Team performance is often what makes or breaks small or large businesses. Managers can become so consumed in the mechanics of the business that they forget the people that are driving it. Often the best way to success is not to focus on employees as individuals, but as members of a team that tackles critical assignments as effectively as possible.
In the sport of drag racing, the concepts are no different as the success of a rider rests in the cohesiveness of the crew members and their implicit attention to deal. Each crew member has a job that he or she does on the bike to get it right in between rounds during qualifying and eliminations. Any disruption in this harmonious process could hurt the team, which could be more costly than just losing a round of racing.
A rider can be likened to a quarterback and the crew members can be compared to the offensive line. Just as a quarterback is only as good as the offensive line in front of him, a rider’s crew is that figurative offensive line that must be focused, working toward one common goal if the team is to have success. At the Man Cup World Finals, it was fascinating to see Top Fuel Motorcycle crew members work with such precision, all while working in confined spaces.
With that in mind, what ingredient is required for a team’s collective performance to result in consistent victories?
Team chemistry, while an ingredient that is hard to define, is extremely apparent when it’s absent. Some fans might scoff at the importance of having a close-knit team. Talent obviously is essential, but team performance is based on the outcome of the entire team, not on the work of individuals.
Consider the Trim-Tex/Pingel-backed team of 20-time Top Fuel Motorcycle Champion Larry “Spiderman” McBride.
McBride, coupled with his brother and Crew Chief, Steve McBride, has been racing nitro-burning motorcycles for over 40 years. Crew members Roland Stuart and Chuck Stuart have been with the McBride brothers for more than 20 years with their newest member, Charles Lynch; who has been involved with the team for three years.
While observing the Trim-Tex/Pingel Top Fuel Motorcycle team back in November at the Man Cup World Finals, their chemistry stood out. The sense of family being around guys was easily felt. Most importantly, they worked together like a well-oiled machine. It was clear that they have a clear understanding of what each member brings to the team and they work to maximize the strengths of the collective group.
“Oh, it’s 100 percent the reason why we are successful as we are,” Stuart said. “Me and Steve get along well and understand each other. Obviously, me and dad (Roland Stuart) are on the same page. As neurotic as Larry can be, he’s like my second dad so we all clash but at the same time mesh. Larry will tell you whenever [**] goes down and they’re like, ‘we ain’t gonna make the round.’ I’m like, ‘Get outta the way. It’s just bolted. Let’s fix it and make it.’ One time we were first out in qualifying in Valdosta we had a pulley fall off during the burnout. After pushing Larry back, I immediately ran to the trailer got all the parts and tools ran back while they cleared the motor and we put the new pulley on and were able to run at the end of the session.”
Drag racing is a team sport full of individual battles. But without team chemistry, members can end up arguing over project details rather than working to find solutions. When everyone feels as though they’re making progress toward something important and worthwhile, it creates an enormous sense of satisfaction and team unity. This, in turn, breeds sustainable success.
Article by Dujunnea Bland
For all the continued support McBride thanked his primary sponsors; Trim-Tex Drywall Products, Pingel Enterprise, Drag Specialties-Parts Unlimited, Final Swipe Merchant Services, Web-Cam, APE, Donnie and Julie Wilson and Kibblewhite Precision Machining.
Vance & Hines Motorsports, Red Line Synthetic Oil Corporation, Federal Mogul, PR Factory Store, Ferrea Valves, World Wide Bearings, Vanson Leathers, Belt Drives Ltd, Simpson Race Products, Nitrous Express, EK Chain, Arias Pistons, Cometic Gaskets, B&J Transmission, Carolina Cycle, L.A. Sleeve, PJ1, Mickey Thompson Tires, Valco, Goodridge, Carlisle Belts, ProJack, Bullseye Visual, Gates Belts and Cycledrag.com