Products to Compare (max of 3)
Compare These Parts

"There's No Friends at the Race Track"

Add Article To List
Tags: Tech, Tech, Race

In academics, politics, religion, and more, there are theories and there are those that challenge them. Some common phrases or “theories” I hear posed in racing include:

  • “There are no friends at the racetrack.”
  • “You go to the track to race, not to make friends.”
  • “No one can be trusted in this sport, so just stay in your trailer and don’t bother trying.”

There have been times in my career that I’ve believed these and abided by them, and other times (like 2018) where I realize that they are lies that our community often believes to be truths. Unfortunately, these are lies that have the ability to suffocate the growth of the racing world. They inhibit our ability to fulfill the areas of our souls the concept of ‘community’ in general is designed to fulfill. Therefore, I decided to untangle this web of lies and re-sew it into a piece that can be better knit together, by our community. With that being said, I’d like to flip these three statements on their heads and provide some clarity to the stereotype, as well as some recommended ways to respond.

#1 - Yes, you can have friends at the race track – true, genuine friendships.

The secret to being able to establish and maintain true, quality friendships at the track comes down to respect – respect for their space, track performance, and themselves as individuals. As with any friendship, everyone is different and must be interacted with differently. Respect people’s privacy and space. As the old saying goes, treat them the way you’d want to be treated. Find ways that you can support them, whether it be buying a t-shirt, loaning a part, or giving them a hand with their car. Make it your goal to do at least one thing to help someone else every night.

Oftentimes by the time people get to the track on the weekend, they’ve had a long, stressful week of work/school. Don’t forget to ask them about how they’re doing and give them an ear to listen if they need it. There’s not a person at the race track that doesn’t appreciate being cared about and truly being listened to. Besides, we’re all better off on Monday if the weekend was a good way to debrief.

Lastly, one of the toughest parts about having friends at the track is that these friends are often competitors. I’m a firm believer that if you truly respect each other off the track, you can race them as hard as anyone on the track and feel confident neither of you would intentionally or maliciously hurt the other in order to win. No matter what happens, having respect off the track makes it easier to forgive each other and be happy for each other’s successes.

#2 - You’re never at the race track only to race.

I’m competitive and want to win. However, it’s not all about me. There are stands full of fans and hundreds of people in the pits every week that matter too. Between sponsors, competition, and personal sacrifices, we have a lot emotionally invested in what we do and want it to all payoff. It’s good to be focused and try your best. However, whether you’re at the track or in your day to day life, you can’t live solely for yourself.

We aren’t defined by what we do, we’re defined by who we are. We are all special and unique individuals brought together in the racing community and can all contribute in our own ways. While some drivers might be in victory lane, on social media, or in front of the camera more than others, I’ve never been to a racetrack that stopped me from walking over to the stands to sign autographs.

I’ve never been to a race track that stopped me from promoting it to the communities I’m involved in outside of our sport. I’ve never been to a race track that stopped me from telling them if there are any activities they need drivers to help with, I’d be happy to help if I can. You don’t have to do all of these things or even any of them. Regardless, do something. Someway, somehow, even if it’s small, invest. Invest in your track, your fans, your competitors, and the youth racers in your community. You might not always get recognition for it, but that’s OK. Do it because investing in others makes you feel good and because it’s the right thing to do.

#3 - Yes, you have to have your guard up and not everyone is trustworthy, but don’t just stay in the trailer because of it.

I’m not a stranger to the lack of trust, fights, backlash, protests, sketchy business deals, theft, and a variety of other horrible activities in our community that I’d rather not even write here. However, we wake up every day and go to bed every night watching news coverage of terrorist attacks, shootings, theft, sexual harassment, natural disasters, and more. Yet, we still leave the house every day. Therefore, leave the trailer. You don’t have to go to every trailer and be everyone’s best friend. If you’re new to a track, it’s OK to go around and make connections. If you’re not, at least be cordial to everyone.

I don’t always engage in conversations at the track because I trust the people I’m talking to. I don’t always put myself in situations thinking that they’re perfect or that I’m not going to get hurt. I believe if I hold myself accountable to my values, it’s okay to sometimes walk through a line of fire in order to show others that sometimes not even the strongest bullets can kill. I’m a firm believer that good is always greater and even a little bit of light can drown out a sea of darkness. With that being said, be guarded, be yourself, and be a light.

Not everyone is going to like you, at the track or in life. Not everyone likes me, even if they’ve never met me or had a conversation with me. Unfortunately, you can’t control everyone around you, but you can control you. Remember that in life we judge others based on their actions, but we judge ourselves based on our intentions. Before you knock someone else for the way they’ve treated you, remember that may not have been their intention. Remember that you make mistakes, too. We all have. Therefore, forgive always, love better, and remember…you can have friends at the race track.

Related Articles

Speedway Tech Talk - How to Measure for a Racing Suit
by Frank Galusha - Posted in Videos
EMi Employee Frank and Speedway Motors employee Jeremy demonstrate how to properly measure for a race suit.
How to Choose a Racing Harness
by Charles Aman - Posted in Tech
Having a difficult time deciding which racing harness to use? With many options to consider from size to closure type, this article will walk you through how to go about choosing the perfect one for you and your race car. Safety first!
Choosing the Best Head and Neck Restraint System For You
by Marcus Kennedy - Posted in Tech
To prevent injury, your racing safety gear must meet the SFI 38.1 specification and fit properly. Learn how to choose a head and neck restraint system for competitive motorsports in our buyer's guide.
Selecting Quarter-Turn Fasteners
by Jason Lubken - Posted in Tech
There are several types of quarter-turn fasteners used in the performance automotive aftermarket and in this buyer's guide we'll help show you the correct fastener for your application and how some of the most common types of fasteners are used.
How to Vinyl Wrap a Race Car
by Caleb Filipi - Posted in Tech
How to vinyl wrap a car with this guide on using a heat gun on your race car. Learn how to remove creases and the best temperature settings.
Tire Grooving and Siping Tips
by Eric McMillan - Posted in Tech
Learn some helpful tips for using your tire groover as well as what direction to cut your grooves and sipes for maximum side bite and forward bite on your dirt circle track race car.
How to Use a Stud Extractor Tool
by Steve Lewis - Posted in Tech
Broken exhaust studs are a common problem. This article describes what you need and how to remove a broken stud from an exhaust manifold. Learn how simple it is to remove broken or stubborn studs with a Titan Tools stud extractor tool.
Racing Shocks 101
by Speedway Tech Team - Posted in Tech
Get a good foundation on racing shocks and their different functions. Learn about the fundamentals and the pros and cons between various types of shocks available.
How to Choose Racing Wheels
by Speedway Tech Team - Posted in Tech
Check out this article to learn about why it's important to choose the right wheels for your race car and which types to choose.
Selecting the Proper Tear Offs for Your Helmet
by Eric McMillan - Posted in Tech
This comprehensive guide will step you through the process of choosing the correct tear offs to fit your helmet as well as how to install them.