All Over the PlaceMonday, December 23, 2013
Posted by: Leah Pritchett, Dote Racing

It has been well over a week, and some of you may be wondering where my second blog is? Well, as I stated in my previous writings, it is the off season, but what I did not mention was my upcoming, now completed travels. As I write this portion now, approximately 35,000 feet high in the air, my husband and I are returning from our honeymoon in St. Lucia.

Although I would consider myself a professional suitcase packer, this trip was quite different and did not include five pairs of black pants, black socks, black shoes, black polos, and black tanks, like my typical trip. As you can imagine, our Oakley suitcases were expertly loaded to the maximum. Competitive in our nature, we like to see who can get closest to the 50 lbs. weight limit first before we check it with our own luggage scale. Winner gets the awesome prize of bragging rights. We traveled over 2,500 miles one way to the small island of St. Lucia below the equator, where to our surprise drag racing had a presence. Well, at least on TV, as we watched Frank Manzo win the NHRA Finals in Pomona on the television in our room.

Drag racers are not known for their slow pace, and although we were disconnected (mostly) from our motorsport world, we definitely were not idle. Among our multiple adventures of zip lining, volcanic mud baths, natural hot springs, jet skiing, playing volleyball, and emerging ourselves in the St. Lucian culture, scuba diving was the highlight of them all. Although I am not PADI certified, I have previously dived multiple times before, including a shipwreck, and wanted Gary to share this experience with me, as he had never been before. After a couple short learning courses we embarqued on a couple of 60’ deep dives over an hour long each. Although the drag racing world and scuba diving are complete opposites, one similarity I encountered was a foggy mask, in which I used Dawn dishwashing soap to eliminate the fog, just as I do on my Simpson drag race helmet before each run.

Beyond the beautiful underwater wildlife we saw, including seahorses, sea turtles, lion fish and touching the oh-so-squishy sea urchins, the technique of diving is what ultimately interests me. You learn to be responsible for your own breathing, equipment, monitoring gauges, weight, buoyancy, mask fog, and decompression. It is safe to say the next vacation trip we take will included some more scuba diving.

There is a lot of catch up after being absent for a week. Since my return, we have finalized the Dote Racing team logo, which I am excited to reveal here on the NHRA blog.

If it seems that this blog is all over the place, that’s because I am all over the place! It’s no secret that Indianapolis has a cold and white winter, but every year for the IMIS, or now PRI show, the temperatures insist on dipping into the single digits. The Dote team and I attended the first day of the show together. This was the first year combining the IMIS and PRI shows together, so there were a substantial amount of vendors. Earlier in the week, while interviewing with Joe Castello for WFO radio, he asked what my strategy for PRI was, I answered that for the first time in many of my trade show attending years, I did not have a set agenda. In the past, I had been steadfast searching for the right marketing person to speak with at each interested company, but this year was different. I took my opportunity of attending PRI for those two days to simply reconnect with current and former contacts, and most importantly give thanks to our current sponsors and their representatives.

This past week has been extremely busy for me, working with Rod Burke, graphic designer, and Ryan Korek, custom painter, on finalizing the paint scheme of the race car, and matching the colors to the trailer graphics, awning side, golf carts, and logo variations that are currently being updated. The dragster body is being painted at this time by Korek Designs, and will make its debut at the West Palm Beach test session. It is no secret that we are a small operation, with our main focus being our performance on the track. Therefore, when it comes to projects like trailer wraps and such, I become the quote shopper, looking for the best value with the best price. Because the shop is based in Monroe, OH and I live in Avon, IN, we have the benefit of having additional vendors to choose from. This week I have been at the shop every other day, with each day totaling five hours of drive time, so I do my best to schedule the physical racing related tasks for days at the shop, and fulfill the digital responsibilities from the home office.

Although this is just my second blog, it is another first for me in many ways, as I now write this section from the passenger seat of our car as we travel from Indy to Cincinnati for my first Dote Racing Christmas dinner. I’m looking forward to seeing my coworkers outside of the track and shop, but will be missing a few of our members, as they have full time jobs elsewhere and live in different states across the country. I already informed them that they will be missed, and we will just have to eat their steaks and ice cream for them.

In the meantime I will do my best to update blogs with any breaking or exciting information (plus you can follow me on Twitter, @LeahPritchettTF, and Instagram, @LeahPritchett_TF). Please enjoy a Merry Christmas and great and safe New Year.