Published on Thursday, April 25, 2013 by Alanis King
Racing isn’t just a sport. It’s a lifestyle, centered around a sport. Racing is something that gets in your blood, and stays in your gene pool for generations down the line.
For those who haven’t experienced racing first hand, racing seems like it is simply “left turns for a few hours”, but it’s so much more than that. People who have never been exposed to it only know racing to be broadcast television, the highest levels of racing. Racing is everywhere, though, and comes in every form – from the roots of racing, the mud-slinging Saturday nights at the local dirt tracks, to the huge productions, the Sunday afternoons broadcasted on major sporting networks.
“Cars driving in circles” is a lot more complicated than the general public perceives it to be. It has so many components, so many small pieces that go into the high-speed puzzle of racing, pieces that all have to be perfectly in sync to be able to challenge for the win. But the fact of the matter is, not everyone is willing to look past the “200mph billboard” aspect to see what gets people hooked on racing, to see what it’s really all about.
Racing is an atmosphere, an atmosphere all its own. It’s an atmosphere complete with fumes of rapidly burning oil, roars of engines down the straightaways that drown out roars of the crowd, tailgates for days in advance, anxiety-causing wrecks at high speeds, and victory celebrations that leave the grandstands and the winning car engulfed in a cloud of smoke.
Racing is the ability to conquer adversity. It’s fine tuning a car and qualifying on the front row, only to have the track conditions, thus the car’s handling, change minutes after taking the green flag. It’s having the car go from being on rails to wrecking loose in no time, and battling back from that – sometimes taking the entire race to do so.
The sport of racing is the effort of a team. A very large team, at that. From an outside view, all the glory of racing seems to go to the driver, but achieving that glory takes the effort of their crew, spotter, crew chief, teammates, coaches, and everyone back at the race shop. Even the fans are a part of the team. They can’t physically help a driver get into victory lane, but they experience every emotion that the rest of the team does – from the thrill of victory to the anguish of defeat, from the adrenaline rush of leading coming off turn four on the last lap to the anxiety of running in a four- to five-wide pack on a superspeedway, and everything in between.
Racing is the off-track comradery and the on-track rivalry. It’s the drama of getting caught in the heat of the moment, the competition, and the will to win. Racing is the unpredictable moves, the uncensored aggression, and the unmatched aura surrounding it all.
But most of all, racing is a lifestyle.
And once you’ve had a taste of that lifestyle, it spreads through your bloodstream like a virus and becomes a vital part of you. So no, racing isn’t just a sport. Racing becomes your life, and if you’re lucky…racing becomes your legacy.