This was the start of Sunday morning’s race. I went from last place at the start to first by the second corner. First in class, I should mention. This was a multi-class race and I was in Super Touring 6, the slowest of the NASA Touring classes. I didn’t hold the position; after catching the slide at the end of the video I had to settle for 2nd place past the start/finish flag at the end of Lap One. And I ended up getting disqualified because the race officials felt I was too aggressive during a mid-race restart after a double yellow flag. Naturally, I disagree. If you’re not here to race, don’t bring your race car to the race track, where racing is known to happen.
My car, the 1994 Plymouth Neon I built in 2008 with a team of friends, isn’t faster than the other cars. In fact, it’s slower than every car you see in this video. The difference is that I have faith in myself and I never lift off the throttle. I believe I can see things that other racers cannot. It is the gift God gave me in exchange for all my other failings as a human being.
If only I could share with all of you the absolute confidence I have when I see that green flag wave. If only I could give that to every one of my friends and readers, gift-wrapped and wax-sealed against the hard or painful day when such a feeling might make the difference between getting through and giving up. If only I could pass it down to my son, knowing that he will make better and kinder use of it than I ever could. If only I could capture the moment and hold it for myself, for all the times I feel overwhelmed and overmatched by life. The great thing about racing is that it presents simple problems and accepts simple answers. That, in and of itself, is a gift worth experiencing, enjoying, and sharing.
And yeah, I had to show that I don’t respect the disqualification, because that’s the other, uglier side of the confidence coin. In other news, my spouse had an outstanding set of races in this same weekend. She has finally reached that stage in driver development when you have 98% of the available speed out of the car. The next two percent takes the rest of your life. In her case, this improvement has been the product of diligent, careful work. Last night she worked with her crew chief on data for hours while I played Fornite. Maybe I have the effortless gift and she does not — but she is the one who left the track with the lead in her season championship, and I’m the one who left with a pair of disqualifications and tire marks on three sides of the car. There’s a lesson there, if I could but stand to learn it.