If you go into nearly any form of competitive racing and look at the top drivers in their field, you will find that 99.9% of them are all experts at the “Art of forgetting.” What do I mean by this? Well let me explain a bit. I was at the track at a race recently and someone walked up to me and asked “How does RACER X recover so quickly and get right back on pace after that huge mistake?” My response was somewhat of an inside joke… I said he’s already forgotten about that mistake, he has the memory of a goldfish (yes this is a joke). This may or may not be true but if you can manage your short term memory and prioritize a mistake for a “think about it later” moment you will go faster if you make a mistake.
I practice this myself. I literally mean practice because there are times where this technique simply doesn’t work. This is often the case when you’ve had “help” with your error or mistake. I’m pretty good about this if I make my own mistake, but trust me it’s taken time. Watch the top pro guys at your track, they seem to get right back to full race pace. They don’t overly push or try to make up for that mistake. If you make a 2 second mistake and you’re already rotating around the track at Tq pace laps, do you really think you can sneak 2 seconds out of a hero lap? No, you can’t. The top pro guys know this. They’re patient; they work the track over for 10 laps if they made a 2 second mistake pushing for an extra tenth or two per lap. It’s that patience and art of forgetting that allows them to compartmentalize that mistake for later review.
Mistakes are likely and at times just part of the race. Whether you make them yourselves, or you’re in a class that is dicey and filled with close and fast competition. If you make a mistake, forget about it as quick as you can, move on. Don’t dwell on it during a race; you don’t have time for that. If you’re thinking about the mistake on the last lap, you’re not focusing on the current lap, and you will likely make another mistake.
So learn the “Art of forgetting” and practice it. This goes for qualifying and racing, anytime you’re on the clock. Some of the biggest races are doing the fastest consecutive 3 laps to seed you in qualifying such as the Reedy Race of Champions which is happening nw. This “art” always applies.
My last bit of advice; be a good clean racer. We’re all racing for the win; we’re all racing for the enjoyment and fun of it. If you get into someone, do the right thing and give them the spot back, even if this costs you 4 spots in return. Sportsman ship is like Karma, it will come back to. We all have made a pass that we thought our car would fit into the space of, and it didn’t. So make it right, you’re fellow racers will appreciate it now, and remember it later when the rolls are reversed. Trust me.