by Matt Busby
There’s an adage we have all heard at one time or another –“It’s the journey, not the destination” – implying that we set goals as the metric of success, but the process is where the real enjoyment and substance is found. I couldn’t agree with this more, but I find that I have to make the time to appreciate that substance of my racing experience, my operations experience, and my human experience to get the most out of it. I’ve spent a disproportionate amount of time during my relocation and transition here to Thunderhill Raceway Park reflecting on my journey (so far) and how I’m diving in the deep end entering the 30th season of an institution with such a sterling reputation! The question really becomes, “How do I do the most good as these journeys collide?”
I come to TRP with 15 years of professional industry experience, and nearly double that on the other side of the fence as a participant in some capacity. I like to consider myself a student of the sport, in stubbornly going out of my way to consume as much motorsport content as possible both digitally and the old-fashioned way often joying motorsport in person. This doesn’t mean only the produced and packaged pro racing broadcasts of this or that sanctioning body, but also the much larger community on the recreational motorsport side. This consumption really does underline the importance of the journey, and perhaps give a peek into what the next chapters may look like. There are some simple things that I’ve noticed are hugely important to what we do next.
Don’t take consistency for granted
A big part of the decision for my family and I to make the journey out west was the sterling reputation of Thunderhill Raceway Park in its history, its health, and how healthy the California market is for recreational motorsport. There is such a rich and extensive amount of institutional history between TRP, Laguna Seca, and Sonoma, BUT this consistency and support are very much not realities for every racetrack in North America. We are competing for people’s time and disposable income more-so now than ever, and I believe it is imperative to pause and introduce some introspection on the things that just “work”, why they work, and ask myself what would it be like if I didn’t have this. I am always surprised as to how this shapes my perspective in turning small comforts into grand gestures that should be treasured. I have been so impressed with how much about Thunderhill’s operation fits inside of this Ron Popeil box of “set it and forget it”, and it is because of the hard work, passion, consistency, and dedication from some very good people.
Goal setting is paramount
If you are a subscriber of Ross Bentley’s Speed Secrets Monthly, you may have read an article I submitted underlying the importance of goal setting as a driver looking to improve, especially for the experienced shoe who may have plateaued, or hasn’t felt the challenge to improve in awhile. The parallels in this to our culture at large is nearly 1:1. Setting big picture goals that progress may be measured over years is certainly important, but setting smaller, bite-sized goals that are meaningful, but achievable in a timeline that fuels motivation is equally as critical to ensure that I am contributing to growing a community of substance. Not unlike building a racecar, I always try to assume that there’s a better mousetrap, and setting challenging goals pushes me to not accept “good enough” as I nudge the team toward success.
We are in the people business
Motorsport is a service industry. At the end of the day, the circles made around the squiggly line of asphalt are going to happen more or less the same way regardless of the name of the event. The true diversity is set in what happens inside the paddock. The experience and atmosphere folks are immersed in when they come on site is what makes the difference, in my opinion. From the interaction at the front gate, to tech, to the (we’ve all been there)conversation at black flag, these are the things that differentiate XYZ Track Days from ACME Driving School. It’s the people who make it special, it’s the community and comradery that take a hobby and make it a lifestyle, and I love seeing the different “personalities” that groups exude when they bring their party to town.
I cannot put into words how full of anticipation and excitement I am in having the opportunity to put my fingerprints on an institution that has earned such an incredible reputation. As I continue my journey, I look forward to meeting an entire community of new people to learn about YOUR journey with TRP. I encourage you to find me during your next visit, share your journey with me, and how we can make the next 30 years something truly special.