The Silly Season
Editor's Notebook, October 1996
The end of the racing season brings its own joys and terrors. Championships are decided. Drivers lose their rides. New contracts are signed. Companies review their investments. New sponsors are wooed and won (or lost). The world of motorsports plays musical chairs.
For Damon Hill, a Formula One driver with modest skill but a legendary father, it is the best of times and the worst of times. He has won (or will have won) the championship, unless he did (or will have done) something silly in the last race. In either case, he will probably then be out of a job and looking for a ride for next year. Go figure.
For Thunder Valley, it is a time of anticipation, of planning and scheming, of the hard work of contacting potential sponsors, of talking with women drivers and seeking, sometimes desperately, for a match with corporate marketing interests. I can describe, in my sleep, the specific marketing advantages of specific drivers and specific race series to category leaders in countless industries. It's a labor of love, but I look forward to its successful conclusion. Wish us luck.
For budding drivers, its a time to renew strength, to sharpen skills, to build for the future. And to look with hope towards the Spring, to the re-awakening of the Earth and its bounty, to the Spring rains that engender the mud of clay ovals, damp down the dust of Southern courses, and wash away the last remnants of snow from the historic tracks of the North.
For Suzi Blume, Thunder Valley's Driver of the Month for October and the reigning queen of the Crawford County Speedway, it is a time to remember past glories. The powder-puff derbies, the figure 8 races, the wins, the near wins, the smell and feel of the clay as it is kicked up by the cars ahead of her and that, she hopes, she is kicking on to the windshields of the cars behind.
For young drivers, it is time to think about increasing the learning curve. Planning vacation days, sick days, weekends without the kids, long road trips to distant tracks. All to increase the most valuable commodity that racers have, seat time. The Lyn St. James Driver Development Program (described elsewhere in this newsletter) is one good way to get a little seat time and to learn some of the lesser understood elements of racing, the elements of marketing, public speaking, and fitness. Also, of course, the element of dreaming.