I've said it before, but it's proved again at every race I attend: the business of racing happens at the races.
Sure, people make deals and connections in the off season or the down weeks. But the real activity happens in the paddock on a race weekend. I'm always surprised by how many people I reconnect with, meet for the first time, or ask questions of. But even above and beyond conversations, it's sometimes important just to be seen in the paddock.
That's why racers looking for rides and sponsors show up in the paddock on a weekend they're not racing, in a series they're not racing for (but probably want to be). That's why suppliers show up in the paddock to talk to teams about what their product can do for them.
That's why I walk around the paddock, reinserting my face into the memory banks of the racing world. Reminding people I exist. Saying hello to the people I've met in the past and only occasionally brush up against in social media the rest of the year. (Like Beaux Barfield, above.) And giving away a few copies of my book to some of my subject matter experts, including Joe Foster of Dempsey Racing and Pattie Mayer, safety car driver (with me, below).
And occasionally, I sneak a few minutes with a friend who gives me a vital piece of information for a future book or a great story of real-life shenanigans in the racing world. I won't spill those beans, because they're likely to end up in a future book, with names changed to protect the innocent (by which I mean my informants). But it's true ... truth is stranger than fiction!
Alas, now that the