Death: The Inherent Danger of Motorsports

‘I didn’t have a Plan B in life.’ I was in pursuit of my dream from the very beginning. It’s all about desire and passion. At all costs.- Mario Andretti

Anthoine Hubert succumbed to his injuries after a lap-two incident during the 17th round of the Formula 2 championship at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium. The Frenchman was 22-years old. Juan-Manuel Correa and Giuliano Alesi were also involved in the incident.

Correa’s impact of Hubert happened at high-speed after cresting the uphill turn of Raidillon. Hubert’s car careened off the wall after trying to avoid Alesi and came back toward the racing line. Correa had no time to react to Hubert, and the impact split Hubert’s car in half as the monocoque separated from the chassis. According to an FIA statement, Correa was sent to Liege hospital “in stable condition.”

Giuliano Alesi was deemed fit at the track’s medical center.

The race was not resumed and the Formula 2 race for that following Sunday was canceled out of respect for Hubert and his family. The FIA is currently investigating the incident. Hubert’s passing is the first death due to an incident since Jules Bianchi succumbed to his injuries from the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix. Bianchi passed on the following July.

Racing is dangerous. Always has been and always will be.

I admit that as a current fan who has grown-up in arguably the safest time in motorsports, I tend to forget this. The advances in safety in the last 20 years have been incredible. Unfortunately, this is a sport that is continuously reactive instead of proactive when it comes to saftey. Notable required safety items like the HANS device, SAFER barriers, and HALO have all be a direct effect from death within the sport.

Often, this reaction happens after losing the sport’s biggest names.

My thoughts are with Anthoine Hubert, his family, and friends. He was a young talent that was taken too soon.

But that doesn’t ever make the pill easier to swallow.

Scott Masom

photo credit: Anthoine Hubert’s Twitter

 

 

 

Understanding Life Through My Favorite Racing Quotes

School starts for me this week, and I didn’t want to miss a chance on creating one more post before it got going.

I love quotes. They can be snippets of clarity and inspiration or moments of cloudy judgment or anger; there seems to be no in-between when it comes to them, and that is what makes them great.

I want to share some of my favorite racing quotes that I have come across over the years that have given me some real inspiration.

“Sometimes you’ve just gotta lick the stamp and send it.”- Daniel Ricciardo

A daring move, late on the brakes to pass Valtteri Bottas for the top step of the podium during the 2018 Chinese Grand Prix is what concocted this beautiful quote from the self-proclaimed “Honey Badger” of Formula One.

This quote is my absolute favorite. It inspired me to branch out and apply for other jobs and be more daring in my writing. This quote is about having the right mentality, and when he saw an opening to pass Bottas, he took it. At the time, he didn’t know if it would work, but he took the chance anyway.

Take a chance. Lick the stamp.

“When you put on your helmet… you’re invincible.” – John Force

Is this the thing that has kept John Force racing for so many years? Achieving his 150th NHRA win at the age of 75, one might argue that it is.

When you are genuinely in your environment, whether that is as a professional or as a hobbyist, there is no better feeling. I’m starting to find mine within this blog, and it is something I hope everyone can discover for themselves.

“You will never know the feeling of a driver when winning a race. The helmet hides feelings that can not be understood.”- Aryton Senna

We revere our favorite race car drivers as genuine heroes-they are the men behind the mask that wheel machinery only a few can fathom.

We do not see the fear in a driver’s eyes, nor do we see their confidence. Only the driver knows the truth of their emotions. Winning is everything to these drivers; it is the purest form of validation.

Only you know your genuine emotions. Only you know when you’ve achieved validation.

“If you don’t come walking back to the pits every once in a while holding a steering wheel in your hands, you’re not trying hard enough.”- Mario Andretti

It is okay to give everything you have and still fail because failing is a part of life. It is better to try for more than to never try at all because being content is not acceptable when you can do more; be more.

Sometimes, you’ve just got to leave it all on the track.

“Simply racing a Formula One car is an achievement”- Sebastian Vettel

It is essential to have a perspective on life. We all have plans of becoming the best in our fields. We want to become the race winner, the champion, the legend. In our endless pursuit to try and be the best, we often forget that what we have achieved is monumental in itself.

I have a medium to express my thoughts on motorsports, and for right now, this is a considerable achievement.

Scott Masom

Lessons I’ve Learned From Motorsports: Perfection Isn’t the Key to Victory

Perfection: (verb)

make (something) completely free from faults or defects, or as close to such a condition as possible.

Racing is the ultimate pursuit of perfection.

What spectators don’t see is drivers spend their weeknights in their home garages. They lay under their cars, believing that they have found “speed” with every turn of their wrench or the continuous adjustments on the car to keep up with the track conditions. The track walks during intermissions or before the race. The constant and meticulous maintenance of their race cars. The nail-biting seen from drivers studying a race track before they pull those belts tight for their feature races.

And yet, with all this preparation, perfection will elude these drivers.

Yes, even to the drivers that pull into victory lane and get their picture taken with a trophy. That driver missed a breaking point. Some corners were overdriven. A cushion jumped, and a pass went unperformed, but because of their resiliency, they were able to minimize their mistakes and found themselves in victory lane.

Racing is an excellent example for youths that feel pressured by society to be perfect by their 18th birthday. Racing can show them that they can achieve their goals by being excellently prepared for various situations. That adjusting to life’s circumstances, much like a changing race track, is natural. That feeling of a monumental mistake, like over driving a corner and losing ground to the car ahead, can be overcome to achieve victory.

Oddly enough, what seems like perfection in racing is anything but perfection.

I’ve seen engines fail before the closing laps to victory. Tires flattened rounding the last corner, and leaders collected in wrecks that they didn’t create. But week in and week out, these drivers show up to the track because the path to victory is not one of perfection but of resilience.

Resilience: (noun)

the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.

Scott Masom

 

Blog #50: A Thank You

When this publishes, I’ll have published 50 of these things and let me tell you something; this isn’t as easy as I thought it would be.

For those that don’t know, “Race Car, Go!” started as a semester-long project for my Digital Media Writing course. I rolled my eyes when I saw this assignment on the syllabus. I was sure that it would be restrictive in topics that I could write about like politics or pop culture. To my surprise, the instructor told us to write about whatever we liked, that this experience was about becoming better organizers, writers, and communicators.

I can’t tell you how liberating and inspiring this was to me.

So, I found a cheap logo maker and bought a domain name through wordpress.com and started writing about what I am passionate about and as you all well know by now, that’s auto racing.

My first blog post was titled “Reflecting on What My Mother Said.” It was a call to NASCAR fans that we needed to be less negative if we wanted the sport to continue to grow. I can’t tell you how nervous I was before I finally built up the courage and pushed that publish button. Here is the link if you would like to refresh yourself:

https://wordpress.com/post/racecargo.blog?jetpack-copy=10

Since then, I have grown my confidence. I’ve been discovering my voice and trying to expand my global identity.  I want to be a part of the world of racing in any way I can be. Ultimately, I would love to be a broadcaster with a weekly show about auto racing, but through this blog, I have found a calming and welcoming presence within the written medium.

That calming factor was something I didn’t expect.
I never grew up with friends that liked racing. I never had anyone to share my ideas with, discuss topics, or even watch a race with. But in this blog, I’m free to do these things. I’ve found people around the world to interact with.

So with this blog post, I wanted to say thank you for reading my posts. Thank you for following “Race Car, Go!” on social media and thank you for becoming one of my racing friends.

This support means more than you will know,

Scott Masom

 

 

 

Lessons I’ve Learned From Motorsports: Nothing Lasts Forever

Texas Thunder Speedway,

A track where the stands were rickety, the food was average, and the bathrooms were on par with just about any small-town gas station. A place where I held my first job; they paid me $10 a night to operate the scoreboard. This track, for all its faults, quirkiness, and imperfections, was home.

This track was a place where my father and I would drive 5 hours round trip every Saturday. Why? Well, where else could you see IMCA Modified National Champions, Keith White and P.J. Egbert, battle each other every week? Where else could my father and I see door to door action in every class at the track? Nowhere because we tried finding it elsewhere and we would always come right back. This track had the best racing in Texas, and at times, I dare say the world.

Texas Thunder Speedway had plenty of character and had a fair share of characters. Names like Jason “The Acro” Batt, Gary “Stormin” Norman, and Ken Old were always fan favorites. The track had two distinct racing grooves that appealed to the cushion huggers and the bottom feeders, who inevitably, always seemed to meet at the flag stand for a photo finish. That would leave us in the scoring booth to debate and at times, take a vote, to agree on the winner. After a while, we finally got smart and started using transponders to handle that.

Sadly, this track no longer exists. It got demolished to make a Walmart SuperCenter. Glad to know life is fair, right?

I’ve learned a lot of life lessons from this defunct race track, and as I sit here and reminisce, I have come to realize that she had one more life lesson to offer and that is “nothing lasts forever.” This track taught me that I need to cherish, enjoy, and protect what I have in life because certain experiences and opportunities may never happen again. This statement is proving to be accurate as I try to plant my roots and find a new track to call home.

Until I do, I can only think about how special Texas Thunder Speedway was and still is to me and to those who also called this track home.

Scott Masom

“On behalf of the entire staff and crew here at Texas Thunder Speedway, I hope you had as much fun watching them, as we did bringing them to you.” -Sarge, co-announcer