RE-THINKING THE RACE WHAT IF


                                                            By
                                                      Bill Gude

The last ATV race at Elsinore got the IF-ees just boiling inside of me, as I noticed one car clearly out performing the field, with the rest just working hard to stay on course and keep the pace up. (You may be asking this point what heck are IF-ees.)
IF-ees are questions that arise after a race that need answers, or at lest a big bunch of gray matter spent on them.
IF-ees should arise after every event; IF-ees are what puts your team on the cutting edge. Winning teams do not go home after the race and just wait for the next race they make changes by acting on the results from the If-ees.      
                                                           
This IF-eee thing stared with our team on the long ride home from races, even if we won and more so if we lost. We would do If-ees.
Each member of our team would tell how he saw the race, and what If we did this, or what If we did that, and the team would discuss the pros and cons. All what if’s or IF-ees had to have some answer, we would discuss all topics none were to dumb or stupid. and none were just dismissed.

Each team member was expected to have some type of what If-ee, and was to indulge in the process, from the mud scraper to the owner, are involved as even the mud scraper’s input could, and has lead to a changes that will bring victory.
Rule out no member’s opinion, but hear it out and give credit to a good idea where it is due, EVEN TO THE MUD SCRAPER.

As an example, we decided to cut 6 inches of the rear of the bottom of our race boat creating a step, this step is now used on many high performance hull designs, but in the first round of IF-ees it was discredited as wont work, each team member spoke his opinion after an almost heated discussion, it was decided to try the step. The result was a new world speed Record in SJ class. My point here is no topic should be ruled out all questions or IF-ees should be reviewed fully and answered.

 

                                         GOOD COMMUNICATIONS

It is a absolute must that your driver provide good input or communications to the crew, on handling, or how the power curve of the engine is working in relation to the course and conditions. It is also a must that the handling of the vehicle be closely observed by each team member during the race, so the team members can confirm what the driver thinks he is feeling. Each team member needs to remember his duties to the team, and not to be just a spectator but a have the attitude of a scientist, noting in his view during the race even what seams to be the smallest detail must not escape his attention, and be mentally stored for the IF-ee process, A note book is helpful, keeping notes will reduce the strain on the brain and will provide a way to check and follow up on the idea and progress.
The crew must be able to confirm the drivers concerns after each heat, so on the spot changes may be made if possible.    

                                         

                                         KEEP THE TEAM FUNCTIONAL

Crew chiefs  do not try to do everything yourself  train your  team members to become efficient and to know their job, so when the emergency hits and the pressure is on you will rely on them not try to handle all jobs at all times yourself be an effective trainer and delegate.

Never affix blame, each team member knows if he has failed make the point show the member the correct way and drop it, never over criticize it weakens the team.

Team, support your owner or crew chief he is making major decisions at the snap of a finger.

Team, don’t bad mouth your driver he is the one who put it all on the line, making split second decisions knowing each could spell disaster.

Drivers, don’t get a big head; you are no better than the team that supports you, never demand, always treat you team with respect. I am sad to say I know at least one national championship was lost due driver arrogance, the team just simply and willfully over looked a small detail as they felt the drivers was being disrespectful and need to be put in his place.

Team member if you end up in a situation as described above, no matter what! support your driver, never let you team down because of a personal grievance, and bring up the attitude problem as a what Ifee .

Team member, if can not give 100 percent please step down don’t, force the crew chief or other members to pressure you to do so.

Owner, keep your team sprits up with a positive strong can-do attitude.