"Monday 5 Things" with D. Paul Graham

.....Life is the Pits.....


Photo: D. Paul Graham

Monday 5 Things…..Life is the Pits…..

I had the privilege and elation to photograph Speedbourne Racing Services and the Ferrari of Atlanta Challenge race team this past weekend at the storied Daytona International Speedway and the Rolex 24 Hour race. I always get goosebumps driving through tunnel one up into the infield at this historic racetrack. The experience this weekend was all the more exciting being up close and personal with race teams,  hanging out in the garages, watching trackside as cars hurtled down the straights, engines screaming, and then being able to stand feet away from the cars on each iconic corner, smelling the carbon fiber of brakes burning and seeing the faces of the drivers, eyes focused as they looked through to where they were headed next. At any race, one of my favorites places to be is in the pits, which is where, as the saying goes, races are won or lost. This morning’s M5T makes a pitstop for parallels to a life well lived.

1. The Team.

Racing is not just about the driver. A driver will only have success with the right team. From the driver’s coach, the team manager, the crew chief, the logistics manager that prepares a car for a race, the truck driver that gets the car and all equipment to the track on time, the garage team that preps and tweaks the setup of the car before and after each race, the data and tele-metrics engineer, and the pit crew all need to work together as a team for a successful race.

2. Preparation.

Successful pit stops demand preparation, practice and strategy. If success is an objective, preparation is essential and is not an option. Without preparation a team is at a competitive disadvantage. Preparation cultivates discipled activities and procedures. Preparation is making sure the right team members are in the right job, with the right training, and the right tools. Preparation is a dynamic activity that enhances strategies and allows for focus and flexibility in the heat of a race.

3. Speed with Purpose.

A pit stop doesn’t actually involve a lot of ‘stopping’. A pit stop is fluid motion with speed. Each activity has a plan and a purpose. A pit stop has prioritized actions that focus on each pit team member doing the right thing at the right time. Successful pit stops have each team member in the right position while changing tires, keeping drivers hydrated, fueling and even wiping the headlights and nose of the car from asphalt and bugs. Every motion and activity choregraphed to the second.

4. Everyone has a Role.

Pit stops are intense and full of activity. No one in the pits is standing around doing nothing or wondering what needs to be done. Everyone has a role to play whether the car is in the garage, out on the track, or making a pit stop.

5. Communication and Trust.

The race team needs to function as a unit and can only be successful with communication between all members. Clear and consistent communication is fundamental to building trust between the driver and the rest of the team, preparing before a race, during a race and debriefing after a race. Trust directly impacts the safety, behavior and performance of a team and allows everyone to focus on effectively supporting the goal of winning the race.

Here’s to a week of success in the pits for whatever your race is.

© 2020 D. Paul Graham, all rights reserved.

D. Paul Graham is passionate about people, culture, photography and business. He has embraced his wanderlust with his travels around the globe and is at peace with his need for spirited drives in all things automotive.

You can find M5T each Monday here on www.southmag.com and by friending D. Paul Graham on Facebook. Paul is also a contributing photographer to South Magazine. His photographic work can be found on Instagram @dpgraham and at www.imageGRAHAM.com . Your feedback is always welcome. Email Paul at dpg@imagegraham.com