The Best and the Worst

Editor's Notebook, November 1997



"It was the best of times. It was the worst of times."


I've always wanted to start a column with those words. We seem to be dead center between race seasons. Thunder Valley is covered with snow. The silly season is ended and Spring prep is just ahead.


Why should she keep banging her head...

Last week, I spoke at length with a woman racer who is very discouraged about her career. Why do others get sponsorship when she can't seem to find the money she needs to go racing? Why should she keep banging her head against the wall, longing to get behind the wheel of a race car? She's dedicated, fearless, personable, fast, and aggressive, but none of that seems to count. She's a woman. Is that the problem? She's tired and in debt. She's frustrated and has decided to pitch it in.


It is the worst of times for her.


A woman racer I know only slightly has made the decision not to try the professional circuit. I've seen her drive the wheels off her competition. I've seen the look in her eyes as she sits on the grid, waiting for the green. I know the love she has for the sport, for the exhilaration, for the sense of control that it takes to drive a car to the limit. The prospect of facing the money hunt is too daunting.


It is the worst of times for her.


failure staring us in the face...

The Worst of Times

For us at Thunder Valley, 1998 promised to be the break-through year. We were offering two sponsorship opportunities that seemed like sure winners. (You can find them somewhere around here, if you're interested.) In January 1998, though, with only a few short weeks to Daytona and only a little further to Homestead, we are not at all within sight of our goal. The sponsorship search for 1998 is just about over, with failure staring us in the face.


For us, it is the worst of times.


A guy complains about his job at the circus, shoveling elephant manure all day long. His friend asks why he doesn't find another job. "What", the guy says, "and quit show business?!"


If going racing is all that difficult, why don't we all look for more productive things to do? What? And give up racing?!


The Best of Times

We keep hearing from women drivers who are following their dreams. I've got a stack of potential 'Drivers of the Month' on my desk and more keep coming in. Their stories are inspirational and their deep commitment to racing is apparent.


an infectious optimism...

The e-mail messages we receive and the comments shared among women drivers all create an optimism that is infectious. The Thunder Valley Racing website has become a haven for women drivers and their fans, a place to talk about the sport and the role of women in it.


NASCAR teams are talking seriously now about women drivers. There has been some good news in the NASCAR Trucks series and in Busch Grand National. We're hoping for consistently good news in 1998.


real and substantial opportunities...

And so, we move forward: talking about racing; thinking about racing; planning to go racing; scheming to go racing. We try every avenue. We retool, rebuild, reconfigure, restructure. We make new contacts. We renew old alliances. With the help and involvement of women drivers and their fans, we intend to create real and substantial opportunities for women in professional motor sports.


For us, it is the best of times. We're going racing!

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