You don't always have to Win

Cruz in Houston

A few weeks ago we saw what will most likely be the drag racing wheel stand that everyone talks about for years, maybe even decades to come. While that image of the Snap-on backed Toyota Camry of Cruz Pedregon is etched in most of our minds, that pass came at a cost. What happens though we losing isn't really losing? 

In drag racing, the objective every single time down the track is to get to the stripe first and turn on the win light, and do it round after round until you are holding the trophy and check on Sunday night. In Cruz's case, though he won the round, he wasn't able to come back out for round two, which means he didn't collect that trophy or that check. Did he really lose though? 

The first round pass by Cruz where the car went onto it's back tires for over 800 feet and crossed the stripe ahead of his opponent Robert Hight while still on the back tires. The car came down hard enough to cause damage to the chassis, and Cruz wasn't exactly 100% after that either. So when round two came about and he couldn't make it back, most would see that as a losing weekend. That is until you look at the aftermath of doing something, whether intentional or not that leaves an indelible mark on people's memories.

Right after the event happened we knew that this was going to be a moment that no  drag racing fan will ever forget. Within minutes you saw Cruz and pictures of the wheel stand all over social media. You couldn't go anywhere on the internet without seeing it. What a lot of people miss in all of that is the amount of publicity that comes along with something like that.

There are only a handful of single car teams in the Nitro Funny Car ranks. Cruz, Chad Head, Tim Wilkerson, Jeff Diehl, and some others. This usually means that you don't get the airtime, resources, and other things that you would get if you were a Force or DSR team. So when something dramatic happens, you learn to capitalize on it. When you think of a wheel stand in drag racing now, the first thing you are thinking of is the flying Snap-on Camry in Vegas.  

Let's look at the numbers. If you go to YouTube and the NHRA channel you will find video of the wheel stand and it's already gotten over 895,000 views, which for those in the industry already know are big numbers. That doesn't include the photos, other videos, memes. etc. So this really is a prime example of when losing is actually winning.

In the media driven society that we live in today, it's important to realize how to build off of singular moments in time. The wheel stand was a singular moment in time that is now part of drag racing history. So my words to all drivers and teams, when it goes up, goes boom, or anything that can be defined as a moment, take advantage of that moment. It can become the best publicity you will ever get.