Monday, October 22, 2018

Born Racer Movie Review

When you are as good at something as Scott Dixon is at racing, you don't magically become that good at some point, you are born that way.

That's why Born Racer is a perfect title for the movie that followed the five-time IndyCar champion and 44-time IndyCar winner through the 2017 season.

Starting with his pole position and horrible crash at the 2017 Indy 500, and literally fading to black the last time he walked off the track to close out that season, the movie is an outstanding look behind the curtain of one of the greatest open wheel drivers in history and the team that has helped propel him to all of his championships and all but one of his wins.

I won't give away any spoilers, I'll just say that this was a really freaking good movie. It wasn't as mind-blowing as say, Senna, but it is the perfect match to Dixon's personality. The movie was calm, passionate, calculated, determined -- all in all it captured who the man is and how he has been able to position himself as a Rushmore-level driver on the track.

As a long-time IndyCar fan, I didn't really learn anything new about Scott Dixon, but to talk about what makes him successful, and to actually see it are two different things. We know the guy is all-in -- he has been his whole life -- but to see the dedication he puts towards his craft just solidifies why he is who he is.

Dixon's life and success is built on a synergy and a balance between himself and the people around him who are tasked with putting him in a position to succeed. It's almost like a glacier, we know what he does when he gets in the car every weekend, but that's just the tip of it. The rest that sits underwater is 90 percent of the gig.

Like a starting pitcher in baseball, the four days between his starts are just as vital and important to his success as the fifth day when he gets the ball and goes to work. That's part of Dixon's brilliance: he has figured out a balance between his family and his job, he knows how to compartmentalize and when each task in his life needs to be executed.

That synergy starts at home with his wife, Emma, and extends to the people of Ganassi Racing. As a former elite athlete herself, she knows when he needs to be pushed and when to give him space, all the while walking the racing spouse tightrope between letting them follow their passion, and the fear and the constant worry that you are going to be the "next one".

The movie also spends a lot of time focusing on the team, and what needs to be done to get Scott (and then-teammate Tony Kanaan) on the track each weekend. The working relationship between Dixon, Chip Ganassi and Mike Hull is very reminiscent of the relationship that Rick Mears shared with Roger Penske during his driving career (and that Hull and Ganassi had with Dario Franchitti). It's that combination of and elite-level driver and elite-level personnel that makes everything work.

One thing the movie shows is that at the end of the day, success is a complete team effort. I'll explain more about my observations of professional sports on my podcast this week, but the success of a team is everyone doing their job and being accountable for it. Understanding their role and how that role affects the well-being of everyone else.

It leads to a lot of emotional highs and lows, and we see all of that in the movie. Racing lends itself to passion and emotion, which we see as the team absolutely pours everything it has into each race weekend. By the end of the movie, you will be pretty invested in all of it as well.

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