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5 Surprising Life Lessons from the World of NASCAR eSports
September 21, 2020
Spin-Sponsored Drivers Share Their Wisdom From the Track
In life, wisdom can come from anywhere. Anytime a person or a team embarks on a mission towards accomplishing a goal, hard-earned lessons will be learned.
At Spin, our mission is to give people the freedom to move, and to make safe, affordable, and eco-friendly transportation a normal, everyday thing for people worldwide. For Slade Gravitt, Cody Giles, and Garrett Lowe — drivers of Spin-Sponsored, Wood Brothers eNASCAR vehicles — the mission is to take the checkered flag on virtual racetracks around the country, while competing on XBOX, Playstation, and sim racing consoles.
In May 2019, we formed a partnership with Wood Brothers Racing, who’ve been working with our parent company, Ford, for 70 years and are among the winningest teams in NASCAR history. In the increasingly popular world of competitive eSports, two exclusively designed Wood Brothers Mustangs showcase our distinctive orange paint scheme. Racers compete virtually in front of, sometimes, hundreds of thousands of viewers and vie for prize pots of up to $300,000.
We recently interviewed three of the Wood Brothers eNASCAR drivers — the previously mentioned Slade, Cody, and Garrett. It was fascinating to learn about the insights that these young drivers have accumulated from their time in the virtual cockpit, and how these learnings on the racetrack can be directly applied to life. We were so impressed that we wanted to share our top five racetrack-meets-life gems of wisdom:
1. Keep the confidence, drop the ego.
Slade Gravitt was a first-round pick of Wood Brothers Racing in 2019, and with multiple wins, the 18-year old from Georgia hasn’t disappointed. As we spoke, though, he shared some important wisdom he’s learned, “I needed to keep the confidence but drop the ego. I used to think, ‘I’m the number one pick. I won the first race. I should get an interview.’ That’s how I was, and I could kick myself for thinking that way. Now, I just wanna be a guy that when people see me, they see how I drive, they see how I act on camera, they think like, yeah, he’s a good dude. That’s how I want to be. He’s not cocky. He’s not arrogant. He always thanks the guys that helped him out.” In any arena, with success comes attention. Clearly, though, it’s essential to stay humble and keep sight of the things that helped you achieve success in the first place.
2. Find your happy place.
Garrett Lowe’s happy place is in his race car simulator. “In the car, I just feel very at peace,” he explained. “People would think, you get in a car and you’re really hyped, but for me, it’s just calming. I’m in the car, [and there’s] nothing else. I don’t hear anything else. I don’t see anything else. It’s just: Car. On. Racetrack.” The lesson here, wherever your happy place might be, go there. Often. Let distractions and noise fade away, and get in the zone.
3. Learn on the spot.
Studying, training, and preparation are all great. The world abounds with knowledge and teachers, but, according to Garrett Lowe, to take things to the next level and achieve your goals, you must be able to react and adapt to variables in the moment in an agile fashion. “The thing that separates good drivers from great drivers,” Garrett said, “is the ability to learn on the spot. Great drivers can run a lap, notice little things that they can do better, and the next lap, change it. They’re constantly figuring out what they can do better. And that’s really, I think, what separates them.”
4. Be nice, but not too nice.
Cody Giles has worked hard to earn a reputation amongst his competitors as a ‘clean’ driver who does things the right way. But when we asked him what he needs to do to improve upon his already stellar career, he answered, “In certain situations, I wasn’t aggressive like I should be. That stands in my way — just being way too nice, way too conservative.” In short, it’s good to be agreeable and earn the respect of your peers, but don’t be so conservative that you refrain from taking calculated risks.
5. Have a long-term strategy.
We already talked about the importance of being able to learn and adapt on the fly, but equally important is having a long-term strategy and not letting short-term setbacks weigh you down. “A good driver,” Slade explained, “can sort of put things in the rearview mirror and just continue to stay focused on the plan and the strategy, and not get hung up or bothered by things that don’t go their way.” The same holds true for life, where excessively dwelling on mistakes and losing sight of the big-picture can impede progress.
At the end of our interview, Garrett Lowe summed things up pretty well, “As a racing approach to life, always stay driven to what you’re trying to accomplish,” he explained. “There are gonna be setbacks. You might get an untimely caution, so to speak, but if you just continue digging, you can pretty much do anything you set your mind to.”
On the surface, the world of eSports and the world of micromobility have many differences. Still, we take Garrett’s wise words to heart as we “stay driven” to push micromobility forward and improve transportation for our communities and the people in them.