🏎 On The Clock

Qualifying for the 66th Daytona 500 gets underway TONIGHT!

Together with

Good morning! Happy Valentine’s Day! But more importantly, Happy Daytona 500 Qualifying Day! Tonight marks the first time NASCAR will hit the track in an official capacity and we couldn’t be more excited. Welcome back, NASCAR! 🙌

Parker’s POV

Written by: Parker Kligerman

All golfers and golf club members should actually race cars. I know what you're saying, "WTF is Parker onto now?!" See, everyone I know who golfs seriously or belongs to a golf club, at some point uses it to avoid being home. Maybe it's to be with "the boys" or simply to get out of the hectic mess of a house full of young ones.

The problem is, golf takes around four hours, and usually, they are only minutes from their house. So eventually their significant other finds out, and they are summoned home. But this is almost never the case in racing.

Seldom has anyone ever said "adios" in the morning to go race cars then able to be home for wine at dinner. Racing almost always involves a journey. Whether you are doing it for fun, even locally, or at the top of the game traveling in the circus that is top-level motorsports. If you want to avoid being home, it's the perfect sport for you. Golfers, could be you?!

Which brings me to the start of a season. Always an interesting time full of optimism, unrealistic expectations, Hail Marys, and eventual goodbyes. That's probably true for most sports, but in NASCAR, whose season starts this February weekend and ends in November. Those who have been lucky enough or dumb enough (often the difference is hard to recognize) to sign up for this, are now entering a serious journey.

In Xfinity, we have 33 races, with some actual off time this year because of the summer Olympics. But in the NASCAR Cup series, a driver and most crews won't see their houses again on a Sunday till that summer Olympic break on July 25th.

There are rookies who can't wait. They're young, and their apartment barely has enough furniture to fill a pickup truck bed. For those toward the end of their time in the big show, though, this week is a drawn-out goodbye.

Goodbye to the friends you haven't seen for years and won't see again for at least a few months. Don't even think about weddings or events, not a chance. If they are lucky, their family may join them on the road. But remember that thing you didn't get done last week? That'll have to wait till August.

Bye honey, see you in 6 months! That's the reality of NASCAR and the people in it. Now, this isn't a gripe session, just the human reality of being on this schedule. I've personally done it in some capacity since 2009.

This will be my 15th year. A decade and a half. Chasing trophies and stories across the great USA. And often, I'm asked, "How do you do it?" Meaning the travel. Easy! The travel never bothers me, it's the lack of variability in the travel that has at times when the schedule was depressingly stagnant.

The hardest thing has always been the Instagram story of friends or to get the text "Wish you were here" as you're eating takeout in an overly air-conditioned hotel in a business park.

The truth is - I love the unknown that you come across daily in the swarm of public monoliths disguised as airports, rental cars, hotels, and restaurants.

And what else would I be doing? Playing golf? I suck at golf.

Might as well race cars, there's an adventure to it.

📈 Trending 📈

Lessons Learned

As Sergio Perez prepares for a crucial season with Red Bull in 2024, the F1 community watches closely to see if he can emulate Nico Rosberg's strategy to beat a dominant teammate, this time Max Verstappen.

Rosberg's 2016 victory over Lewis Hamilton is a masterclass in psychological warfare, pinpoint preparation, and determination, offering Perez a blueprint for success. With notable performances, including two early victories in 2023 and a memorable double win in Azerbaijan, Perez has already showcased his capability. However, a significant setback in Miami highlighted the mental challenges of competing at the top, prompting Perez to emphasize the importance of team unity and resilience, "But we didn’t give up, we stuck together as a team."

Rosberg's tactics, such as optimizing physical condition, customizing equipment for slight advantages, and employing a sleep expert to tackle the challenges of global travel, underscore the lengths to which drivers will go to gain an edge.

For Perez, the path forward involves leveraging every possible marginal gain and maintaining a strong mental game, especially as the 2024 season expands to a record 24 races. His ability to adapt Rosberg's lessons, from meticulous preparation to mental toughness, will be critical in his quest to challenge Verstappen and possibly secure his place in F1 history, or at least his spot at Red Bull in 2025.

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