Posted on December 8, 2014 11:00 AM by Michai Stephens
The concept of time has taken over my life these past seven months. This is the result of being involved in the world of motorsport. The value of time is both exciting and scary. Time is everywhere around us and this past summer has shown me the many possibilities that lie behind the hands of time.
I say exciting and scary for a couple of reasons. There are moments in life when you wish you could stop time in its tracks, like when you and the world seem in perfect balance, flowing with ease as the perfect lap appears to be at your fingertips. Then time can take a turn on you, when you would like nothing more than to hit Fast Forward three times on your remote to move things along. Learning how to manage my time and stay truthful to the moment has been a big thing for me. Pursuing my dream of building an auto racing career has undoubtedly improved my appreciation for life and the time we all have on this earth.
In an earlier blog post I mentioned participating in the Skip Barber Racing School Championship Shootout. Two days after arriving home from England my father, mother and best friends began our road trip down to Road Atlanta. The 12-hour car ride was no joke but proved to be a great opportunity to share stories of my adventure in England with my family.
The Championship Shootout took place over three days and was packed with a total of five races. For the first time I felt what people call momentum. It was an interesting sensation - was it confidence, was it rhythm, belief or focus? I would have to say it was all of the above. I had learned such a great deal during my time in England that my accumulated knowledge was at an all-time
After three very intense days of competition, the total points were calculated and I found myself standing on the podium with a respectful second, just shy of winning the scholarship dollars toward a ride in the 2015 Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda. Passing the checkered flag that final time, I knew the result I was yearning for had fallen just out of my grasp. I was devastated and began searching for answers. Then I reminded myself of what I had learned earlier in the year: Maybe all the answers won't come in this very moment, so stop and believe that the answers may come later.
The Championship Shootout was still very special to me. Back in May, my game plan was to learn as much as I could, then peak just at the time of the shootout! At the conclusion of those five races, I recognized I had achieved my goal. Don’t get me wrong, winning the scholarship to move up to the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda was one of my primary goals. But I was able to realize just how far I had come. I had experienced some of the tremendous highs and lows that this sport has to offer.
Emotions run deep in the sport of auto racing, learning how to control and take advantage of them is all part of the driver’s challenge. People say all the time how we shouldn't let our emotions get the best of us, but what if we could channel our emotions to get the best OUT of our skills?
During the shootout I was able to push myself to new heights! The continued great support and coaching from so many people made that possible. After the final group photo was snapped, the final line to this summer’s chapter was written. In just seven months’ time, I have been successful at making my mark in the racing community and I hope to keep it that way! There are higher mountains to climb and wider rivers to cross, but I look forward to facing them head on. I will soon head to Indianapolis to attend all three days of the 2014 PRI Show. Afterwards, it is straight down to Sebring, Florida, to speak to and observe the very competition that started it all for me - the Skip Barber Racing School IndyCar Academy Shootout. It will be my epilogue for 2014, another honor and
privilege that I never saw coming at the start of this year.
I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday break!