“Is this your first race?”
The old man looked at the woman with hot pink race boots and already knew the answer, even though she nodded silently.
“It’s an interesting thing….
the “ole qualifying…..” said the man.
“And it’s not as straightforward as one may think.
…and in case you haven’t realised….the cars controlling the field are the ones who hold position number 1 and position 2.
Lemme tell you.
Every one of them 36 cars <including cars 1 & 2> needed to earn their place as much as the other driver next to ‘em.
Which brings us to qualifying.
The reason they have qualifying is to decide exactly “who” deserves which spot and why.
Over the next 3 days everyone at the field gets a turn to strut their stuff and earn their place.
Now all things said and done you would think this would be an equal affair, but lady luck and the three fates have a role to play too.
All kinds of interference can come up during qualifying…the most obvious being the weather.
The driver who qualifies in the dry is obviously going to be faster than the driver who qualifies in the wet.
The driver who qualifies on days when the temperature is over 40 is going to have different tire issues from the guy who qualifies during a balmy day.
But its not just the weather.
The track herself has taken many a driver too….but enough of that for now….
We’re here to talk about qualifying kid….and how you’re going to handle yourself out there…being your first race and all…..
so let’s get back to it <yeah>
Now, with 36 places on the track up for grabs, you can be forgiven for thinking that you always want what they call “pole position….”
That’s the number one spot kid….
but let me tell you straightup, that aint always the truth.
“Such as…” asked the woman.
“Such as…..” replied the old man… “such as firstly, you want to know the layout of the grid.
Not all race tracks are created equal.
Some of them have pole position on the inside of the first corner, and others have pole position on the outside of the corner.
If you turn up to a track that has pole position on the outside of the first corner….well…..in that instance you actually want to qualify second….or if you can’t get second then you wanna get fourth….
So that’s the first thing you want to consider yeah?
It’s the layout of the track and where the position is placed to the first corner.
You want to know what number on the grid holds the inside spot…because that’s the one you want.
Now…” said the old man.
In addition to this, there are a couple of other things too.
Firstly….bein’ number one and two aint all that it’s cracked up to be, because every person on that track wants the number one spot..they’re going to spend the entire race fighting to get that position, and once they get it they’re gonna do everything in their power not to let anyone else have it.
Now if you’re the greatest driver in the world kid… and you thrive under the repetitive pressure of someone nudging you every thirty seconds, trying to cut every corner you take, and slipstream you every opportunity they get, then pole position might suit you just fine.
But if you can’t handle it kid, then you need to decide what you’re gonna do because the repetitive pressure can cause even though most seasoned professionals to crack….
And we don’t want to see that happen to you yeah?
Because otherwise what’s gonna happen is you’ll get yourself knocked out of the race early on, and struggle to finish at all….and let me tell you kid…the worst thing that can happen to a race car driver is not finishing last….it’s not finishing at all….
Every time you finish….regardless of where you come in the field…it means you gain points.
You understand that kid?
You’re better off finishin’ last rather than not finishin’ at all.
So what we need to do now is decide exactly where you want to sit on the field by the time qualifying is over.
Is it in the front of the field controlling the traffic in the number one or two spot?
Or is it in the middle? Staying out of the rubble as everyone goes hell for leather in the first corner and desperate men take desperate measures at any cost?
Or is it kid….
And don’t shoot me down about this yet yeah…..but is it at the back kid?
Do you wanna qualify slow, and give yourself some room to breathe whilst you find your feet out there?
Have a think about it eh?
The woman with the crimson pink boots nodded goodbye and then pondered what the old man had said.
Did she really want to be in pole position?
Or was she happy to be second?
Did she want to be in the middle of the field?
Or throw her qualifying away all together just to stay out of the mess?
She looked to the heavens, asking for guidance before spotting a pair of ibis circling high.
The old man was gone getting coffee, but it didn’t matter….she had already made up her mind.
She might not be the best leader yet, but she could sure as hell could drive.