Q: What are my 2019 racing plans?
A: I don’t have any!
Usually this time of year I am planning my off-season to prepare for the next racing season. However, this year is a little different. I made the decision during the 2018 racing season that in 2019 I would take a year off from racing to focus on my business and my family. There were too many late nights and long weekends spent at the shop working on race car items. That time and energy should have been spent on the business and hanging with the family. So, my 2019 racing plans are…none!
Had I fully understood the time commitment I agreed to for 2018 I would have said no. It was so much work and so much time. While I had some awesome team members working with me – it was still a lot. I certainly did appreciate the opportunity to be involved with the team and race at Nelson Ledges and Pitt Race in 2018 in the ChampCar series. However, other areas of my life had to suffer.
So with no racing plans for 2019 – whatever will I do?
My business continues to grow and with growth comes growing pains. Being present is one thing, but being able to have undistracted, mental focus is important and I believe that I will now have that. There are so many ideas that I rarely would be able to work on and see though and now I will be able to work on those.
I also promised my wife that I would not have any project cars in 2019. Truth is, I am constantly looking for a project car ; E30 or E36 BMW, Focus SVT, or Civic EP or EG hatch are top of my list. A promise is a promise though so for now I’ll keep looking and researching.
In the last month I have received three offers to be involved with some sort of racing program for 2019. I have respectfully declined those offers. It is very hard to say no. I just finished the Charles Espenlaub episode of Dinner With Racers and he started out doing exactly what I’ve been doing; wrenching and transporting race cars for seat time. While it has lead him to a successful motorsports career, not sure I can follow that same path. Well, I could but other areas of my life require focus and commitment.
I do envision that during the 2019 race season there will be a weekend or two where I might have the opportunity to help crew and I’ve offered this to a few racing friends. It is relaxing to know that entering the season with no commitments I will have more control of my schedule and time. I really enjoy hanging at the track – it’s my escape.
I still have the Painesville Car (that’s the name I have for it) and I can see racing it a few times this season. The beauty of this car is that it will require very little prep. Plus, the track is close and the racing is fun! There’s a good chance I’ll fit a few races at the Painesville Speedway into my 2019 racing plans.
The car is currently under a tarp and only requires a few items to be ready to go. I am hopeful that the speedway will host their winter series in 2019. This relaxed, racing series is a perfect way to keep the juices flowing. I ran one of the races in early 2018 and although was spun out on the first lap, had fun.
So this is usually when friends say, “I thought you said you weren’t racing in 2019.” I have no plans to race, and there are no race dates on my 2019 calendar.
After writing this I will be transporting the Ford Focus race car to Erie PA and delivering it to its owner with all of the spare parts. This will free up some shop space and while I am not 100% what will end up in that space I have had some inquiries about winter projects from friends. We’ll see.
I do have quite a bit of work to finish up in the front space of the shop to get the new lobby and offices ready to go.
Lastly, there’s always tons to do at the shop.
Check back for more updates!