It's not easy growing up in a complex, technological world. Just a couple of centuries ago, roads and seas were often the best and only avenues to communication and success. In a modern world, the skies not only carry passengers, but also an overwhelming abundance of instant communication.
The future is often tough to contemplate because incredible changes and advancements are so common in many facets of modern life.
It's not easy to excel in motorsports, either, as so many want to achieve professional ranks and so few can have all it takes to reach the top.
For a young person, the prospect of succeeding is often daunting and confusing in anything, not just the speedy world of motorsports.
This reporter quizzed five successful motorsports professionals directly, seeking advice that might help young people succeed.
Courtney Force, daughter of NHRA Icon and Funny Car champion John Force, and Graham Rahal, son of Bobby Rahal, champion open-wheel legend, give their take on succeeding.
Joey Logano had the backing of Joe Gibbs Racing before he was of legal age to get a driver's license in any state. Logano had to gain experience in sanctions that would allow drivers under 18 to compete. He vaulted to the top of NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series as he aged and he is only 23 years old now.
The top three levels of NASCAR racing—Sprint Cup Series, Nationwide Series and Camping World Truck Series—require hundreds of officials to operate. Seasoned motorsports managers Wayne Auton, Nationwide Series director, and Chad Little, Camping World Truck Series director, are surrounded by accomplished drivers, teams and corporate staff. They know success.
Growing up under the majestic shadow of a successful father has had some unique challenges as well as advantages for Courtney Force.
Force now races and wins in an NHRA Funny Car.
“Don’t let anybody hold you back,” Force said. “Set your goals and work hard to reach them.”
Force had to earn her way in NHRA's Sportsman classes before getting a chance to compete at a professional level.
“It was something I always wanted to do since I was a kid,” she said. “I didn’t really see it as a male-dominated sport. I looked at it as an open opportunity. Try to do the best I can to prove everyone wrong.”
Rahal learned early the importance of work when his father had him write letters to sponsors when he was 10 years old to make a point.
“It’s pretty simple,” Rahal said. “Hard work is my advice for anybody. Frankly, sometimes I find people expect things to come to them too easily. It doesn’t matter if you’re a Rahal, an Andretti or anybody else you got to go out and work the sponsorship side of it.”
Rahal emphasized what he thinks it takes to succeed.
“It’s a part of anything in life and you got to work hard and take nothing for granted,” he said. “It doesn’t matter what your name is, nothing is guaranteed.”
NASCAR driver Logano talked about racing Legend Cars when young. He stepped into them when he was 10 years old. Logano literally grew up racing and knows well the diligence and emotions of rising to the top. He spoke about any young person racing Legend Cars.
“At that point, that's, honestly, the most fun you're going to have,” Logano said. “You're having fun. You're young. You're getting to drive a race car. How cool is that? Not everyone gets the opportunity to do that. So you've got to enjoy this.”
Auton served as director of the NCWTS before moving up to NNS. He understands success and effort.
“At anything in life, to be a success is what you set your goals for,” Auton said. “But I think if you set your goals high enough, you can at least meet part of them is success, and you ought to feel like that if you accomplish one thing in your life, then you've done a lot.”
Little has had some success as a NASCAR driver, an attorney and an official for NASCAR racing development.
“I put a lot of emphasis on education, encouraging these young kids to not only finish high school but to go on and get a college or even a post-college degree,” Little said. “Give themselves something to look at into the future, as well.”
These five accomplished motorsports achievers have some great advice for young people eager to succeed. Combining their thoughts points to ways that young folks might strongly consider and study.
It seems if one works hard, has goals, gets an education, stays grounded, has fun and won't be discouraged, then a life with purpose and rewards awaits.
FYI WIRZ is the select presentation of topics by Dwight Drum at Racetake.com. Unless otherwise noted, information and all quotes were obtained firsthand or from official release materials provided by sanction and team representatives.