THE EDITOR BOUNCING BACK FROM ADVERSITY
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dversity can be a great teacher, but
it’s often an enigmatic one. Motorsports
provides plenty of proof of that.
Wood Brothers Racing has seen its fair
share of difficult times, if only by virtue of
being the oldest existing team in the
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.
Its years of winning almost at will,
exemplified by David Pearson’s 11 victories
from just 18 starts in 1973, eventually
gave way to an extended fallow period
while the little team from Virginia
scrambled to keep pace with broader
changes taking place across the sport.
The two constants during all of those
years? Unswerving loyalty to Ford, and
its quiet dignity, regardless of where
the famed No. 21 was finishing. As Eric
Johnson relates, starting on page 56,
those admirable traits played into the
Wood Brothers’ gradual revitalization,
and help to explain why Ryan Blaney’s
drought-breaking win at Pocono in June
was so well-received across the paddock.
It’s safe to expect a similarly universal
hug to be directed toward Toyota if the
Japanese marque finally wins the 24 Hours
of Le Mans next year. We already know
it will be there: Toyota president Akio
Toyoda confirmed it in the emotional
statement he issued immediately after
this year’s quest for redemption could only
deliver more heartbreak following the
infamous near-miss in 2016. Toyota’s pain
is evident, but even before the bruises
have faded, so is its resilience.
Takuma Sato knows something about
that. When his best shot at winning the
Indianapolis 500 ended in the Turn 1 wall
after a misjudged last-lap move on Dario
Franchitti in 2012, Sato took a disaster
and used it as a learning opportunity.
This year, those lessons paid off.
There’s a lot to be learned from how
teams and drivers respond to success. But
as the Wood Brothers, Toyota and Sato
have shown, it’s even more instructive
to see how they respond to failure.
“Toyota’s pain is evident,
but even before the
bruises have faded,
so is its resilience”
“I can’t believe I’m finally meeting you!” – says Nikki Sixx to
Marshall Pruett on the grid for the Indy 500. The Mötley Crüe
legend played his final live shows last year, but our man Pruett
has no plans to give up touring, we’re relieved to report...
A shout out to
Richard S. James, a
proud Aggie and our
go-to guy when the
deadlines are tight
and the stakes high.
His latest mission:
Real Time Racing.