Beneath The Surface of Success Measuring success in Motorsports is simple, just look at the race result. Right? Not always. As Al Villamil, Villaconn Motorsports team owner, explains there is more, much more, beneath the surface of...
Beneath The Surface of Success
Measuring success in Motorsports is simple, just look at the race result. Right? Not always. As Al Villamil, Villaconn Motorsports team owner, explains there is more, much more, beneath the surface of success.
What is Villaconn? To most people it appears to be a successful, championship-winning BMW auto racing team complete with three fully developed Grand Am Cup racers, a dedicated armada of crew members and the requisite semi-tractor trailer - and indeed it is. However, as we near the end of our third season, this team looks something very different from what began way back in November of 1999. Then, the team was nothing more than two guys - a couple of "Buds" if you will, a Ford truck and an ugly trailer we lovingly called "Big Blue".
Today, when I see Villaconn, "The Team", I could not be more proud of what it has become. Not because we have the nicest trailer, motor coach, or race one of the most expensive cars in the paddock. It is because I have been fortunate enough to witness some of the best human performances of my professional life. Success for Villaconn Motorsports is counted beyond simply notching a win in the results table. It would be difficult to explain or describe every moment when I had witnessed some of the best in human performance. In auto racing this aspect is often overlooked in favor of the machine that crosses the finish line first. So in something less than a novel I would like to share some special moments with you.
Over the past seasons, I have seen an enthusiastic group of individuals come together to form the true definition of a "team" by performing flawlessly under pressure and staying cool during those times when it counted the most. When the "team" needed it the most. I have watched young guys become incredibly responsible young men. They are now key members of this team. I have witnessed a leader in the making. How did I know he was a leader in the making? Simple - you could see the deep respect his crew had (and has) for him. They will do anything for him.
No task is to small or job to menial for this crew. I have witnessed team members working on details that would appear to the bystander a simple act, and take such pride. The team extends beyond those working on the race cars. It is very comforting to see the efforts of our team members greatly supported by their wives, husbands, and bosses. I have seen talented drivers perform to their personal best and yet never forget that they are part of a team. I have met all types of people across the USA and Canada who are always willing to lend this team a hand. I have seen the team gain support from competitors who will help us with anything we need so they can beat us on the track. I have watched our financial support grow from just my wallet to many other companies and individuals. And of course, I am always surprised to know that we have "fans" that track our progress.
I am sure that many other team owners out there have witnessed such events. Motorsport is an expensive "hobby", but witnessing the growth of so many individuals is truly priceless. How do I know that this is one of the greatest rewards? As I write this, today is September 27, 2002 and Villaconn is at Mosport, Canada. It is 10:30 p.m. I am sitting in the motor-home writing this while the team is working on an engine change on car 34 (former 38, better known as Frankenstein). Keep in mind, this is a weekend that could very well set us up for a driver, team, and manufacturer season championships. As usual, the team is just doing what they have to do, no one complains or gets angry at yet another 18 hour day at the track. Heck, I'd go so far as to say they're happy. Like pigs in...well, you get the point. They love this stuff!
The people that make up this team should be proud of their efforts. In my eyes they get all of the credit for the many great performances of this team. They have managed to put Villaconn cars on the podium 15 times in the last 17 races. Some may say a team cannot win without great drivers. I believe, great drivers cannot win without a great team.