When you win, you’re entitled to a victory lap. You cruise down pit lane, a volunteer worker hands you the checkered flag, and around you go. This lap is cherished (Lord knows amateur racers like me get little return on the blood, sweat, tears and cubic money we pour into the ridiculous hobby), but it’s also fraught with peril.
In the photo, note that I’ve enlisted a crew member to hop in the car’s passenger door and hold the flag. This is partly to thank the crew (who put in more hours than the drivers for even less reward), but it’s partly to avoid embarrassment.
What embarrassment? Check out that flag. It’s big. It whips around quite a bit during the lap of honor. Now imagine yourself trying to hold the flag, steer, change gears, and somehow wave to the spectators. The racing world is rife with stories about dropped flags, stalled cars, and even humiliating spinouts during what is supposed to be a glorious moment.
There you have it: the backstory on victory laps. Wish I had more of ’em under my belt.