At every level, you are a team leader.” Drivers who cannot lead the team end up with subpar equipment and indifferent service from their crew. It cheers me up to see John naturally assume leadership in this and other cases. On the other hand, I worry about the consequences of always trying to have things your own way. I’ve struggled with that myself for more than four decades.

Click the jump and we’ll see what John’s real uncle wrote this week, as well as what his father did.


For R&T, I introduced you to a man who drives a stick-shift ZL1 without a left foot. and discussed the impact of dashcam snitches on your driving record.

At TTAC, I offered some advice about Interstate commerce, reviewed a movie, and asked readers to name their favorite car flicks.

Brother Bark reviewed the Audi Q3, ruffling many a feather in the process.

I’m in Colorado this weekend, racing a Corvette in WRL. My teammate is none other than that Ross Bentley fellow I discussed at the beginning of this article. Wish us luck!

13 Replies to “Weekly Roundup: At Every Level You Are A Team Leader Edition”

  1. Robert

    John is an impressive young man. You’re doing a better job than you give yourself credit for.

    My favorite speed secret came from his autocross book – “Every time you do something the wrong way, you get better at doing it wrong.” I used to think I could teach myself anything with the right books and enough time…but that one sentence smacked me right in the face. I learned just how many things I was getting better at doing wrong at autocross school this July.

    Reply
    • rwb

      Mr. Bentley is a genius. Explanation is its own skill and he’s a master. I had the opportunity to attend one of his seminars last year and it was packed with little profundities.

      Send him my best regards.

      Reply
  2. ltrftc

    I really enjoyed the stick shift story, particularly his attitude and approach to adversity. Thank you for telling it.

    Reply
    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      It was more than that… there was a marketing campaign sold nationwide to dealers a while back that used it. Like Trunk Monkey.

      Reply
  3. Anthony S

    Stick shift story was great.
    There’s a guy in Australia missing his right arm and leg. And races bikes. Google: Adam Kempster.

    Reply
  4. TAFKADG

    “Brother Bark reviewed the Audi Q3, ruffling many a feather in the process.”

    Ya know, I’d expect this sort of thing out of a website called “The Truth About Faberge Eggs” or “The Truth About Buttplugs”, but not from a bunch of bros who are really into cars. What’s up with all the virtue signalling, pearl clutching and rushing to the fainting couch?

    Reply

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