Monday, January 17, 2011

A Mystical Creature Known As "The Off-Season"

My January has been fairly easy. Life has been quite simple in the life of my little cubical in South Carolina. Don't get me wrong, I am bored as shit. The highlight of my week are the days I spend visiting my accounts and all of the Nationwide and Camping World truck teams. For the first time in 9 years my January is rather dull. I've spent a lot of time and effort into getting to know our products better and educating myself on the life and love of brake sales. Its riveting. :really: Meetings, placing orders, gathering samples.. enticing I know. Recently, I have found myself constantly in a state of.. "This time last year, I was.." :haha: I walk into these race teams with my carefree, peppy, cheerful, rested, brake salesman attitude and the Harrys are exhausted. Its written all over their faces. Misery. Hating life. It's pre-season not off-season. The first race is looming in the dark corner next to the pit equipment. Cars need to be built, set-up, engineered, fine tuned and in the lucky cases branded with sponsorship. The media calls it the "Off-Season", which is hilarity at its finest. The "Off-Season" in the world of NASCAR is as mystical of a creature as "Puff the Magic Dragon."

During these months most all of the guys are working late hours and long weekends with, in most cases, minimal help, due to the current financial standing of NASCAR. Don't let their gripes, grumbles and cursing fool you..they love it. They all do. They must. I know I did. Trust me, I bitched as much as anyone else.
Here's a taste of how it goes.. The news of unplanned wind tunnel time comes down the chain of command and what do ya know the crew chiefs wants to take chassis 087. :ahhh yes, perfect, ofcourse chassis 087: That's 087 over in the corner with no suspension, no engine, no nada. Sitting over there in all her "just a body" glory, collecting dust. Oh and they need it now.
Maybe that is why I am so bored. Typically this time of year, I am right there with them. Wide open, exhausted and going in 4,684 different directions. That is "Business As Usual" for the month of January in NASCAR. I know the Harry's are just about over it, but I really miss it. I find myself putting off little tasks in my cubical so that at 4pm I am paniced and stressed-out trying to get that last spreadsheet completed before 5. Its all subconcious but completely on purpose. It's delightful. PANIC! I love you. I miss you.
On a set-up plate in Mooresville the bump-steer on the Intermediate car is all wrong. A sub-assembly guy is scrambling around to change the culprit drag link.. for the third time. All of this is happening under the watchful eye of the already annoyed crew chief, who incidentaly told the mechanic what drag link needed to be installed in the first place. Patience are running low and he considers throwing down the parts and making a dramatic exit. Just wait, that same guy will be the first one at the plane en route to Daytona. As he waits for the rest of the crew to board he is filling up his Twitter feed with something like, "On the way to DAYTONA Baby! Wooowhoooo." It's all ok now, cause race season has finally arrived, and everyone survived. 

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