Q: “Let’s say you’re scheduled to compete at a track you’ve never been to before. What are some “best practices” to exercise in the weeks/days leading up to race weekend? How do you prepare to compete at a new track? Do your expectations change in respect to how competitive you expect to be?”
A: Your final question is the most challenging and interesting. Expectations are critical, so getting clear on whatever they are is something you should spend time on. I can’t tell you what your expectations should be, but I can tell you that you should know what they are before you go to a new track to compete. Having said that, I would strongly suggest that an expectation – and goal – of learning would be a great one. In other words, your objective is simply to learn, and then when you get there you focus entirely on learning the most in the least amount of time. When you learn more, you improve more, and are more likely to get the best results. If you go there with the expectation and objective of winning, for example, often a driver gets “tight” and makes more mistakes, and doesn’t perform as well. There is research saying that your goals should be a small stretch – about a 5% stretch beyond what you think is achievable. Less than that and you probably won’t perform at your best; more than that and it’s too much and you’ll struggle.
As for the technical skills and approach to learning a new track, I have a free eBook all about that topic – you can download it at https://speedsecrets.com/ebooks/. And I have an in-depth webinar available for download at https://speedsecrets.com/webinars/. I think these will answer most every question you have about that part of the best practices of learning a new track.