Thursday, October 5, 2017

Sponsorship Opportunities in Motorsports

Over the years I have gone through countless driver sponsorship competitions, driver development programs, talent searches, and car Owner ride offers and my girls have done a lot in their careers as a result of these racer support initiatives.  Kaley was the youngest female driver inducted into the Women in the Winner’s Circle Foundation and Amber was a finalist out of Texas for the Red Bull Driver Search.  Unfortunately for Amber the Drive 4 Diversity had just been implemented and I was not aware of the program at the time and she would have been an ideal candidate for it (female and Hispanic – NASCAR had been driving hard for Hispanic market expansion for years….)  In addition to being unaware, I also made some mistakes along the way on programs that I completely had full knowledge and understanding of the requirements and application procedures.  I missed an important deadline for Kaley after she had been sought out by NASCAR’s Marketing Director only to have the program taken over by a 3rd party who did not have that history or background knowledge of her race career.  Then when I did make the deadline the following year, my video was complete garbage.  I didn’t know how to splice together the driver introduction to the action footage – heck, I wasn’t one of those moms who took video and relied on the internet to find racing footage that she was in.  I do get a pass on that since I was always busy running the race program and couldn’t video for much of her racing career because she raced at KAM.    I uploaded what I thought was a decent video submission – her driver intro she filmed was spot on and couldn’t have been more perfect – and I had found several different videos that she was clearly in the frame, and what I thought was my finished project was uploaded to YouTube as required.  I didn’t know until days later that my video was just her driver intro but displayed sideways and stretched out of proportion because we used an iPhone (older version).  In other words, my application was not complete and she was taken out of consideration.  Devastating to say the least.  When you work so hard and try for so long it’s easy to throw in the towel because the stress of doing it all over again from scratch is just too much to bear.  That’s what happened to Kaley.  She refused to let me do the process over again the next year because of how stressed it had made me and the strain on the entire family created some very negative moments and turned our lives upside down.   Kaley had an amazing karting career and it’s outlined on her website at
So, I write blog posts to give helpful advice on social media and talk to race parents about Driver Marketing to help them avoid my mistakes and the pitfalls of race marketing and sponsorship, and to enhance your race program which results in a better position for your driver and for your drivers potential success. 
How important it is to keep accurate driver race results and records and to take and post videos to a YouTube Channel? Extremely Important! Don’t just post random clips of footage in a stop and go rhythm of how you filmed it.  If you have a GoPro on you kart for on track driver perspective view, don’t post the entire thing – you will have a lot of standing still time in the shoot before the driver takes the track, pace laps as the field gets in line until the green flag and going to the scales to weigh with the drive back to the pits after the checkered flag.  That’s too much non-essential racing and is quite boring for the viewer.  You must get and learn a good video editing software.  And believe me there is a learning curve and trial and error when you first get started.  But it’s a skill set that all race parents must get if you want to get your driver to a higher level in motorsports.
Okay, enough of my soapbox.  Following is a list of some companies that offer Sponsorship, driver development searches, contingency programs and racing contests that I am aware of.  If you know of any that I missed, please let me know so I can add them to the list.
Even if your child is currently too young to enter, make plans now and put it on your calendar.  The prep work that you do now will only help you succeed in creating an award-winning application that will get selection committee members attention or profile votes on Branded websites in the future.  There doesn’t seem to be as many opportunities today as when Kaley was younger, but that could change and you want to be ready to apply for as many of them as you can.  My rule of thumb:  If you qualify, you should be entering.
This first one has been around for a number of years and seems to keep gaining momentum so I think it will be around for a while.  
Champion Spark Plug – They host an annual “Search for a Champion” contest.  By far my favorite motorsports related contest!  As evident by past winners, this is anyone’s contest to win and being creative, outgoing and telling a compelling story about your racing and why you should get a sponsorship from them are the key elements to winning.  The minimum age is 13, but you can be younger with parental approval.  You must race equipment that can use Champion Spark Plugs and fit into a predetermined category – karts is acceptable - (no proof that you do is required). 
The Promotion begins the first of November and ends mid to late March with the winners being announced sometime in April.    Fist you fill out an online form and sign up on their website for a user account.  An essay is required, no more than 300 words, and must include a short bio of the driver and the reason why you think Champion should give you a sponsorship.  Then the big component – filming a 2-minute video presentation.  Be sure to check out the previous year’s winners and finalists on YouTube – just search “Search for a Champion” and a huge list of videos will pull up for you to choose from. You’ll be amazed at the how creative and enthusiastic the drivers are, but it will give you a good starting point from which to create your video.  Be sure to write out a sketch and the dialog so you convey a good message that comes across professional.
The videos are uploaded onto their website for Public Voting.  During this period, you want to promote and try to get as many votes as possible.  The really good videos will go viral in a sense and the votes will just take off.  You can do it!  This is why I stress that every race team learn how to film and properly edit a video.  Video submissions are an application requirement for most of the contests and driver development applications that I’ve come across over the years.  The video must depict your racing with your race equipment and a photo is also required for the online profile that is created.  After the final voting period, the public voting will determine the 25 finalists in each category.  Votes however, are not determinative of selection as a Finalist.
At the conclusion of the Finalist Public Voting Period, each Contest Entry will be judged against the other Contest Entries in its Category by a Sponsor-selected panel of judges (“Judges”) based on the following criteria (“Judging Criteria”):
Inspirational quality - 34%
Best depiction of a Champion - 33%
Number of votes from the public - 33%
For complete details and rules visit this link:

Not too many karters use this next Brand, but it’s a simple to enter and qualify process to enter.
Red Line Synthetic Oil – Has on “open enrollment” starting the first of September where they take Sponsorship requests via their website using an online driver application.  The key is performance and to use their product in your racing program.  (Are you keeping accurate records of race results? Use the Driver Notebook – a copy is under Forms on the website or under Files on Executive Speed Marketing group page on Facebook.)  Their requirements go on to say, “Red Line relies on teams to build a positive social media presence and represent themselves with good sportsmanship and citizenship in their communities.”  So make sure that your website and Social Media channels are up-to-date and that all your race recaps and posts are positive and upbeat telling a good story about your race team.  Click here for more information and to access their Sponsorship page:
Red Line also offers a Contingency Program.  Like most Contingency programs, they require you to run their product and place in the top of the class per their website: “Run our stuff, finish up near the top (or win a random drawing) and you’ll have a great chance of getting prizes redeemable at REDLINEOIL.COM for motor oil, gear oil, additives, grease and more. We like to reward good performance, but also like to say “thank you” to the guys and gals who show us support and don’t hit those top 3 or 5 spots.”   You are required to run an 8-inch sticker graphic of their logo and purchase $75 worth of their product in the 6 months before the event or series starts that you plan to run.  Email them at to see if you qualify.
Valvoline: According to their website: “Team Valvoline is on a mission to lead the evolution of racing by partnering with racers, engineers, builders, auto professionals and students.” 

I’m going to highlight this next racer support program because I love the concept and saw it in action first hand when Kaley race her Sprint car at the Knoxville Nationals a few years ago.  The program was explained to me by the ladies selling the raffle tickets and this is what I found online about the program:

AlpineStars – Most racers know the brand – they outfit NASCAR drivers with their safety gear.  They are high dollar, high quality race apparel.   They Take applications (Race Resumes) once a year in November by snail mail only.  Send Race Resume to Alpine Star, Racing Services, 2780 W. 237th St., Torrance, CA  90505.

Knoxville Raceway - Not that it will help us here at KAM, but I love the idea and concept they have and how they give back to the drivers.  I’d love to put a fundraising effort into something like this on a bigger scale than what we offer by way of our awards program.  It’s called The Knoxville Racing Charitable Organization (KRCO) and it’s a non-profit organization that was created approximately 18 years ago by several sprint car drivers’ wives in order to provide additional safety equipment (for the cars and drivers) and additional insurance for those that race weekly at Knoxville and are in the Knoxville Raceway Points.  They sell the 50/50 tickets and use the proceeds to go toward the driver fund.  Of course, at a track that size and fan popularity, the ticket sales are very high with a large payout every race night.
NASCAR’s Drive 4 Diversity -  If you are a female or minority driver then listen up!  This could be your golden ticket to reach the highest level of motorsports and follow in the footsteps of Kyle Larson.  Of course, all the tips and advice I give really count when it comes to the application process for this program.  You must create a Video for your submission that has a driver introduction then a sampling of racing from different venues and/or different styles of racing (ie: Outlaw karting, Micro, Midget, Wing vs Non-Wing, etc.)  They want to get an overall picture of your driving ability in a short video so video quality is a must.  It must also back up your race resume, which must be detailed but very accurate.  They will be fact-checking via a special selection committee panel. 
The online application wants you to list your recent racing activity and requires total car count in class, starting position, ending position to name a few specifics.   NASCAR handed over the management of the program a number of years ago to Rev Racing.  They’ve made changes to the process over the years and now the application submission procedure is open year-round but the deadline for that current year’s Combine is sometime in September.  The online application and requirements can be found here:
They also want a good headshot and one on track shot of driver and car.  The minimum age to apply is 15.

Here’s another Manufacturer racer support program.
 Simpson Racing – offers Sponsorships by way of product discounts, they do not provide monetary sponsorships.  You submit your application by mail sending which includes a detailed Race Resume that lists your background, race history and any special accomplishments both on and off the track.  They also want a copy of your Race Schedule.  Applications are accepted between October 1st through January 31st for the upcoming race season.  For more information and the address to use click this link:

There are not as many Driver Development programs as their used to be, and that’s unfortunate. This next one doesn’t really fall into that category but resembles a development based program, in fact they call it “Athlete Development” in their description of the program.  It’s a Brand that any racer would die to partner with and back their race team, and as if they weren’t popular enough they are the new name behind Motorsports highest level of professional racing.
 Monster Energy – a common household name in Motorsports having made huge contributions to the sport and drivers over the years has a special driver, or “Athlete”, development support program called Monster Army.   The age requirements are 13 to 21 and they provide a varying level of support based on sport and what level the driver is at. (ie: Performance level) Their website promises that “Athletes from all over the world are evaluated and invited into the program to represent the Monster Energy brand.”  All you do is fill out an online “Profile” and submit at least 3 pictures.  For more information and to get started visit this link here:  The profile must be active with photos, videos and results posted before being considered in the application search process.

Well that’s all I know that’s available to the Outlaw Dirt Karters.  There are more available to asphalt flat karts because there is a bigger market and more manufacturers that service that market.  Also, when your driver moves up to the Sprint Car level their Contingency programs will be more common place as most sanctioned race series’ offers a program as part of the membership perk.  You just have to run the Sponsor’s stickers on specified locations of your race car and usually finish in the top 3. 

Again, if I missed a program that is out there please let me know.  I’d love to see this list grow in an effort to help racers and promote the sport of karting.  We need to get the Outlaw Kart community to ban together in a petition writing campaign to get more manufacturers to offer more racer support to our sanction of the sport.  We use their products in our race programs and karting is, after all, the way most professional race car drivers got their starts in Motorsports.  Without karting the race industry would suffer a huge hit because drivers would have no place to learn the sport nor lay a solid foundation from which to launch a racing career from.   
A Parent’s Guide to Driver Development
1st: Do your homework. Know the rules, the flags and understand the different classes.

Race classes are based on skill level and age and are set up in a step ladder approach for the optimal Driver Development system to learning and training. Many newcomers come in over anticipating the ease it should be for their child to excel at racing and when luck is on their side early on they tend to want to fast track their driver through the classes to move them ahead at a faster pace. Drivers need to take their time and commit to the step ladder system and go class to class as they master the skill levels before moving up to the next higher level. Stay with the group of drivers you came in with. There is so much growth and learning to be gained by working with other drivers and viewing them as teammates and not just competitors. By most accounts the classes are limited to skill and age although there is a wide age range for each class. Typically, the lower level classes or beginner divisions are geared for a year some drivers are better off held back to repeat the class for a 2nd year. On the other hand, if a driver is lapping the field and winning week after week it is time to move them up - even if that is mid-season and they are the points leader.

Often the newcomer comes in overly optimistic and full of unbridled excitement. That’s great! Racing is exciting and unique and for many it was a huge step to take the plunge. Karting is a family sport with everyone on the team playing a role.  The child is the driver, the Dad is the Crew Chief and Coach, the Mom is team manager and PR representative.  Sisters and brothers are part of the pit crew.  The fortunate few will get on top of their too-high expectations quickly and not underestimate the complexity of the sport and what it takes to master every aspect of it from kart handling to track management, vehicle maintenance, driver coaching and seat time as well as the risk involved. 
The learning process is expected of everyone and no one comes in knowing how to race.  It’s a learned process.  Yes, talent is involved but in the beginning there is more luck than talent I promise you.

Parents must also be committed to learning the sport from the ground up and understanding the rules and procedures of racing from the basics to the more technical and scientific aspects of it.  Racing is not just hammer down on the gas and make circles until the checkered flag comes out and hope that your driver gets there first.

You can’t just come in and start winning races in a truly competitive environment.  Although that is not a steadfast rule as some beginners have no fear and the best luck (aka: Beginners Luck) and can man handle the kart while avoiding obstacles such as other drivers or track workers and manage to start winning races right off the bat.  While this may be a little bit of raw talent, this is not skill.  This is luck. I’m not being a defeatist – I’m being real.  New parents are well advised not to let their collection of trophies and Victory Lane pictures mislead them into thinking they have a natural born racer who is geared to be the track’s new superstar driver. 

I can’t stress the word luck enough.  While racing does take skills and mastery of technique to perform the sport with success, luck plays a big part in racing as a natural progression of the sport.  Talent and skill sets have to be cultivated and developed over time while learning all many aspects of racing from the rules, track procedures, specific techniques needed to kart handling and safety measures, the flags, paying attention to the flagman while concentrating on the actual race itself…. 
Dad, you will be taking on the job of crew chief and you have a lot to learn yourself. In addition to having a full working knowledge about the sport so that you can properly coach and train your child, you have the whole kart mechanics to learn.  It can be overwhelming.  But make no mistake your most important job will be “Coach“, especially during the driver development years in racing.    

There is a lot to learn for your young driver, kart control, how to manage traffic, how to brake and gas for optimal effect,  how to find their line and hold it – just to name a few.  They can’t just go out there and bang into each other as they attempt to turn laps from the Green to the Checker Flag.  These kids come in excited and they want to win, sure.  It’s natural.  The first lesson to instill in the driver is that winning, an honorable win, takes time, hard work and effort.   

They have to pay attention and understand the procedures of racing.  Lining up, starts and restarts, pace laps before the Green, what to do under caution or Red flag conditions and how to enter and exit the track.  These are just the basics.  They will eventually learn the apex of the corner and timing control as well as speed management, passing and how to read the competitor ahead of them to anticipate their moves and formulate a plan of action as to what their best strategic move should be.  But they will probably get brake checked and spun out on numerous occasions before that happens.  These skill sets are necessary for successful racing and will be developed over the years as they go through the ladder steps progression of the different class divisions.  They must master one class before moving up to the next higher level of competition.

Parents should make a long-term plan with goals and realistic expectations.  Develop a coaching and training process for your driver to learn and hone the needed skills.  A phrase you will often hear is “Seat Time”.  They need seat time to learn and hone these skills and techniques.  The track is open for hot laps after each race for about 30 minutes to an hour.  Make time to stay and run drills with t hem, set up obstacles and cones and have them run a line with consistency, team up with other drivers to practice passing.

Praise your driver for their on-track performance but don’t over celebrate a victory that was made easy or effortlessly.  Once you start collecting trophies they can become addictive.  I assure you that in the future they will be nothing more than scrap metal junk cluttering the bottom of the kid’s closet collecting dust.  I have parents who couldn’t have enough trophies their first year or two to only want to donate them all back to the track later on.  Trophies are a measure of success for a race performance and our Podium Finishers (top 3) each get one for their efforts and I understand they are important.  But there is more real value in learning hard lessons with mistakes being made with less than stellar race results – as long as the driver gained experience and knowledge. 

The Young Guns class is our baby beginner class starting at age 4.  This class is a non-compete class with all the drivers earning the same award.  The reason is that we want the drivers to learn how to drive before they actually start racing each other.  There is a lot to learn and parents need to be patient with their drivers while pushing them to make strides and improvements.  The Young Gun class is also fewer laps than the rest of the classes for safety and stamina reasons.  We are training them to build up strength and endurance while understanding their attention span is limited.  It’s a fast-paced action-packed sport with no time-outs or do-overs.  We will help the Young Guns get into place on line ups and restarts.  We don’t use a cone on restarts and we stop them on the track and do a standing Green flag start. 

The next level in Jr 1 Clone offers a rolling start from a stand as we will still help them get into position for the grid lineups.   Jr 1 is still considered at beginner class and although the drivers seem to be coming into their own, they are still learning the sport and how to operate a motor vehicle.  There will be lots of bumping in this class because they have not mastered throttle and braking and speed is still relevant to them as the thing that gets them to the finish line first.  Speed control is developed and refined in this class as well as overall kart handling.  I assure you that at this age they are not deliberately hitting others to gain track position – they just want to race without getting hurt.  Their biggest fear is flipping  - which actually holds many back and makes them hyper cautious until that first flip happens; and they realize it wasn’t as bad as they’d feared and  they are able to push themselves harder.

Once in Jr 3 a driver will not physically be helped into their grid line up or starting position.  They are expected to be paying attention and when the green is coming out they need to ready to go.  Some drivers who are new to the class take a little bit to catch on and don’t focus on where they are on the track in regard to where they should be.  Lagging behind is not anyone’s fault but the drivers.  The front row starts the race when they simultaneously enter the start box in turn 4 at the same pace.  We are not going to hold up a race or give a “do over” because someone in mid-field or the back wasn’t on the gas when it was time to be.

The next level is Outlaw karts and they learning process pretty much starts all over again as the power to wheel ratio is so much like a Sprint Car they have to master new skill sets to compete.  But Outlaw is where showmanship comes alive and the drivers become the entertainers they are meant be and put on a good race show for the audience.  Used to drivers would graduate out of karts at this level and move up to Mini Sprints as the next higher level of completion but Open Outlaw 500 is a world of its own and is a highly competitive division in its own right.  There is no time constraints and drivers could spend years in this class before moving up to the big track level of racing.  We encourage that!!

While you move through the classes and from season to season examine your driver’s skill level and set goals on what needs to be mastered during the year in order to move up to the next higher class.  Mistakes are part of the process and we expect them but we don’t want to see a driver making the same mistakes over and over again.  Therefore, Coaching from the parent is very important.  You are their teacher.  The track officials at KAM consider themselves teachers and advisors as well and we give all our kids tips and guidelines when asked. 

Warning: I stress that coaching is a parents job but do not Coach from the sidelines.  What I mean is do not give hand signals and gestures to your driver from the fence while they are racing.  Their full attention must be on the track conditions and the racing action, and the only one who should be communicating with them is the flagman by way of flagging the race.  Drivers often get confused and make mistakes because they are being told to watch their parent and to do what they instruct by way of hand signals.  Then try so hard to focus so they don’t miss you in the blur if faces as they speed by that they lose kart control or over drive  the situation to comply with the all too familiar “go faster” signals being exaggerated by a parent.  This is just not safe and we do not permit it.  Coaching must be done in the pits, during hot lap sessions, at home or with one-on-one private instructors.  Once they are on the track it is up to them to drive their karts and race their circumstances. 

The flags are basic racing 101 and should be the first thing taught to a driver.   Drivers need to be instructed that they are to slow down when a Yellow flag is thrown as the race has been temporarily halted.  They must stay in their order or wait to be lined up by the track officials.  But a slow pace lap is expected of them during cautions.  During a Red Flag condition, they are to stop immediately right where they are when the red light/flag is waved.   It’s fine if they are out of order as they will be directed to the front straight away and put in proper line up order for restart once the red flag condition has been taken care of and it’s safe for them to continue.  If stopping causes them to stall they will be allowed to restart motor and a parent will be waved onto the track to assist.  Parents must remember that they are not permitted on the track during live action racing and can only enter if they are given permission (called upon or waved on).  Running out on the track is not permitted.  We know that if your child is in an accident you want to get to them.  We don’t want to keep you from that.  But you may not enter the track until you are instructed to do so by a track official. 

Wrecks and crashes are scary and we understand that your child may be hurt but it is the track officials job to safely stop racing action and make sure track is clear before allowing parents onto the track.  Again, DO NOT RUN OUT ON THE TRACK under any circumstances.  We are not being mean or bossy but it is for your safety the safety of our track workers and the safety of our drivers that we maintain full control of the race program and track surface at all times. 

Obstacles and challenges such as wrecks and caution laps are a common and expected part of racing.  Drivers will need to learn how to avoid wrecks and spin outs but sometimes a wreck is just too fast and too close to be avoided.  But if a kart stops on the track it goes to the back of the field on the restart.  Even if it wasn’t the drivers fault and he had nowhere to go.  This is a racing rule and you will find it at all the big tracks across the country.  The purpose is to avoid making assumptions as to who is at fault which has led to being seen as making inconsistent calls.  As much as you may not like this rule and consider it unfair it is absolutely the most across the board fair way to handle stops on the track and when you move up to big track racing you will experience the same rule.  Your driver must be instructed that even though it may not seem fair it is the rule and we apply it to all drivers in such situations.  I have had irate parents suggest that they will instruct their driver to just “run them over next time” or plow through.  This mentality is not only dangerous its unsportsmanlike.  Keep your wits about you in emotional situations with regard to race calls and track incidents. 

As they progress up through the classes more and more is expected from the driver.  For example, once being helped in line up position for race starts, a bigger class will have the expectation from the drivers to pay attention and be ready.  I had a mother go all kinds of bat shit crazy on the score keeper (Megan) and the flagman because her driver lagged behind when the green was thrown losing several track positions and ground.  It was his first race in the bigger class and she expected us to stop the races and do a do-over for him.  She screamed nonstop for the duration of the race cursing wildly and ranting insults and creating a scene just to voice her objection and disapproval the start process.  Later I asked the little boy what happened that I heard he didn’t have a good start and he said “yea, I wasn’t ready”.  So parents before you want to come to the defense of your child in the name of fairness or entitlement, your driver knows that they caused the error and it should just be left as a teachable moment and learning lesson and not subject to having the entire Rhome Police Department called out for an unruly disturbance.

Another point of contention is getting the Black Flag.  Getting a rolled or waived black flag is not the end of the world and doesn’t mean that we are picking on your driver. A rolled black flag is a warning that something they didn’t wasn’t right and don’t do it again.   I need parents to put that Coaches hat on and really think about the best way to handle such a situation when it occurs.  Black flags at the big track are known for rough driving or unsportsmanlike conduct on the track.  In karting, especially the development period, I see it more as a learning opportunity or teachable moment.  I’m proud that drivers are pushing their limits and boundaries to gain a new skill set or try a move that their confidence level had been keeping them from making until now.  So, it didn’t work and they got a warning (rolled black flag).  That’s okay.  They will try again and master the move the next time, or the time after that.  Don’t view the rolled black as a negative  - “bad driver” race call when it is most likely a great teachable moment for you as a Coach and valuable learning lesson for the driver.  A full waived black flag is for more serious or for repeated violations.  It could also be for mechanical reasons and the kart is deemed unsafe to drive.  Drivers should be instructed to exit the track immediately when they get a waved black flag. 

The flagman’s calls are not debatable and rebelling by staying on the track is unacceptable behavior. Violators may be penalized.

As we go through the season everyone wishes for favorable race results and points finishes.  There can only be one winner of a race.  The driver who shows determination and drive to improve and learn is the driver who will be successful in the end.  Don’t underestimate consistency in running up front and attendance when it comes to points finishes.  It doesn’t take a succession of #1 finishes to garner a coveted Championship Cup at KAM.  We only award the top drivers in each class (usually top 5 but may go back further if the class is large).  We consider all the Cup recipients winners.  Getting a Cup from KAM is a big deal and well respected in the racing community.

One tip I’d like to offer is to video your drivers race and watch it with them later.  Show them where they could make improvements by making a move or altering their line, or learn from a mistake they made that cost them track position. Have them watch the other drivers too. 
A driver must get to know his fellow racers driving styles and learn how to “read” them.  This is a skill that takes years to master but the ones that do come away with a valuable skill that can make or break a race for them. 

Again, praise your drivers for a good race.  Even if they didn’t win they displayed talent and skill and raced a good race.  Passing karts is a milestone skill as well as managing lap traffic.  One of my biggest pet peeves is blaming lap traffic for a poor performance results.  While is some cases this may be true and a traffic jam may occur causing a driver to lose momentum with nowhere to go, but most of the time that is not the case.  It is the responsibility of the driver to drive through or around lap traffic.  The sport will always have Rookies and newcomers, and we need them to grow and have a strength in our racing community.  It’s not fair to place blame on them for simply trying to learn something new and taking a little time to master some skills.  Kids should never make other kids feel bad for this and should be taught that it’s their job as an advanced driver to manage the traffic or get around them.  Drivers know when slower karts are coming up and will soon be directly in their path.  A plan of action is needed before it’s too late and running up on them only to brake check the guy behind you is not the course of action a driver wants to take.

In fact make sure you and your driver make a point to talk to the new driver and give them some positive encouragement. 

A child who receives nothing but negative complaints and disappointing comments when they don’t win races because the parent only wants to win and nothing else is deemed a good race night, will lose his passion for the sport and grow to hate even coming to the track on the weekend.  Another problem this causes is a driver in their effort to please their parent will develop bad habits and poor driving techniques in an effort to get a track advantage at any cost.  I have witnessed all too many sweet and loving kids turn into disrespectful punks because of the years of negativity drilled into their heads.  It happens when the Cheerleader Pit Mom who only smiles and squeals of excitement if there is a trophy for her to hold onto after the race - I was told by one mom that  “winning is more fun” and is the only time she was going to be nice at the track.   They may think they have the child’s best interest at heart because they are cheering for their child and what proud mom wouldn’t do that.  But I’ve seen parents with a look of total devastation at the end of a race because the driver’s finish order wasn’t acceptable to them. Moms remember that you wear that Coaches hat too.   I’m not trying to single out the moms because I’ve seen Dads look like their world has ended because they didn’t get the win. 

Winning is not the total measure of success while in the driver development process. Progress and skill mastery are.  Not just doing something to get a desired outcome but know why and how it worked is the goal parents should have for their drivers, and how to repeat the process again for the same desired result is where mastery comes in.

Small progressive steps and milestone achievements are invaluable and should be rewarded with positive reinforcement and accolades.   A positive mental attitude and a humble spirit are the forefront character traits of a good Coach.  Jealousy, envy and ego are the worst.  The latter causes pit drama and nemesis rivalries that not only hurt a driver’s career and progress but make for a negative atmosphere and combative conduct, all of which is unnecessary, petty and just not the outcome you want to have.  Also remember you are making family memories and bonding with your children.  Staying positive and constructive goes a long way in both parenting and coaching.  We expect our KAM Kids to handle themselves with dignity and professionalism.  Shake hands with fellow competitors after the race or going up to them in the its after and saying “Good Race”.  

We are all here for the same reason.  To race and to give our kids the best Driver Development program and race format possible so that they will have the best chance at achieving their racing dreams with a long and successful career.   
The high cost of our sport makes racing stressful with costly wrecks hurting the race budget and family finances.  This can make for an unenjoyable pastime if we let it get the better of us.  Professional and friendly conduct with an emphasis on sportsmanship is the only acceptable way to act at the track. 

Parents must remember that they are part of the class their driver is in as well.  Don’t isolate yourself by keeping to yourself.  This may not be a team sport by definition but it does take the entire class working together toward the same goal for it to be rewarding and beneficial to our drivers.  Offer to help your pit neighbors when needed, lend a hand to a fellow competitor to help get them on the track.  This all goes full circle and when you need help the other parents will jump in to assist you.

Remember no child is justified or entitled to win.  Wins and podium finishes are earned by the actual race results as drivers cross the finish line.  Just because they are your offspring and you vowed to give them the best life has to offer, and your goal as a parent is make sure your kids are happy doesn’t make them automatic race car drivers just because that’s what they want or asked for.  It takes grit and hard work, perseverance and dedication.   Racing is a serious sport with high risks involved.  It should be respected as should your fellow competitors.  Our Race officials are dedicated to your children and the race program and should always be treated with respect as well.  It is highly offensive to insinuate that the track plays favorites or gives special treatment to some drivers without merit or that a child has been “cheated out of” something.  That is simply not the case under any circumstance.  Parents who fill this way are wrong and there is no other way to address this.  To believe this is playing the victim and or codling your child over a perceived injustice.  All the kids at KAM are treated the same and given the same opportunity.  To act or think otherwise is just hurting their development program because you are more than likely missing teachable moments.

Our goal is to make championship level racers who will go on to compete against the best the sport has to offer in the more advanced Outlaw classes or at the big tracks in Mini Sprints and later Sprint Cars.    No one driver is more deserving of that than another. 

You made the leap when you bought your first kart.  Make sure you follow through with that investment by making a real commitment for overall success.  We have a bigger responsibility for our kids than if we’d just signed them up for football or some other stick and ball sort.  Those sports have full associations with board of directors, governing bodies, and fundraisers to pay for the equipment and travel. They have trained coaches and those coaches have assistants with team moms to help out and organize events.  You don’t get to drop your kid off at a field and hand him over to someone else to do all the work.  You don’t get to sit back and watch - or judge.  You must do all the hard work yourself and your child only has you to rely on for getting it right.  But you are not alone.  The staff at KAM and your fellow race parents will be here for you when you need.

Friday, July 17, 2015

The answre is Yes! The question at the end of post was....."If my kid is being an asshole will you tell me?"

If My Kid Is Being An Asshole, I Want You To Tell Me

 by Susie Johnson

(go read the article - my reply is below)

Below is my comment to the story - in full disclosure fashion -which replaces the need to be defensive, because I've learned - I will be called out, ridiculed or discredited  no matter how overly PC I am on a subject or issue, the haters and distractors  ultimately have their own self-serving agenda.  The way they may view my character, and have others attempt to see as being so is not as important to me as my integrity and the legacy I leave for young drivers starting out in motorsports who have a DREAM.