Author: Lucas, Morgan
Date published: April 23, 2010
Id give anything to do what you do." If I had a dollar for every time I heard that, we could probably run the car for 20 years. It's true. All of us that make a living in drag racing are extremely fortunate. We get paid to do something most of us would gladly do for free. We're lucky to have a chance to pursue our dreams on a daily basis.
It's a crazy life, and it can wear you out at times. It's easy to get down when your car isn't running well or when you're out on the road for long periods of time, going from hotel to hotel and city to city. Your world can seem pretty small, actually, and you can lose sight of what it's all about. That's why I think it's really important to take a step back every once in awhile and just have some fun. Last season, I placed an emphasis on doing things as a team that had absolutely nothing to do with drag racing. You need to defuse, and the guys need time to just hang out and be friends.
We've had dinners and go-karts races. We went white-water rafting in Colorado and played beach volleyball in Brainerd. We've hit the clubs in various towns and even scheduled days where we do nothing at all.
The crazy thing was, when we made time to relax and have fun, we started winning. Smiles came easier, the pressure to go rounds didn't seem so bad, and things just naturally came together for us.
The 2010 season has been a bit frustrating for us even though we've had some success. We definitely expected more after last season's career-best campaign, and lately, I've felt the anxiety level rising in the GEICO Powersports/Lucas Oil dragster pit. Then I realized we've been so focused on the day-to-day grind that we've forgotten to have fun.
It's time to remind ourselves that most people would give anything to do what we do. It's really important to enjoy this crazy life we've chosen, so don't be shocked if you see a bunch of guys in GEICO Powersports shirts hitting the local golf courses, bowling alleys, and baseball games in the cities we'll be visiting in the coming weeks. And don't be too surprised if smiles come easier in the pits and we start winning more rounds.
I've been fortunate enough to meet a lot of professional athletes, and they've all told me that it's the attitude of the team that makes the difference. Every NFL team is totally stacked with talent, but it's how the players come together and work with one another that makes the difference between winning the Super Bowl or going 0-16.
I know for a fact we have a great crew and an awesome leader in Jimmy Walsh. These guys all get along really well, and that's pretty remarkable when you consider how much time they spend together. It's now on me to make sure they remember to enjoy the ride.
I've personally been motivated by a few things lately. Just the other day I was thinking about our recent visit to GEICO Powersports headquarters in Virginia Beach, Va. In addition to having the chance to meet all the employees, the trip reminded me that we have such great support from one of the best sponsors in motorsports.
Everyone I met had a favorite memory of something we'd done that they watched on ESPN2 or visits they'd had to the races. They were all so appreciative of what we do and how we represent them, and all I could think about was how lucky we are to have these people behind us. We're always doing our best to help them be successful and sell insurance, and yet all they kept asking was what they could do for us. It really fired me up.
I also got a chance to experience the NCAA Final Four because it was held at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Seeing the passion those kids have for basketball was something special. They were so into every point and every possession. It reminded me a lot of how we feel about every pass we make. Then you had Butler, this little school from Indy, going toe to toe with a powerhouse like Duke. Wow, the Final Four had it all.
In Charlotte, the four of us that raced bobsleds in January - teammate Shawn Langdon, Jeg Coughlin Jr., Melanie Troxel, and myself - hosted Team USA's four-man bobsled team, which recently won the gold medal at the Vancouver Olympic Games. Talk about getting motivated! These guys work so hard for four years for a race that boiled down to four 50- second runs. It's pressure like you can't even imagine, yet they managed to shock the world and win gold for our country.
All these things are great motivators for our race team, and that's why we're so excited moving forward. We've just added Rob Wendland to the team, and he's going to be a great asset. Rob has worked with John Force Racing and Don Schumacher Racing, and like many of us, he's grown up in the sport. He's won a lot of championships, and we're glad to have him.
I want to recognize Shawn and the Lucas Oil/Speedco dragster team as well. They're doing great, and we're proud of them.
The regular-season goal remains the same: win races and get both cars into the playoffs. And most of all, have fun! ND
Morgan Lucas is the driver of the GEICO Powersports/Lucas Oil Top Fuel dragster.