Saturday, April 07, 2007

Racing and Golf... Any comparrison?

The single most important lesson I took away from my Olympic Skeet shooting days was that "Consistency is what wins." Since then I have come to realize this is true in all sports whether it's skeet shooting, tennis, football, and even racing cars.

For those of you who have been watching this years Masters at Augusta Georgia again you can see what consistency can do for a great athlete. Just yesterday (Friday) Tiger was in 22nd place 5 down and today he is already in third place only one behind. Sure there is match pressure but match pressure is nothing that stumps a great athlete. Great athletes know they can't be beat... Great athletes can only be beaten by themselves. Tiger knows that he is more consistent that any of the other competitors and for that reason the pressure is on all of them and not Tiger.

Just yesterday Gerie Bledso and I were chatting and Gerie said, "Gary, as an endurance racer, you know the first and most important lesson -- to finish." Gerie is absolutely correct and history shows us so. It's a well known fact that for many years during the La Carrera Panamericana, some of the most famous racers in the world never won a single stage but being consistent took them to victory circle as the overall winner. In 1953 World Champion Juan Manuel Fangio, one of the greatest racers of all time, won the Pan Am without winning one daily “leg.” But his accumulated time over the entire event was significantly lower than his nearest competitor. He knew how to pace himself and conserve his equipment when others were slowed by mechanical problems.

The lesson here is to remember to take good care of your equipment, do not drive above your ability and most important of all... HAVE FUN! years ago my skeet shooting coach asked me why I had missed a target. I told him I was trying too hard because I wanted to win. He then gave me a severe lecture about not doing anything different than I had been doing in practice. We should not expect some Genie to appear and make us any better today than we have been in practice for the last few months. Once again, just be "Consistent" and keep doing what we already know works. Just remember all that seat time we have on the track accompanied with all the knowledge and expertise we have learned from years in a racecar and NEVER drive by the seat of your pants. That would be for those who won't finish.

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