Early in my racing career…ok, hobby, I took a Masters Class at one of my favorite racetracks; Sears Point in Sonoma, CA. There were about seven of us in the class. Half with racing experience, and the rest of us had just received our license.
We spent the first two days working on technique, and the third day we had a qualifier and race. The exciting thing for me was, I was faster than everyone in the class! That was, until, they allowed someone who took 9th place in the series last year to buy into the qualifier and race.
What the heck is that all about?! I was so excited with the belief that I had the best chance of winning from the past two days of training. I know, I know, it’s crazy that I would want to win.
I have to admit, because of my desire to win, I was frustrated that this guy was going to ruin my first race and my possible first win. For those of you who think that’s shallow, you can’t be my friend. I’m just kidding…not really.
I was shocked to find out after the qualifying, that I was faster than everyone. This put me in the Pole Position for the race. All I had to do was get the jump on the start and I believed I could win the race.
We rolled on to the front straight waiting on the green flag to drop. When it did, the long time racer and I both got a great start. I said to myself that he would most likely shift a little early and I would wait and gain a little on him going into Turn 1.
As we raced down the straight, I listened intently to his engine. As we approached the “red line”, the highest amount of revs the car can take before the rev limiter shut the engine down, I heard him shift a bit early. I gave it another second, nosed ahead of him, and shifted.
This allowed me to get into Turn 1 first and hold everyone off. As the race went on, every lap I pulled further and further away from the pack until I couldn’t see the second place car in my mirrors.
Lap after lap I became more excited that I was about to win the race. As I took the white flag, which means there was one lap left, I backed off a little to ensure that I didn’t make any bad mistakes and lose the race.
Half way through the lap I looked in my mirrors and saw the second place car coming hard! I slammed the gas pedal down and pushed as hard as I possibly could! We ran down a straight with him gaining on me quickly.
As we went into the next turn, I just barely was able to outbreak him and keep the first position. Praise God there were a few turns before the checkered flag that allowed me to leave him behind again.
I realized afterward that backing off put me literally a fraction of a second from not wining the race and finishing well.
Sometimes we can get so close to winning and we get comfortable. For some, they become complacent. Either way, we can get so close to finishing well, only to back off and lose out.
Don’t back off! Whatever it is that you are doing that is helping you to become the person you want to be, don’t back off. Don’t get caught up wasting time on things that don’t matter. Don’t allow yourself to focus on the unimportant because the important takes you out of your comfort zone.
Decide what it is that you want to accomplish, or finish well, and don’t back off!
Question: What’s a time that you took your foot off the gas?
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