Sunday, August 08, 2010

"Blog Extra August 8, 2010"

When reading Jim Donnelly's collaboration with Don Miller (retired VP Penske Racing South), I wasn't expecting to find out much more than what he did with Penske and the full fendered cars.

The book ("Miller's Time A Lifetime at Speed, Coastal 181 Publishing opened a window into the life of someone who changed the way drivers in all of auto racing make money. For it was Miller, working with Roger Penske, who put together what today would be looked at as a tiny trailer with what at the time was called "trinkets and trash" and discovered a revenue stream that, today insures racing drivers in all series a comfortable income--that is, of course the souvenir trailer. Miller was a drag racer of some repute, but was an even more effective marketer and builder of relationships. His relationship with the Captain's long time PR whiz Dan Luginbuhl, and what those two men would do to get the job done, were crucial to the success of Penske Racing.

Miller and Donnelly didn't sugarcoat the incident at Talladega in 1974 which cost Miller's right leg, and left him with injuries that plagued him through the years. Those would have sidelined a less dedicated person.

The most interesting facet of this book is the relationship building; not just those with Roger Penske, the Goodyear tire people, sponsors, drivers, media and fans--it includes the relationship he built, and maintains with Pat, his wife of some 48 some years. Some were fruitful, others not so much.

The net proceeds from this book are pledged to help fight child abuse and neglect in the Carolinas, which is reason enough to buy it. The other is for the window that Miller and Donnelly opens into the world of big time stock car racing.

We'll also link to Coastal181 (who's published books with Ken Schrader and the racing equivalent of the Eveready Energizer Bunny, Kenny "Herman" Wallace) from our listener page. That link is .

Now more comments.

If a person or organization has built a relationship on openness and candor, then it causes the parties in the relationship--be they customers, fans, employees, contractors or competitors--cognitive dissonance when the first party in the relationship backs away from the openness and candor, and begins to suppress that in the name of protecting the "brand" or "relationship" (Our Twitter page says we tweet for thinkers; we've always blogged that way, and encourage you to research cognitive dissonance). Hint: it concerns perception and reality and the differences between what you think, and what really is.

If a party to a relationship backs away from candor, or punishes it, it begs some questions:

  1. Can the relationship ever regain full trust?

  2. What is the other party hiding?

  3. Is the relationship mutually beneficial, or is the other party trying to exert unfair control over the other party, when confronted with a show of equal power?

Let me state for the record that NASCAR is a private organization, and can do or say anything they please that is legal--and will most likely continue to do so. Their past history shows that they like to have a "gotcha" sanction and vague hammer that they can hold over the independent contractors who drive and compete in their series (Rule 12-A actions detrimental to stock car racing, and the absolute lack of specificity in all but the construction of the cars that compete in its series).

One does not build trust for the long run by having "gotcha's" in a relationship, be it personal or business. When Moses came down from the mountain with the Ten Commandments, there were no vague clauses--just simple, measurable, definable rules on a tablet for all to see.

NASCAR--get back to being Moses, and not a Pharisee.

Comments are welcomed, and moderated for propriety, grammar and length. The best ones may be mentioned on a future "Race-Talk" program.