Everyone wants to win. It’s the reason why any of us compete. We want to win and we want to be the best. But sometimes, a win doesn’t necessarily mean you ended up celebrating with a trophy and champagne when the race is over.
When a race weekend kicks off, 43 plus teams show up at the track, each with a different agenda. Some are there to just win. Others are looking to win, but even if they can’t, they still want a good finish for the points. And yet other teams just want to be in the race, even if they aren’t good enough to win.
David Poole wrote an interesting piece for ThatsRacin.com last week on a Nationwide Series team, Corrie Stott Racing. After reading it, it will give you a little different perspective on some of the “hated” start-and-park teams. These guys are a classic example of just wanting to be in the race. And while they do start-and-park periodically, they do want to race. They know they won’t be competitive against super teams like Gibbs and RCR, because they just don’ t have the resources. But for a team with a small shop, a few cars, and minimal funding, just being able to compete is a win.
Another example of teams not necessarily looking to win races, are all those cars with young, inexperienced drivers in the seat. These teams are looking to not only make races, but also run decent and be there at the end. The chance to gain valuable experience, race with some of the best, and perhaps catapult themselves into something better is why they compete. In these cases, sometimes a top 15, top 20, or top 25 run feels like winning.
We saw a great example of this type of team this weekend at Bristol. 18 year old driver Marc Davis and his dad Harry put together their own Nationwide Series team to run a limited schedule this season and they made their debut on Saturday. Looking to get Marc some experience and hopefully catch the eye of owners and sponsors, the Davises bought a few cars and started their own team after Marc was released as a development driver from Gibbs. Like Corrie Stott, they also don’t have a ton of support but they do have some sponsorship. Marc was able to make the show and ran as high as 19th before getting caught up in a wreck. ESPN’s Ed Hinton has written several pieces on the Davises and he chronicled their day. They ended up 27th, which was probably disappointing, but you can be sure a top 20 finish would have felt like a win for this young privateer team.
When you watch a race on TV, the coverage often focuses on the guys running up front. And while they are the main attraction, they certainly aren’t the only story line. Sometimes the other races within the race are just as compelling.