Track Talk With V. Gaines
As racer V. Gaines headed into the end of his 10th anniversary season with Team Kendall, he reflected upon his partnership with Kendall Motor Oil as well as his season and offered other drivers a few pearls of wisdom. After hitting a hot streak this season, Gaines entered the championship, also known as the Final Countdown, looking strong and extremely optimistic about the remaining races.
“We have great advantages, including a supportive sponsor and a strong car that is run with the superior protection of Kendall Motor Oil, so we’re the ones to beat,” said Gaines. “We’ve been qualifying really well, so the challenge is for us to concentrate on our Sunday races [the final races of a typical two- or three-day series] and let the competition try to beat us instead of us trying to beat them.” As Gaines explained, he has the car, the engine, the oil, and an understanding of the track and conditions … but so do many of the other impressive drivers out there, who are competing within thousandths of a second of each other. In the end, it’s a dogfight until someone takes the title—and Gaines wants to be that someone this year.
When looking back at his 20 years of competitive racing, 10 of which have been with Kendall Motor Oil, Gaines thinks he and his team took the right path from the beginning. In the infancy of their careers, they didn’t try to do it all themselves. Instead, they purchased their motors from extremely experienced engine builders, who taught Gaines and his crew the craft of making an engine. Gaines’ team eventually began building their own motors, but it was only after they absorbed the skill and experience of others. It’s this learn-from-doing perspective that has served the racer well.
“If I had to offer one tip for other drivers looking to move up the class ranks, I’d say that we all learn from experience—especially our mistakes,” explained Gaines. “Don’t dwell on mistakes as a negative, but use them to make yourself better. Only through falling down can we improve ourselves, which is very important in racing. There isn’t an instructional manual for what to do on the track—you have to live it.”