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.
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!