In many ways, racers have the characteristics of a tribe.
We have driver’s suits, crew uniforms and t-shirts that show we’re part of the group. We have our own unique language, coining terms like ‘up on the cushion’, ‘full noise’ and ‘wide open’.
We show up at the same racetracks, by the hundreds – sometimes the thousands – for the same reason. Races are legendary – movies are made, songs are written and art is created to depict our racing. We’ll travel far and wide just for a few hours of action and turn around to tow home. We wake up groggy the next day, knowing that we’d do it all again if we had the opportunity.
We share the same dreams, hopes and fears. We celebrate together in the best of times and mourn together in the worst.
But, we seem to be missing something. By definition, a tribe can’t exist without a leader. Some days, we are lead by the best of us – the driver that runs the best, clean race. The team that reaches victory lane.
But generally, we give that driver our respect and move on. We’re not lead by them.
Our leader is speed. Speed is a living, breathing beast. It is mysterious – always reachable but never achievable. It is powerful and commands respect. In speed, we achieve glory.
Speed pushes us to the brink of what’s safe, healthy and sane. It continuously demands our best – mechanically, mentally and physically. We innovate, trying to get more of it. Sometimes, we lose track of the edge and are swallowed by it.
But if we’re lucky enough, we continue to saddle up and take the ride.