Recently I wrote an article for Ross Bentley’s Speed Secrets Weekly with advice for drivers who are transitioning from lapping events to racing, including what a driver should be focusing on to make the change as smooth as possible. If you’re not a subscriber already, you can head to his site and sign up.

In the article, I talked about what to do on the track, but your environment in the paddock and the people around you are equally important to a successful race weekend.

Recently I got to coach a group of guys at Virginia International Raceway during an SCCA weekend, and their interaction was a perfect example of how your group of track friends can improve your racing.

Basking in the glory of a successful race weekend at VIR!

Basking in the glory of a successful race weekend at VIR!

Some of them had a lot of racing experience, some had just a couple of years’ experience, and others were participating in their first race weekend. It was the perfect opportunity for everyone to get something out of each other’s experiences.

They were all track buddies to begin with, but this event certainly grew their friendship, from sharing their racing experiences in the intense Spec Miata competition to working together on track (like learning how to bump draft!). Off track, not only were they bench racing, but we were actually debriefing as a group, reviewing data together and watching in-car video. Everyone in the group was able to gain something, whether it was what to do or what not to do!

By the end of the weekend, everyone was extremely pleased with their results. Some of them were able to take what they learned and turn it into a podium result in the 1.5-hour enduro.

I think it’s safe to say that we find some of our best friends at the racetrack, whether they become racing buddies or lifelong friends. That camaraderie can really make a difference in your race weekend, whether it’s getting help unloading the trailer, working on a mechanical problem, or sharing racing experiences at the end of a successful day. I know I have made some of my best friends at the racetrack, and I’m very grateful for that. The next time you’re at the track, look around and realize that familiar—and sometimes even unfamiliar—faces are always happy to help a fellow track friend!