Pay It Forward | Performance Racing Industry
Pay It Forward

Think about what it means to “Pay It Forward.” Most of you have probably seen the movie, or at least heard of the idea.
In this blog entry I’m going to try to motivate you to do something for someone else—for FREE. It seems like a hard sell these days, or is it? You may be thinking, “Well it depends on what you want me to do” or “How much is it going to cost me?” Or both.
Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to meet and talk with some great people in the racing business on the floor of the PRI Trade Show, and I can’t help but see so much potential and opportunity for “Pay It Forward.”
Now let’s be clear: “Pay It Forward” is not a business or networking opportunity. Rather, it is a “people helping people” thing. We should keep that in mind.
For our own race team, it is a labor of love. Every year, Piedmont Technical College in nearby Greenwood, South Carolina, sponsors a weeklong Automotive Summer Camp for kids in the community. It’s great, because it exposes these boys and girls to experiences they otherwise wouldn’t have. We take our NASCAR LMS to the camp and let the kids see, feel and sit in the car. My son/driver Daniel Alvarez gives a presentation on his racing experiences, and talks to the kids about racing on dirt and in NASCAR. It is a terrific day for everyone.
Then, Daniel escorts the campers on tours of NASCAR-associated race shops that he arranges through friends he knows in the business. It all makes for a really great week.
Why does Daniel do this? Because someone took the time to do it for him when he was one of those campers many years ago. Plus he truly enjoys it. It’s called “Pay It Forward.”
Now, wouldn’t you consider participating in something like this if given an opportunity? I'll bet you probably know a few folks in the business that would enjoy a chance to do something like this along with you. Contact some friends and do a little brainstorming. Develop an idea that is doable. Work on the details, and get others involved.
Remember, it does not have to be some over-the-top elaborate event. Simple is better, and much easier to manage. You are only limited to your imagination. Here are a few ideas that may be helpful:
* Racetrack Promoters – Invite the local schools, orphanage or summer camp to visit the track during race practice on race day. Arrange for a tour of the pits for a meet-and-greet with drivers and crews.
* Race Shop – Offer tours of your shop, as well as the local car dealership service center.
* Race Engine Machine Shops – Provide tours and demos to automotive students from high schools and tech schools.
* Race Parts Manufacturers & Suppliers – Contact some friends and organize a “Pay It Forward” event. You already know people in the business and together you can all Co-sponsor an Automotive Summer Camp or Race Day event for the kids in your community. Supply some food, shirts, tours, activities and/or trinkets.
* Race Car Drivers – Call you friends, take your race cars, motorcycles, race boats, etc., and visit your local schools, summer camps, hospitals, or local orphanage.
On a smaller scale:
* Invite a neighborhood kid or kids to become part of your race team for the day, weekend or summer.
* Take some of the neighborhood kids to the local racetrack to watch the races.
* Offer a few interested teens the chance to work in your shop and on the race car.
* Take some kids to the local karting track.
* Help your local high school automotive students build a mini stock car or engine.
* Offer a place for high school kids to do a little work on their cars and maybe recruit them for another event.
Now let’s talk results. To be honest, I’m not entirely sure how you measure the results of “Pay It Forward.” I don’t think it can be measured in dollars, nor should it be.
The fact is, you may never know the impact you’ve had on the recipient’s life. You could inspire them to pursue a degree in Automotive Technology, or become an ASE certified parts specialist. You could inspire them to become an auto mechanic, or learn to weld so they can build their own race car. Or you could inspire them to chase their dream of working on a NASCAR pit crew, or becoming a NASCAR driver.
Just ask my driver.

About the Author
alvarez's picture
Hammer Time Racing, LLC is a father and son race team with 10 years of experience building and racing dirt and asphalt cars in upstate South Carolina.
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