Uncovering Josh Green’s Secrets: An Indy NXT Racecar Driver Interview
So two weeks ago, Josh, he raced at the iconic Indianapolis Speedway. Um, what was the biggest take home that you had from that race? I love hearing how athletes kind of look back on a race weekend. Like what sticks with him, what stays with you most from
that weekend? You know, I think as a unit, my group of people worked really, really well together.
I think we did a really good job, a strong job, making sure. That we had a competitive car all weekend long. Um, it was a weekend where as a team, h and d Motorsports, we weren’t, let’s say necessarily the best straight outta the box as we have been the first two race weekends of the season. Um, so we had some hard work to kind of get ourselves up to spec with the guys who were running up front.
Uh, and I think we did a really good job. And it ended up being, you know, for me, our most competitive weekend so far this season.
So what got, what was like the one thing that was maybe the initial oversight or the thing that you hadn’t quite caught onto? Was there like one little thing that you just found and the car just clicked?
Or was it three or four or five little things that all kind of fed into each other?
So it’s, it’s been something we’ve actually been fighting so far this season, um, with the new Firestone Tire that we have in Indy next. Uh, there’s been a lot of changes, obviously, and one is a very big difference in driving style, and it’s something, uh, It’s used to be seen as a bad habit, right?
Having too much steering in a car. That’s one of the big things that people struggle with, especially first getting into racing, turn more, to make the car turn more isn’t really the way it usually works. But for whatever reason, with the Firestone, it loves a ton of steering angle. Like it wants you, what we call knuckles up, right?
It wants you hands up in the air. Um, and I worked really hard to kind of get rid of that habit. From driving the Cooper in my racing series years before, um, and I’ve kind of had to work it back into my driving style. Um, and in turn, as a driver, you feel like you have under steer before you even get it right, because you’re not turning the steering wheel enough, you’re not getting the maximum out of the front tire.
Um, and by not getting the maximum outta the front tire, you’re keeping like, okay, we need more front grip because it’s not turning enough. Right? Um, and. In turn makes it so it’s impossible to get to that steering angle, cuz if you do with a ton of front grip, you’re just gonna spin. Um, and at nd g p, you know, we had finally kind of sat back, learned all of that, understood it all, and set up a car with, let’s say a bunch more underst steer, but really just a much more balanced car that I felt like I could really attack with.
Oh, nice. And,
and guys, we’re here with Josh Green, who is an Indie next driver. Um, and what I love about his style is he’s, his attention to detail gets right to the point if you ever get a chance to listen to his videos. Um, some really informative, short to the point attention grabbing videos that kind of inform you about, uh, his racing series and things to keep an eye out for, really do a good job with that.
So, um, Back to racing. So when you found these challenges, so you’re basically trying to adapt and change. The way that you drive in a race weekend is, is that what the challenge was,
essentially? Yeah, exactly Right. And, and the thing that happens too as a driver, like if you don’t, if you’re not driving the way that the tire wants you to drive and you’re not getting everything outta the tire, inherently, you can’t set the car up correctly.
Um, and it was kind of, it was a root philosophy thing for me of changing how I drove the car, which then kind of drove the whole weekend in the right direction.
So how do you manage that then? Because obviously all, all drivers and all people have certain styles, but then in this case, you know, it’s a perfect example of, hey, you know, you’ve gotta adapt and you’ve gotta a, you know, the, the, the boss is gonna be the tire and you’ve gotta do what that tire wants to do and adapt to it instead of it adapting to you.
Um, How, how do you manage that? Because all of us as athletes that race or compete, want to feel comfortable. That seems to be our sweet spot. The one phrase that is like the, the qualifying statement that all athletes that race need to feel in order to compete at their best is to feel comfortable. So how do you manage the uncomfortable feelings and, and not being comfortable in that case?
For sure. I think. Like, once you do something, once, it can then become very, very comfortable. Like, let’s say, I mean, you know, uh, the, the Indy 500 is going on next weekend and they just did qualifying right? I’m sure the first time you go around the oval, you probably turn into, turn one at 200 mile an hour and go, this cannot be flat.
There’s no way that this is full throttle. But then you do it once and all of a sudden it’s like, okay, this is actually like super easy, flat and we need to start trimming, take all the air outta the car. It’s just like that. We’re like, The first time you do it, your brain’s initially telling you like, yeah, that’s impossible.
There’s no way. That’s right. Whereas with me with the steering, it might have been okay if I turned it here, I’m definitely spinning. Like there’s no way the car is gonna keep turning kind of thing. Mm-hmm. Um, but then once you do it once or twice and you start building a habit and like the first time you go out on track, maybe for the weekend, let’s say at Indie, um, and in the first practice session, my mindset was immediately just like, okay, every single corner, I need to just crank, staring into it, even if it’s too much.
Just to make sure that I’m going past the limit and I’m getting everything outta the front tire and then I can bring it back. You know, actually forcing that to be a part, like ingrained in my driving style, so that from there on out, I’m already doing it and I can change it based on how we set the car up or based on what I want.
Oh wow. So you went out with a strong intention. And it wasn’t something that was negotiable. It was, this is what we’re gonna do. We’re going to do it, and then we’ll we’ll dial back once we kind of cross that, that line, that threshold for the tire and then dial it back. Is that kind of how it went?
And I think a strong intention is the perfect way to put it. Like especially with a series at this level with so much talent, right? You have to be able to, the driver needs to be as little of an implication as possible, right? Because inherently, like all we are, we’re the spacer. Between the seat and the steering wheel.
And it’s like if we don’t do a good job, it’s gonna make everyone’s life a lot harder. Obviously we have the chance to overperform the car, but we also have a chance to underperform in the car. Uh, and you always wanna make sure you outperform whatever equipment you’re given. Um, and we have a 45 minute practice session, one single session throughout the entire weekend.
We had three sessions that weekend, just practice quality race. So if I didn’t go out and figure it out in the first run, then we weren’t gonna do it the whole weekend. It’s basically that
Yeah, for sure. And I love that you’re the first athlete that we’ve had on the, uh, podcast that identifies as a spacer.
So with the modern changes to how people identify, it’s nice to just add even more to the garden variety of identification classifications that exist. So, um, so you’d mentioned the team, um, you know, and obviously that’s such a huge, huge part is for you and the team to be. As for lack of cliche, lack of a better term, like almost kinda like as one, right?
Mm-hmm. You and the car is one, you and the team is one. Just everything sinks together seamlessly. Um, where were there obstacles that challenged you and your interaction with the team, and where did you find ways to kind of overcome them? I would love to hear a little bit more of like the communication and the dynamics of the team aspect of things.
Absolutely. Yeah. So I mean, at h and d Motorsports we’re probably the biggest race team you’ve ever seen in your life. I mean, we’re nine cars. It’s wild. Um, but what it also means is we have a ton of data points. Um, and it means that on a test day, we can try, you know, Five different setup options and have two cars each try it and you know, like get real reads of every different little part of the car that we wanna learn about.
Um, and it can mean that some days you’re stuck with a setup change that you don’t really wanna deal with. And other days it means that you’re learning a lot, you know, and you’re picking up a ton of new data and new understanding of different setup changes, especially with a new tire coming into what will essentially change the car.
A lot from, from a, a ground up standpoint. Um, and when it comes to obstacles, right, to be completely honest, as a team, we’ve been really strong out of the box, right? When we say like, how the car rolls off the truck, a lot of the time we’re, we’re just tickling it to get it to be, you know, comfortable for me, for my, for my liking of, of how I like to drive the car.
Um, but you know, in the gp, let’s say it was. One of the places where we didn’t, um, which was that, that weekend, two weekends ago. Um, because we rolled off the truck and I think in the first practice session we were all kind of, neither here nor there. Um, and it was just very important to sort of start working in the right direction.
Some people rolled off better, some people rolled off worse, obviously. But it was weird because we had a test, I’d say a month before, where we were all ridiculously quick. Um, and the conditions were significantly different. I mean, we were like, A second and a half off. Everyone was compared to that test, um, just because of temperatures and winds and whatever, all that sort of stuff.
Um, and you know, and, and it’s all just driver engineer communication. It’s being a unit with your engineer. Um, in this series you have your own engineer on your own car and your own mechanics and your own car. No one’s floating, no one’s working between different stuff. It’s everyone’s focused on your program, um, which is new for me.
Um, and. You just have to have that relationship with your engineers so that when you say something, they know what you mean by it. Right? Because everyone has different values. You know, if I say it’s a two outta five on Oversteer, someone else could say it’s a two outta five on Oversteer and mean the thing’s trying to kill me.
Whereas, I mean like, oh, okay. It’s a little bit like if we want to go quicker, we need to fix this. Right? Um, and me and my engineer Sarah, have have created a language that’s very, very in tune. Um, and we’re able to really understand what we’re both trying to get outta the car, even if at times. You know, the feedback is wrong from one of us, usually me because I’m the driver.
Um, like even if I say something that I don’t necessarily mean, or like, let’s say I’m talking about a specific end of the car that’s doing something I don’t want, but the reality is it’s because of something else. Serial can very quickly decode that. And get what he wants, um, out of a change. So it’s been, it’s been really good.
so now when you’re communicating in the middle of, no, so let me take it back. When you have communication in a practice session versus a qualifier versus a race, is the communication different? And is that communication with your crew chief or that’s with the engineer?
So in our series, it’s communication directly with the engineer over the radio.
So my engineer serial, he’s the one in my, in my head, uh, constantly. Um, whether that’s in a race in qualifying or in in practice, um, I’d say. So usually we have a long enough qualifying sessions to have a pit stop in this series. This year they changed it, so our qualifying sessions eight minutes long. So obviously we don’t have enough time to really do anything.
Um, but the communication’s a lot different, right? Because every team is surveying all the radio channels. Um, so if you say something like, oh, okay, well this change, and you say what you have to change, whether it’s like a whole front wing or like this spring or something like that. If you say what you changed over the radio, um, everyone can hear it.
So you’re basically just kind of giving away your secrets. Um, so a lot of the times we’re only ever reporting on car field, right? So I’ll never say over the radio, Hey, change this. I’ll say, I need a one out of five in this direction, or I need this in this part of the corner. Um, I think the big thing as a driver communicating that you really work on is like, stop talking.
And this is something that I always struggled with because I try and be very detail oriented, is stop talking about stuff that’s irrelevant for the most part. Right. Because if he asks like, oh, is the car bottoming? I’ll be like, oh, well it’s bottoming here, here and here. But none of that matters. Like we don’t need to raise the car.
It’s just bottoming there. Like it’s bottoming in this brake zone. It’s doing this. It’s not affecting the car. Yes, it’s bottoming, but what he is actually asking is, do I need to raise the car? And the answer is no. Right? And learning that sort of to discern between like give him only details in pit lane that he absolutely needs because telling him it’s bottoming in this break zone and it’s not causing an issue does nothing for him.
Like it’s no benefit to him. Right. Um, so learning how to sort of decode my feelings and like I feel like I’m very detail oriented, like learning how to decode that and give him just what’s necessary in pit lane. And then once we go back and have our debrief, like at data and everything, I can be a lot more in tune with all the little things I’m feeling out there.
I love it. Yeah, and, and it just highlights the fact that, you know, the relationship that you guys have, it, it’s really important for you guys to be, as you put it in tune with each other. Because if your version of, you know, a two outta five is different than his, that’s a big deal. You know, there, there’s gonna be a different change being made.
Now, can, can he make, are there certain changes that he as an engineer can make remotely to your car without having to pit
in? No. So we do have some things in the car that we can change as a driver and we can have that conversation over radio and make the differences, but there’s nothing he can change remotely on the actual race car itself.
Um, he has a lot of information like let’s say tire temps and tire pressures and stuff that he’s all watching live and can help him get an understanding of the car. But for the most part in pit lane, all he has to go off of is whatever I’m saying. Um, and then obviously he can download the data. But in a 45 minute practice session, how much time do you really have to download the data and go sit with your computer?
You don’t, you know. Um, so yeah, for the most part it’s just word of mouth. Um, in the car we have bars, so we have the ability to soften different, the front and rear bar, um, which the car. It depends. It really depends on the circuit, if it’s reactive to it. Um, some places like let’s say Barber for example, super high arrow, which means that we’re very, very highly sprung.
A lot of the time the bar doesn’t do a lot because the car is already so stiff, so stood up, and we have so much preload already that the bar doesn’t really, you know, it’s not reactive to it.
Hmm. Yeah, and, and it’s interesting because there’s. So many buttons on some of these steering wheels where I’m like, wow, you know, what, what should we, what should we push?
You know? Um, how many of those buttons are you actually modulating during, let’s say
a race? So in a race, um, On the steering wheel, we’ll have a button that lets us look at a relative versus our lap to lap time. So like there’s a bunch of different dash pages. We can go through some that’ll show us temperatures, pressures, uh, others that’ll just show us the lap time and then the relative, as I said, which will basically tell you if your plus or minus whatever your, your target lap time is.
Which a lot of the time can be very useful. Let’s say if you’re trying to manage a tire or something, um, or you know, or if you literally just wanna understand where the other cars are. Like let’s say I’m chasing a car down. He’s like, the car ahead did a 17,003 last lap, and my best was a 17 two. And I can see if I’m going quicker than that or slower than that, and how I’m catching him, um, as well.
Push to pass button. So we have 150 seconds of 50 extra horsepower with that button. Um, and a lot of the time, well, not every single time, we’ll time that out with our engineer. So you’ll sit down with your engineer, um, and we’ll figure out how many seconds per lap and where to use it, in what gear. Um, so a lot of the times it’s like third or fourth year.
It’s not in sixth, like down the end of the straightaway cuz the horsepower is most useful, lower down in the rev ranges to help the car get actually to that eventual, uh, mile an hour. And besides that it’s just the bars and the brake by, um, so the bars will be a setup change and the brake by a lot of the time is really just if you’re locking tires.
wow. So with the push to pass, um, you can use it anywhere on the track that you
choose. Anywhere on the track and whenever we want. Uh, there’s no, like within one second of another car. It’s none of that. It’s just whenever you want, however you want to. You just have 150 seconds in total. In total. Wow.
wild. Mm-hmm. I love that. I I was
not aware of that. Yeah, it’s interesting. Um,
so how, so what, how do you manage the whole tire tire degradation thing? I mean, that’s like a big deal, you know, um, you know, you see so many races where someone might start off strong but then they fade or you know, you start to realize that one of the probably largest.
Factors, at least in f1, which I know you don’t race f1, but there’s similarities for sure, is that, um, you know, the, the, the strategy. You know, like what, what, what tire are we gonna use? How many stops are we gonna go with this tire and do one stop? Are we gonna do this one and no stops? Or this one and two stops?
How, what’s kind of your tire management or tire degradation philosophy, or is there a specific way that you like to approach tire degradation personally, or maybe share a little bit about your thoughts on that.
So it depends a lot on the circuit. Um, some tracks are a lot more high deck than others. Um, and also depends on yellows too, right?
So somewhere like barber, we had a red, we had two yellows. Like there was almost, no, it was just a sprint race because we did so few laps kind of thing. Or Indie g we raced green the entire race long. Um, and that was on my first time going through a race that didn’t have at least three yellows because the first two races both had three or four yellows.
So it was really the first time we had to work with that. Um, And for the most part, you know, you lose grip in what we call combined load corners, um, especially on throttle. So it’s when you’re both trying to turn the car as well as get back to power. So you’re putting two different loads of the tire, basically like pulling it diagonally.
Um, and that’s where you lose the most grip, especially with a car like ours that has. A pretty harsh, turbo harsh being like it’s not very gradual. The way that the turbo kicks in, it’s very aggressive. So when you do get back to power and you’re out of the rev range for the turbo, then you get very little horsepower and then all of a sudden you pick up all this wheel spin when the turbo kicks in.
Um, and for the most part, it’s just about understanding and managing that with your right foot. It’s all on throttle that we’re struggling. We’re always struggling on the rear tire. You have very little. Ever see someone struggling with the front and the entire race along. Like if you were to go back and watch the, the Indian X race there, you just see every single car like super loose on all the exits just chasing the rear like crazy.
Um, but Phil philosophically, like honestly, I don’t have a huge concept of like how to save the tire for the most part. It’s just like understand the limit and know when you’re going over it. And I think that’s a pretty. Like subconscious thing at this level for the most part because already if you’re going over the limit, like already if you’re over driving the car, it’s slow.
It’s also bad on the tire, but it’s very slow. Um, and you kind of have an understanding of when you’re taking too much out, right? So like on a quality lap, I might just get straight back to power and deal with a little bit of wheel spin because it’s whatever. Um, but for the most part on a new tire, you’ll get straight back to power and it’ll have the grip to take that confined load and not get wheelspin come off the corner.
Whereas if in a race with full fuel, with the car being higher and everything like that, obviously you’re just gonna immediately get wheel spin. So it’s like almost the first five, 10 laps, you’re kind of testing those limits and understanding what the car will give you. And then you’re able to kind of push always to just that limit.
Because I mean, in the races we’re like three, four seconds slower than we are in qualifying because full of fuel, the cars are way higher because they’re full of fuel, so they can’t be as low to the ground. Um, and. Way lower on tire pressure, stuff like that, like the first 10 laps of the race are always horrendous.
And it looks really funny from the outside, like even watching the race back and being like, I know exactly how that feels. Like you’re just kind of sliding around all over the place, like guessing what’s gonna happen, what direction is the car gonna go, how’s it gonna react to this input? Um, so yeah, for the most part it’s, it’s getting a good read in those first couple apps to understand, cuz you never run on full fuel up until that point.
So like, you have to be able to adapt and learn very quickly.
Wow. Yeah. And I, and there’s one word that you used that I wanted to talk about that I think is a mistake that I see a lot of drivers make. You know, as a mental performance coach myself, I see people over driving. Um, what have you seen in other people you compete against?
What have you seen? Uh, as the inspiration for people to overdrive and, and how do you make sure that you’re not overdr the car lake? How do you put yourself in check? Because that’s definitely something that, you know, when you’re in that fight or flight, um, you’re in that, you know, you’ve got the sound of the engine, you know, roaring your heart rate’s up, you know, the in-car temp is whatever it is, you know, it’s through the roof.
Um, it’s, it’s very. Challenging to, to have conversations that kind of settle your nerves or, or help you make better decisions. So how, what’s, what’s kind of your angle on what you see and, and what you do when it comes to avoiding over driving?
I think what I’ve seen, and even from my own like personal experience, the time that you’re gonna overdrive the worst, oh, it’s two times, right?
So if you’re in qualifying and someone comes outta the radio and says, you need two tents. You’re gonna overdrive. Like inherently, that’s like, I think in qualifying is the biggest time where it’s easiest to overdrive. If you have an engineer in your ear being like, all right, we’re three tenths off pole, you’re P three or something, and you’re already past the peak of the tire and you just start haunting.
Right? And those are the tires you’re racing on, so you’re just gonna destroy ’em basically. Um, and then in the race, when you’re. A second, a second and a half back from a car. Um, in my series that I ran last year, USF Pro. And in the series the next, like, it’s so hard to close that last half a second because you have all the arrow wash, the car doesn’t turn, you lose the front tire.
And if you just start turning more and if you start asking the front from what, you’re just gonna destroy the front tire until the point where you get outta the air wash and you still have no front and then all of a sudden you’re at a big threat to the cars behind. Right? Um, so. Dude, those are the really, the two situations, right?
When you want more than you really have under you. Um, I honestly think I learned it mostly from carting, um, where tire temp was very important and really hard to get back. Um, just understanding that if you do overdrive, you’re never gonna get anything out of it. Um, and. Going go-karting on like a hard tire.
Uh, I remember when I was racing Rotax in like, I don’t know, I was like 14 or 15. Uh, they ran on a super, super hard tire and if you tried to drive quickly or what felt like quickly, you were ridiculously slow. And if you just sat back and barely turned the steering wheel and just let the cart do its thing, you were very quick.
Um, and it was learning from that, that like as I moved forward, understanding that a lot of the time slower is faster. Like obviously maximize the brake zone, like that’s always maximize the brake zone. Like always try and get everything out of every corner. But for the most part, like if you’re all over the place with the steering, you’re sliding the car on move, everything’s like, Really aggressive and happening very quickly, uh, and isn’t smooth.
It’s generally not quick as much as it may feel like it’s happening faster. As you said, that like fight or flight will, will kind of convince you it’s happening faster because you’re like, you feel like you’re attacking, right? There’s very few cars that that works in. Um, and that’s throughout the ranks, and you learn that very, very early on, that like if you feel like everything’s happening ridiculously fast, it’s probably slow.
That’s a great point. Yeah. And, and you know, there was something that you said that I wanted to kind of go back to and expand upon. You know, you were gave a great example of, hey, I’m in qualifying engineer says, Hey, we gotta, we gotta drop two tens. Um, to me, what. Kind of caught my attention on that is exactly what you said, which is, Hey, you know, I’ll, I might, you know, overdrive at that point because now it’s fight or flight and, um, there’s a lot of unknowns to that.
You know, wh where, where, where, where do I go to find my two tents, you know? And so I think. What a lot of athletes I work with seem to miss, um, until I get to them and I change the behavior is they don’t have enough. That there seems to be clarity, uh, a lack of clarity, rather in some of the instructions that people give us, some of the instructions we even give ourselves.
Right. Um, you know, I, I’m, I just, I just wanna make more money. Okay. What? Yeah, I just like, let’s just go grab food. Okay. Well, like, are we cooking? Are we going to a certain restaurant? Like you buy an, I buy. Like, you start to realize that. And then even my marketing background, um, even when I have a, an ad that I place on Google, you start to realize that where most people fail, Is a lack of clarity.
And so I think in that example, kind of bring it full circle. I think that the two tents is gonna start making me think, where are the two tents, which is gonna take me out of the present moment. It’s gonna make me start to wonder and think, which is slower, but wouldn’t it be a more effective strategy to, and I’m sure that you guys utilize this, but maybe people don’t, you know, to, to just offer instead, Hey, here are two places where a 10th exists.
Go, go get it. Right? Because then at least you know where it is. Um, maybe, you know, you probably already know what to do, you know, break later and, you know, turn six, uh, whatever it is. Right. Um, but it seems like clarity is underrated. Um, how do you, how do you feel about that?
Um, yeah, I mean, you’re spot on.
Like, I definitely have had times in my career where I’ve had certain engineers or certain mechanic or people in my radio saying like, You need two tents and that can be really jarring. Um, and can be really like non-useful in a way for the most part because if you just say you need two tents, you’re gonna overdrive a nine times outta 10.
Where you think you need to go quicker is probably where you’re already quick. Or at least in my experience where like the places where I feel like I’m not getting everything outta the car are usually places where I am and the places where I think I’m doing an okay job is where I need more time. Um, and a lot of the time you get that wrong, um, for a whole host of reasons.
Right. Um, But also when an engineer comes over to the radio and says, you need two tents, for the most part, you’re already trying your best, you’re already trying to get everything outta the car. And it’s not as if you’re leaving two tents on the table and them saying that is gonna make you suddenly be like, oh, okay, let me get to the limit.
Now that I’m know I need two tents kind of thing. Um, so. You know, we have in, in Indy next, and honestly in most of the road to Indy, you have this thing called race tools, uh, which is set up one of the Indy car weekends. Um, so your engineer’s sitting there looking at a screen and the screen will basically give them a projected lap time that you’re coming to do, um, as well as the best sector times of the cars that are quickest and an overall optimal lap time of the best sector of every single car combined.
So like, what’s the absolute optimal lap time in the session kind of thing. Um, and so for the most part, you know, Your engineer can come over the radio and say, all right, well, we’re, whatever we’re P two, you know, 15 from pole. Um, your, you know, 0.05 here, 0.05 there. This is where the laptop is. Just try and go, bring that deficit down a little bit, right?
Because let’s say I’m, I’m on track and I’m like, uh, the quickest in this corner by a 10th and the slowest in this corner by two tenths. You know, they’re gonna point out like, all right, let’s try and just get that deficit a bit closer to zero. Um, so he’s just looking for where’s the biggest loss and how can I maximize it the most?
And then obviously when you go to sit down after a session and look at data, we have nine cars on the team. So inherently we always have someone who’s quicker than you, or at least someone who’s done one corner better than you have. Uh, and the cars have so many, so many sensors, so many data points to, to get back from.
And we have such. Intricate computer systems to go through sectors and understand all the different little things. Um, you can be very specific with where that time loss really is, you know, so that we need two tenths, suddenly becomes completely useless, you know, obscure information that doesn’t really do anything for you.
Yeah, for sure. And
that, that’s the advantage of, of data and Yeah. And, and getting clear on and, you know, what is that data even showing, like what do we do with it? That’s, that’s gotta be an interesting. Kind of curve of learning. Learning curve is understanding like, okay, I see the data, I see this curve.
Cause you know, it’s definitely intimidating the first time you compete in, you know, I’ve competed in auto racing as well, and you know, the first time you see. These curves and the throttle curve and this and that, you’re just looking at a bunch of lines. It looks like you know, someone trying to sell you, you know, a crypto trading platform, and you’re just like, what is this?
Like, do I trade this? What do I do with this? You know? Um, and so, you know, you’re turning data into. Uh, into action, you know, and, and into, and, and getting a clear idea of what it really means. Because the other thing too is data also has to be positioned against other factors. You know, if you get data that’s acquired at, uh, You know, sea level, that data is gonna be probably different than at, at altitude, or you know, or that data is going to be different at the beginning of a race versus the end because you’ve got the variables of tire degradation.
You’ve got the variables of the amount of maybe fuel in your car at the end of the race. How do you interpret data clearly without letting these outside influences? You know, kind of paint an inaccurate picture, if you will.
You know, I think it was best said by one of my, um, well close friends now, but his name’s Jeff Kucher.
Uh, he ran the first car team I ever raced for, uh, team Pere, former 1600. And I think one of the first things that he ever told me, especially when we were working in car setup, was that everything in racing is general trends. It’s no absolutes, it’s all general trends, right? Everyone has a different solution.
They have a different way to solve this problem, and they all work for the most part. You know, this isn’t like exact math. It’s not like you’re solving general problems, right? And so when we do look at data as a team, or with me and my engineer, um, instead of looking at one data set and going, oh, we suck here.
Um, and going, okay, well that’s it. Like, that’s, that’s where that lap time is, you know, let’s say compared to one of my teammates. We’ll look at. Six cars. We’ll look at five cars. We’ll look at all the cars that are quicker than me or anything that we have that represents the time loss, and we’ll go. All right.
How are these people finding this time and how are they doing it differently than me? And then we’ll say that, oh, I thought, I thought, I thought you
gonna say, generally speaking you suck. Generally
speaking you suck. Yeah. No, but that’s exactly it. Yeah. Yeah. But that’s, but that’s exactly the point.
Like, yeah. Instead of looking at one specific car and one instance on this one lap, look through five laps, look through five different cars on five different laps. Cuz a lot of the times, like I’ve worked with drivers who are significantly slower than me. Let’s say even people I’m coaching. Who might be able to go out one lap and suddenly do one corner in a way that you think is physically impossible.
They might roll five mile an hour to this apex and somehow not fire it off into a wall. And you’re like, wow, that’s insane. How did you do that? And then you look through the rest of their race run and they never did it again, right? And so it might be one of those things where it’s like, okay, you got away with that there, but what’s the ability to actually create a lap time out of this?
How do you do it multiple times? How is it repeatable? Um, and so if you can look through a qualifying session, let’s say, You know, n Dgp for example, me, Christian Rasmussen and Kiffen Simpson, were all very close and we’re all teammates. We now have data where we can all three sit down, look at every single corner we’re doing the approaches we have, and go, okay, I’m really good here, but you’re really good there.
You know, if we can match that up, maybe we can go beat the Antti cars who are the quickest right now. Right? We’re together as a team and go, these are the three things that I’m doing. Good. These are the couple things you’re doing good. And maybe, and also on a car side, right? Because as a team, we’re very open on car setup.
I mean, we’re very, very open in general, which is awesome. Um, you can look at that general trend of, on a car side, what are you looking for from the car that I’m not, and what do I have in my car that you don’t have? And what’s enabling us to be able to get these things outta the car? Because again, going back to everything, like we’re, it’s such a high level at this point, right?
We’re one step down from IndyCar. Everyone’s so talented that for the most part, the discrepancies a lot of the time come from the car setup. And it’s not that one car is better than another. It’s that like, I drive differently than he drives. And so maybe he likes to Carla’s a lot more loose so he can get away with this in this corner.
But it means that in the high speed stuff, because I’m a lot more stable, I’m more comfortable being flat here or something like that, right? Mm-hmm. Um, so it’s a lot of give and takes, which ends up with this general trend, whereas the average No, I love
that. Yeah. That, that’s a great way to put it. And you know, it’s, it’s amazing.
Think about how many times you make decisions. Even just based on like a, a, a fleeting feeling, you know, like, oh, I just, I don’t feel like I’m gonna apply for this job, you know, or I don’t feel like I’m gonna do whatever this is. And you just, you’re letting like one data point, a specific feeling of a specific moment, have.
Too much power in the actions that you take or don’t take. And so I really like how you, how you kind of said that, you know, it’s a general trend, you know, cuz I mean, that’s one thing I deal with is, you know, feelings aren’t always facts. You know, sometimes people feel like I. They can’t do something or they feel fear, um, you know, but it, it’s, it’s fleeting, you know?
And so generally speaking, you should maybe shift your focus and shift your emotions and then start making some decisions, you know? Um, but yeah. Really interesting topic of conversation there. Now you had also mentioned that you do some training with drivers. Would love to hear. Um, what you notice, what, what are some of the, the, the most interesting, most notable things that you experience as a coach for people that are certainly not driving, you know, at your level, but, uh, what are some of the mistakes that people make more at like an entry level, uh, that you see consistently?
You know, I think honestly it’ll be a lot in your wheelhouse, but a lot of the time you’re dealing with emotion. You’re dealing with. How people feel and the way that they’re approaching it mentally. And I think as a driver coach, that’s one of the things that I focus on the most. Whether I’m working with people who are racing professionally or doing it on a race weekend, or if I’m working with people who are just, you know, for example, I work at a country club nearby that does racing and that’s like the Monticello Motor Club.
That’s what they do. And those are not people who are, you know, showing up to go racing, but they wanna learn and learn how to get better. And a lot of the time you’re dealing with. The mental aspect of it, whether that’s like being scared of going faster because of the consequences or it’s just the way that they look at racing as a whole.
Right? A lot of the time you have people who like are annoyed with themselves cause they feel like they should be quicker, something like that. Right? They see someone else do something different. And a lot of the time at Monticello or other race circuit, it’s when you’re working in more amateur series, um, There are some cars that are just quicker than others, and a lot of the time you’ll be like, that lap time isn’t achievable.
You’re looking at something that’s unrealistic. Right? Um, or, and then actually one of the other things that a lot of people struggle with the first time they get into racing, let’s say you’re doing track day stuff or whatever, um, there’s no point in spending money on mods or making your car go faster if you’re not getting everything outta your car.
And there’s a very, very low percentage of people who are getting everything outta their car. Um, and it’s worth spending money on coaching and you’ll enjoy driving more, um, actually getting the limit outta your car. Now that’s disregarding safety stuff that comes first. Um, obviously, but yeah, like you’re never, and this, and again, in your wheelhouse, this comes from just about anything in the entire world.
A lot of the time people are much more willing to throw money at a problem than throwing money at fixing themselves.
It’s so true. It’s absolutely absurd in racing how many people, especially with my motocross Supercross background, those guys will spend thousands of dollars on a motor, you know, suspension, a kit, um, all of this.
But to your point, they have haven’t optimized, um, themselves yet. And they haven’t even come close to finding the limits of the vehicle that they’re competing on, you know, and we saw that with a, a guy, I’m friends with Jerry. Robin who, who competed, I don’t know. It could have been 2006. Six, maybe. Um, or 16.
Six or 16. I think it was May 16. Anyways, he competed on a bike from 1986, I think it was, and it was epic. Like he competed against some of the best in the world and he won. Like he legit won. And it was just like, nobody really seems to talk about that, but it’s like he found the limits, uh, of that bike for sure.
But he didn’t need all this new technology, you know, he just needed a. To go at a certain mile per hour through certain areas of a track, consistently, um, and make great decisions. And he didn’t, he won. So it’s really interesting how we as humans, Um, approach problem solving approach, personal growth, um, approach being a better version of ourselves.
So very, very interesting. Um, on that note, what character trait do you feel that you possess that gives you the most benefit as a race car driver? And which character trait do you feel you could develop more to help with the same?
We’re all about asking easy questions on this show, you know, so, no, absolutely. It’s only cuz you’re smart that I can throw these at you. This is just so you know, there’s gonna be some guests coming up, which by the way, I have not booked yet, so I’m not calling anyone out. But you know, we’re maybe this style of questioning would have to be tamed down, especially those who have met a wall recently.
Uh, I appreciate that. Um hmm. I think.
Calmness, maybe like, and I, that’s like a general term for sure, but, um, I think that might be one of my strengths, um, especially in the face of adversity. Right. Um, I think throughout my career I may have, I’ve been through, I. A lot of adversity not to compare to anyone else, but I’ve definitely been through a lot of adversity.
I’ve been through a lot of struggle. Um, you know, I’ve ran with teams that are brand new and aren’t particularly like, it’s not like I’m only racing with the best of the best. Um, you know, I’ve worked with people who are brand new to the sport. On a team side, um, and stuff like that, money struggles, all these different things.
Um, and I think for the most part, just being able to compartmentalize, um, what’s going wrong outside of the car and being able to get in the car and perform regardless of, you know, whatever mental struggles I’m in outside of the car. And, you know, I mean, honestly, yeah, like that’s probably my biggest strength is just being able to set aside my issues and get into the race car and do my job.
Which is to get everything I can out of it. Um, but what do I struggle with the most? Um, I think there’s still a mindset thing there. Um, and I think there always has been a mindset thing, um, in a way that I’ve worked very, very hard to get rid of. Um, and, you know, I did see, I saw Jacque Daire, um, who’s very well known in the, in the world of Motorsports.
Um, and, and he helped me a ton. And it was probably the biggest. Let’s say uptick In my career, the biggest improvement for me was, is actually getting a mental coach and working on that side. Um, but you know, for the most part, like, I definitely still have struggles where it’s like, man, am I gonna get in the race car and be able to perform?
Am I gonna be good enough? Um, a lot of the, you know, can I, or will I be able to perform at the level that I’m so used to performing at? And as you move up the ranks, that gets worse and worse because that, you know, 0.5% at the sharp end of the field is so much harder to find. Right? Because the, the level gets, you know, if we’re talking about, I don’t know, barber, like a 10th puts you from anywhere from, you know, second to 15th, right?
It was like if you did a bad job, if you blinked wrong on your lap, you sneezed. Like you were a mile behind where you want it to be. And it’s such a small margin at this level. It’s one of the most competitive series in the, in the world right now because like, There’s so much talent, so many big names, and like for you to actually get into the top five and race there is really, really hard.
Um, and every time you get in the race car, especially when you’re at a circuit that you might not be particularly comfortable with, or in the past, you know, you felt like you struggled with, um, there is some amount of doubt. And I think that, yeah, that doubt is probably my, the biggest place that I can continue to improve.
And I think I’ll always be able to improve a bit. Um, you can always, there’s a reason that the. The majority of the most talented sporting athletes are really cocky and it’s cuz you need to be. Um, and I don’t think I’m cocky enough at this point.
Interesting. I love that. And, and I think that the term cocky gets, um, it, it, it gets misinterpreted.
Yeah. You know, I think people don’t realize that, you know, if you’re truly confident and you walk with like a strut and you carry yourself a certain way, um, I don’t know. I, I, I have chosen to. Not even sometimes even label people as cocky, cuz I’m just like, they’re just really, really confident, you know?
And it’s like, should there be a point where you have so much confidence that it should all of a sudden now be labeled something negative? You know? And it’s interesting because, um, You know, the confidence is, is obviously like the, the kind of like the antonym, if that, if that’s the right term of, of self-doubt, right?
Mm-hmm. It’s the opposing force. So, um, it’s interesting and, you know, with confidence, what I’ve come to realize is that confidence is sometimes as simple as saying you’re gonna do something and doing it, you know, and, and I think where you can really. Kind of hack for, cause people like hacks, even though it’s not really a hack and it takes a lot of work, but people like that term, if you wanna hack confidence, um, come up with some micro tasks that you can do every day, you know, I’m going to, and, and a lot of them should be on how you do things, right.
So I’m gonna go to the gym today and I’m gonna be super focused. Okay, go do that. Right. Um, don’t bring your phone, don’t get distracted. Some good-looking person walks by like, you don’t even see them. Like, you don’t care, like you are. So you, you’re so focused on your workout that, that that’s all that matters.
And then you leave and you’re like, I said I was gonna do something and I did it. You know? Cause if you think about what doubt is, doubt is not being sure of something right? Or, or yourself. Right? So you’re not sure well, You could be pretty sure of yourself. If you say you, you’ve done a thousand things and you’ve gone out and done them, it’s really hard to doubt yourself at that point because what you say is what you do.
So what are you gonna go do? Well, I’m gonna go out and win this thing. Okay, then go do that. Like there, there’s no room for doubt, right? So it’s interesting how, um, self-doubt comes in and, and confidence, and I like that you had the courage to use the word cocky and realize that, hey, it’s really not that bad of an, of a place to go.
Because to your point, that’s something, you know, like lick bax for staffing or Louis Hamilton, like these guys, you know, they’re not too humble. So, you know, do you have to be humble? Is that, is that the new way to respect, oh, I want someone who’s humble, eh, maybe not in racing, you know? Yeah. Um, I don’t know if there’s a place for it in racing, um, to, to, to an extent there is, right?
If you’re leading a championship by 70 points and you’re making all the great decisions at that point, maybe, you know, don’t disrespect the other drivers, right? But, um, I’d love to hear what, when you worked with your mental coach, what were the biggest takeaways that you can recall that had the biggest impact on you?
Because you said it was the biggest uptick in your career. What were the, what were the things that contributed to
that uptick? I mean, to first start off, I was in like a horrible place when I really got into that program and started working. Um, and I had a driver coach who was really good to notice that that was really where the struggle was coming from, if that makes sense.
Um, and. Yeah, I mean, I came out of a season that was a much bigger struggle than it should have been. And it’s not the sort of thing you want that earlier in your career. Um, especially when AI wasn’t cocky. I was very humble. I mean, that’s not trying to like, you know, burst my own bubble, but, um, I was very humble and I was not confident.
At all. And I was relying a lot weekend to weekend on the results that I was able to achieve to keep that up. Now that was a hundred percent doable at that point in my career, cuz in 1600 I’d win a race every weekend. I’d be on the podium every other weekend, right? Um, and then in the US F 2000, I started the season off straight outta the boat with.
Two podiums. And I was like, okay. So we’re definitely, like, I am as talented as everyone keeps saying I am. Um, and then we started having mechanical issues and then things started going south and the performance just wasn’t there anymore. Like it just disappeared. Um, and then after that season I was super in my head and wasn’t able to get the result that I should have been getting.
Um, and that I believe that I should have been able to get back. Then looking back on it, um, And that was when, you know, the whole mental coach thing was really at its most useful. To me it isn’t that, Hmm. I mean, in a way it was like a root to finding your own confidence to being able to tell yourself, yeah, okay, I can do this.
And not just tell yourself that to actually believe it and to steer yourself in the direction of this is something that is achievable. And it’s not that every time I get in the race car and I win, I’m. Lucky that it happened. I’m doing a good job and I’m performing at a high level and it’s happening because I’m putting the work in to make it happen and to be able to believe that, um, I think for a long time I really didn’t.
I had that like inherent thing inside me that was telling me I’m not working hard enough. And I’d always end up in a state of burnout where it was like, I’m not working hard enough. And then I get to a point where I can’t work any harder and then I burn out and then I take a week off or something like that because I just, I can’t, like I’m stuck in my own little box.
Right. Um, and it’s something you see a lot for sure. Um, and then, and that’s really tiring. And in a way it makes you hate whatever you’re doing because it feels like. No matter how hard I work, I always end up burnt out and I never get the results I want. And you’re inherently pushing yourself further and further away from that result you want because of what you’re doing to yourself.
Um, and I think what that program did for me was sort of allowed me to take a step back from that loop that I, that cycle that I stuck myself in, understand what I was doing and how to rectify it and how to have that cool head on a race weekend and that comfort of. All right. Yeah. Maybe that wasn’t the best session I’ve ever had.
That sucked. And instead of like sitting there and questioning if I’m good enough to be doing what I’m doing, going back with my engineer and going, okay, that sucked. Why did that suck? And why can, how can we make it so it doesn’t suck as bad the next time we go out? Right. Um, and that, that was the biggest change was just every single time I had a horrible session, I came in and I went, all right, well I’m sure there’s a bit in me, a bit in you talking to my engineer, uh, and let’s just go find it and change the weekend and.
From there on out. Like if you looked at my Indie Pro season, there are probably two races that I started that I finished lower than where I started, bar, whatever DNFs I had. Um, every race we moved forward. Whenever we started on pole, we finished there. Um, you know, it was like then a hundred percent belief in myself that I can go out and get the job done.
And it wasn’t like, oh, I was lucky there to be able to qualify on pole, you know, I was lucky there to be able to, it was always like, All right, I’m gonna go out, I’m gonna do a drop. And if I said I’m gonna get a podium, I’m gonna go get a podium. But I also was very careful with when I said it right. I said it in times where I was like, we have a great race car and I think we’re gonna be able to go get a podium.
You know? Um, and I think all that stuff I. All that stuff adds up for sure. But as, and again, I already, I said earlier like, what can I work on? It’s still the self-doubt. It, it is still that whole program and it’s, it is still something that definitely haunts me on race weekends for sure. I definitely still have times where I’m like, man, am I really, like, I get in the race car and I’m like, man, can I do this?
Like, am I really good enough to do this? Um, and it’s still something I’m trying to get rid of.
Yeah. And you know, there’s one thing that I coach called that, that fits in with this, and it, I, I use it a lot with student athletes. It’s basically a, a picture of this illustration of a knot, like a, a knot, like a, that you would have if you had a.
Like for a boat, you know, but it’s all crumpled up in, you know, it’s kind of a mishmash of moving around the, the rope in different ways. And so in, in between there’s these two eyes, kind of like BD eyes kind of sticking out. And I call it the, maybe, maybe not, not. And so, you know, cuz I gotta make things memorable for somebody of my younger people.
So I use this, but it’s funny cuz it, it, it, it actually, I use it all the time. I created it for my athletes and then I found myself like, I’m gonna steal this thing all the time. Because if you think about it, um, the next time you doubt yourself, you know, are you gonna do well or are you gonna do poorly?
Or like, let’s say you say, Hey, am I gonna win this thing? Am I gonna podium, eh, maybe. Maybe not, you know, and it just starts to, to invite a level of compassion and a level of like, yeah, maybe you will, maybe you won’t. It also invites a little bit of acceptance, right? It’s accepting a. Either outcome or result A or result B.
Maybe I will. Okay, great. Maybe I won’t. Okay, great. You know, because to your point, if you don’t get the result you want, it’s because you didn’t have the right input or preparation that was required to get the result. If you. Cook your chicken parm. Uh, it is supposed to be cooked at four 50 for 20 minutes, and you put it on five 50 for 60 minutes.
You know your inputs were off. It ain’t gonna taste as good. You know, like it’s that simple. The inputs oftentimes match the outputs, but what we don’t realize is that. Hey. It just was the wrong input. That’s all it was. And so, like you said, if you invite some curiosity into it, now all of a sudden you could be curious about where that input was off and then you change the result.
So I love it. And, um, so Josh gr as we, we did do this podcast before, but, um, or at least we attempted to, and there was a technical difficulty. First of all, I just wanna thank you for your time to jump back on. And do this with me cuz I really truthfully did enjoy our chat our first time. So I really just wanted to take a moment to thank you very much for your time.
Um, I know it’s valuable and, and I appreciate it. And if anyone wants to reach out to you and watch some of those cool videos I was mentioning to learn more about the sport or maybe even just, uh, you know, follow your career and or maybe even reach out to you to cut you a check for a hundred thousand to sponsor you for half a weekend.
Um, where, where, where can people find you?
Uh, it’s at Josh’s racing on Instagram, TikTok, and uh, Twitter. And then my website’s josh king racing.com. And thank you for having me, and I really appreciate it, and I also appreciated the chat for sure. All right, take care, Josh. Thank you very much. See you later.