From the Executive Editor

image 1

“Don’t take ‘no’ for an acceptable answer” was a valuable lesson I learned years ago under the tutelage of PRI founder Steve Lewis. I had been tasked with finding information from a company that could help Steve’s No. 9 midget team. I had to find a way to make it happen.

Along my journey to get that “yes,” I dealt with people who didn’t understand the purpose of my request, others who were apathetic, and one who was just plain incompetent. But I persevered, and finally the gates opened and I spoke with the correct person who granted the request.

My joy was short-lived because as a result of that initial success, I was then tasked with obtaining that golden “yes” from other people for various reasons. Along the way, I learned a valuable lesson. Just like a driver determined to finish first at the end of a race, if I was blocked, then I would try to go left to get around. If that didn’t work, I would maneuver right. In racing, we find ways to get by the car in front for the win, even if some contact occurs during the pass.

In this month’s Special Report, the same theme applies as we explore adaptive race cars. These drivers experienced some shut doors in terms of overcoming physical challenges, including paraplegia, loss of limbs, and even blindness. (Yes, several blind race car drivers compete, and they are doing quite well with the help of advanced technology.)

In fact, 2005 ADRL Pro Nitrous world champion Dan Parker, who became blind after a testing accident in 2012, was so distraught fearing that he could never drive a race car again that he considered ending his life. However, he dreamt about being able to race again. Dan reached out to a friend who worked at Boeing who then developed a guidance system specifically for this purpose. Dan’s determination to not accept the challenges he faced allowed him to earn the distinction of setting the “Fastest Speed for a Car Driven Blindfolded,” by the Guinness Book of World Records in 2022. Although he wasn’t blindfolded, this is the closest available category from Guinness.

Robert Wickens, an IndyCar phenom, faced a similar challenge after he suffered a spinal cord injury from a racing accident in 2018. His battle to regain his ability to walk is well-documented, and he was even able to dance with his bride at their wedding reception the following year. In 2023, Robert and codriver Harry Gottsacker won the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge TCR championship in their Bryan Herta Autosport No. 33 Elantra N TCR. Established technology combined with custom engineering allowed Robert to use hand controls on the steering wheel to drive. You can see this technological marvel on page 28 of our Special Report.

Whether at a race this weekend or facing an important business decision, make sure to move around those obstacles to achieve the “yes” you seek.


Stay Connected

Sign Up For The PRI eNewsletter to get the latest in racing industry news, special events, new product information and more directly to your inbox.