5 Ways To Get Stronger/Smarter/Better After A High Speed Crash

If you don’t know by now, I have taken up the sport of Formula Car Racing. In other words, I drive an open-wheel race car, and I recently received my pro license.

Read on, and then jump to minute five. (Everything before minute five is a full course caution) If you can’t view the video, click here.


My dad is not a fan because there’s a saying in open-wheel racing, Once you touch wheels, someone’s going up. And that’s pretty true. You have wheels traveling at high rates of speed going in the same direction. It’s like dropping a baseball into a pitching machine. Once the ball touches the wheel, it’s shot out like a canon.

I had my first two pro races at Road Atlanta. In the first race, I went from 16th position to 10th. In the last few turns, I passed a car to take the 10th place spot. Not bad for my first pro race!! In the second race, I went from 14th to 9th. Again, really good for only my second pro race. Only, there was a little problem.

I was battling it out with the same driver that I passed in the last few turns in the race before. We were keeping a really hot pace in the last lap. When we got to the turn before the turn I passed him in, he over-slowed his car. Something I never expected to happen. In the video above, you will see what happened. At the beginning of the video, we were on an all-course yellow, so jump to minute five to see what happened. (If you don’t like crashes, don’t watch.)

After the crash, I started thinking about what happened and came to some pretty deep conclusions I would like to share with you.

  • You can’t win a race if you don’t finish – No matter how well you do, if you don’t actually cross the finish line, you have a zero chance of winning. Too many times, we get most of the way there, but not all the way. If you’re going to be the best at what you do, you have to do whatever it takes to get you to that spot.
  • Be more in-tune with each other – Being a rookie in a pro series, I assumed everyone would drive faster than me. When we came into that last turn, the other driver was most likely thinking he needed a better shot out of the turn, so I wouldn’t take him in the next. Had I thought about it, I could have anticipated him over-slowing the car and sending me flying with the ducks above. I have to know that at any time, one of my team members may not be in a position to run as fast as me. If so, then I have to do what’s necessary to help them get there.
  • Fear can immobilize – While sailing through the air and rolling to a stop is scary, it’s amazing what you can learn from it. You see, until that point, rolling a race car was my biggest fear. It was something that stayed in the back of my mind, keeping me from pushing harder. But something happened after the crash … and the medical tent … and the hour of shame back in the pits. I lost that fear. Not because I could now say, “I’ve done that!” But because suddenly I had clarity on what I did wrong. It was like the crash deposited large amounts of knowledge in my head. Sometimes, we become so afraid of failure that we can’t see how much we will learn from failing.

Ok, so it was too much info for one day. Check out tomorrow’s post for the rest.

Question: How can you see these lessons playing out in your world?

More pages:

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Meet Chris LoCurto


Chris has a heart for changing lives by helping people discover the life and business they really want.

Decades of personal and leadership development experience, as well as running multi-million dollar businesses, has made him an expert in life and business coaching. personality types, and communication styles.

Growing up in a small logging town near Lake Tahoe, California, Chris learned a strong work ethic at home from his full-time working mom. He began his leadership and training career in the corporate world, starting but at E'TRADE.

32 thoughts on “5 Ways To Get Stronger/Smarter/Better After A High Speed Crash”

  1. Wow, is there some type of roll cage on it?
    I actually work at a small, local race track. I’ve seen some crazy things in my life. Cars flipping, cars practically flying, 10-car collisions, cars over the guard rail… I saw a car catch on fire with flames 30 feet high. Amazingly, the drivers have always been OK except for maybe a few bruises and soreness. Crazy enough, the worst injuries since I’ve been there have come from people breaking arms when they get caught on a steering wheel that turns too quickly after a ram from behind.

  2. This is true especially in my field of internal audit. (Team playing is one of the greatest factors in the success of audit function.) At the end of day, one cannot put the blame on the other auditor for the failure/ lapse in the audit.

    We as a team always learn great insights from sports. Thanks for the sports leadership lesson today.

  3. Love it! not the crash, but the whole idea of formula car racing. Next to tennis it’s the only other sport we Tivo for later analysis, dissecting, slow play etc, and all that goes into formula one racing, but we’ll add this to our list. Indulge me please, before i get to your question; Why did you take up the sport, and what was your top speed?

    I’m glad you came out okay, and i can see some serious results in your future, stay with it. What i get from this, is experience is key, as you say you made a rookie error which is allowed if you are a rookie. It’s great when we bring new young blood into an organization,as long as we know it may take them a while to catch, like anything else, we learn from our mistakes. Two years down the road, we should see some different results.

  4. I was about to flip out until I saw the part of the video where you walk out of the car with no major injuries. I admire people who like physical challenges like extreme sports because I like the comfort and safety of having my two feet on the ground. I like taking risks in other areas of my life though. I love the analogy! You can’t let failure stop you. You can’t let the “pros” scare you out of doing things, starting things, delivering things. So what if you don’t win the race? You can crawl over the finish line and say I tried my best! BTW You’re rocking it with the blog. Glad to have you back and putting out great content as usual! GO Chris!

  5. Wow! My adrenaline’s pumpin’ after watching that video! Love the thought…”No matter how well you do, if you don’t actually cross the finish line, you have a zero chance of winning.” Great advice!

  6. Chris, I love your last point in this post! Most of my adult life (funny how kids don’t live like this) fear has kept me from stepping out to be the leader God has called me to be. Your video & this post is a great example… a great illustration of how failure should not be feared.

    Failure, as long as it’s not fatal, is something to treasure when it happens. Not that we should go looking for it, but that if we are not failing we are not acting. We will never learn. We will never grow. Failure is a valuable predecessor to mature success.

    1. It is crazy how it seems to hold us back more as adults. Maybe that’s ’cause it costs so much more the older you get. 🙂 I do believe we see how people react when we fail, and that holds us back. Once we get past that, everything changes.

      Great comments David!!

  7. Chris,

    This was an incredible post. You certainly went to great lengths to illustrate your point! Glad you’re okay.

    I love when you said that the crash deposited large amounts of knowledge in your head—it gave you clarity. I read this just after listening to your podcast interview with Cordia Harrington.

    She brought up a similar point, which is that we all know when we can do something, and that we have to have the courage to keep trying. To keep being persistent, resourceful, and that it will pay off.

    Your blog and your podcast both are great sources of inspiration to those of us who keep trying to learn from our mistakes in leadership.

    Thank you!

  8. Three thoughts here:
    1. I agree with your Dad.
    2. You go to unnecessary lengths to find blog material.
    3. Your wife must be terrified.


    p.p.s. Sorry. None of my business.

  9. OK, so I’m taking your outlook of “no matter what I can learn a lesson from this” with me to the Tough Mudder race this weekend. Who knows, maybe I’ll start blogging again. 😉

    Great post brother!

  10. Okay dude I finally got a chance to watch the vid. Uh, ouch. It’s pretty cool though how you landed like cat on your “feet.” Regarding being more in tune with each other, working for the Air Force, being someone’s wingman is just part of the culture. Of course some are better than others but it’s a regular message from leadership.

  11. I wasn’t even the one driving and a couple drops snuck out when the car flipped & rolled…pause for wardrobe change. Your reaction to the crash was amazing. It looked like your meeting with the car was over and you did the “stand up technique” to end the ride.

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