Embracing the Average

In a sport that’s so focused on winning, you rarely hear talk about being average.

Average is no one’s goal. Very few people get into racing thinking that after enough time and practice and investment, they will peak at ‘average’.

With Carl Bowser, I am fortunate to own and be a part of a race team that’s considered ‘successful’ and winning on our stage. Because of that, we often get asked for advice from new racers or people looking to get into the sport.Carl Bowser Chiappelli Motorsports

I find that, in a year of major changes, I’ve been giving the same advice over and over again:

Embrace being average. 

Because I’m not the speed guru, my advice applies to the rest of your life, not what happens on the track.

But keep in mind: it’s often the rest of your life that determines what happens on the track. 

The average racer – those of us who don’t have someone else paying the bills – has to figure out how to make racing happen. It’s no secret that racing takes money, time, energy and relationships that are solely dedicated to racing.

When I’m asked how we have the money or time or energy or relationships to put a successful team in the pits, my answer is this: we make big choices. And one of those choices is to make sacrifices and embrace being average in the rest of our lives.

To make our racing life happen financially, we’ve made decisions over the past four years that others probably wouldn’t. We sold our house to free up equity. We now have a small mortgage on a house with a garage. We don’t do car payments. We don’t go on lavish vacations. We don’t go to concerts or football games or the mall. We don’t have consumer debt.

To create time freedom, we work for ourselves. We don’t have television. If we do go on ‘vacation’, it’s a few days away during which we still work. And it’s usually tagged onto a business trip, like our upcoming long weekend in Portland where I’m speaking at the Western Auto Racing Promoter’s Association.

At times, it meant sacrificing what is important to me for what’s more important. For example, this summer I sacrificed the hours I normally spend writing weekly blog posts so that I could continue to serve my clients well while making the major changes that will require another blog post for another day to really dive into. This blog is very important to me. My clients and race life, though, deserved my focus at that time.

By our standards, we make sacrifices in our personal life so that we can strive towards being an exceptional race team. 

It’s difficult in a time where we’re inundated with images of the perfect life on Instagram or Pinterest to accept that your house or car or clothes or lifestyle might not look like the pictures.

But embracing the average in our life has allowed us to:

When I take a step back at the life we’re living, as hard as it can be sometimes, I realize how lucky we are as a result of these choices. We’ve seen and experienced more things before the age of 30 than some people do in a lifetime. We’ve spent more time together in six years as a couple than many people do in their whole marriages. We’ve gotten to know wonderful people around the world that we never would have met had it not been for this lifestyle.

Now that I think about it, average doesn’t sound so average.

What things in your life could you sacrifice so that the rest of your life – racing or otherwise – is exceptional?


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About the author

Kristin Swartzlander Kristin Swartzlander is passionate about applying business sense to racing 'nonsense' in hopes of growing the sport of dirt track racing. She is a business strategist who works with entrepreneurs and small businesses to help them learn how to use public relations, marketing and social media to achieve their goals. Learn more about social media, marketing and racing sponsorship on the DirtyMouth blog.