Two for the Road is a hangout for mystery writers Tammy Kaehler and Simon Wood to chat, reminisce, gossip, speculate and argue about all things motorsport.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Things That Would Surprise You About a Race

There's so much that goes on during a race weekend that the race is almost the least of it. Almost. No one forgets that the point of the weekend is the racing, but there's another truism I've learned about race weekends, and that is that the business of racing happens on race weekend.

What does that mean? Well, it means that there if you want to make connections, make deals, pick up work, woo or secure sponsors, sell, promote, buy, or view ... you're likely to get more accomplished in a three-day race event than in three weeks of phone calls and e-mails leading up to it.

What this also means is that there's a lot of business happening at all times on the racetrack, and there are a lot of people around who aren't paying much attention to what's happening on track. And that can be pretty odd, especially when you consider that a race might be happening at a classic circuit with great viewing opportunities. Fans will run all over (as they're doing now at a six-hour race I'm attending) and watch from key corners (like Laguna Seca's famed Corkscrew, above). But most of the staff of the series and teams watch the race on TV.

On one hand, that's pretty silly, watching the TV feed from the middle of the track. On the other hand, it's understandable, if their jobs or meetings keep them in the pits or a hospitality tent. Of course, staff usually have a sixth sense for when to turn to the screen to catch a replay.

I'm usually torn at a race. Part of me thinks I should run around to different corners and get a first-hand view of the action. The other part of me accepts that (a) the view of the race is better on TV than from a single corner and (b) I've usually spent the better half of two days making contacts, deals, sales, and promotions. So I usually sit in a hospitality tent in comfort, with shade and ready access to food and water, and watch the television.

I only feel a little silly about it.

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