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Zachary Foster

Professor R. Arnold
Writing 1101
14 September 2015

Becoming literate in a certain area takes time and focus. There are different levels of
literacy and the level of literacy is dependent on the amount of interest in a topic someone has
and the amount of willingness one has to obtain more knowledge in that specific area. For me,
however, I am at a higher level of literacy in the sport of auto racing. Racing has been a part my
life since I was born and I became interested in racing as soon as I was able to comprehend what
racing was. I have increased my literacy in racing over the years by being introduced to different
aspects of racing and people involved in the sport. Being as literate as I am today was a process,
which included me being observational, experimental, and attentive. My sponsor(s) of literary
and my personal experiences have significantly increased my interest in racing and my racing
knowledge. Experimenting in the go-kart myself as well as receiving advice from my sponsors
and peers were important to understanding the racing challenges and skills needed to be
successful. The process to becoming more literate was similar to stepping stones. Every piece of
information has the potential to be important at some point and the information connects to other
pieces of information. Whether the information was learned through my personal observations or
given to me by a peer or mentor, it increased my level of literacy and improved my skills on the
track.
My personal experiences of racing include being present at the variety of professional
race tracks and racing go-karts in a formal and informal manner. As I increased my literacy, I
became more motivated to improve my skills, physically and mentally. However, the more

motivated I became, the more frustration that came along with it. The physical skills that I
aspired to improve on would frustrate me, of course, since I could not get them on point. I
seemed to have a natural talent for racing and was a quick learner, normally achieving objectives
in my first attempt, but the goals I could not achieve, even with multiple attempts, would bring
frustration and a little bit of discouragement. For example, in go-kart racing, the tracks are
similar to a road course, which requires certain skills to maintain and/or increase speed. The
angle and speed in which one must enter and exit the turn is crucial to the amount of speed one
has after exiting the corner, which affects overall time and, more importantly, the distance
between opponents. My frustration would come from not being able to enter a turn at the correct
angle at maximum speed. Not being able to execute this combination in, not just in one single
turn, but in multiple turns equals a loss. Accuracy is vital in every race, similar to other sports.
Accuracy is ultimately the main goal and is what I have always been improving on, but failure is
always present. I have always enjoyed the challenge and knowledge that could be learned from
attempting and achieving new objectives, but continuous failure becomes repetitive and
frustrating after a while. A specific time in which I failed an abundance of times was during an
attempt at a new track. Even though I had experience at other tracks, learning every detail of a
new one resulted in many failures. The first practice I participated in was extremely sloppy. In
every turn I slid outside of the groove, the preferred line the racer drives, and lacked speed. The
challenge to perfect a new track is entertaining, but frustrating. Overcoming this challenge was
an achievement that motivated me to become more literate in racing, even though failures
occurred often.
Along with the physical skill, the mental skills were also needed to expand my literacy.
One mental skill I have improved on is thinking. Having the ability to think ahead and anticipate

every action that will be made, while under pressure, has improved my skills. Even though I was
content with the execution side, my racing was not complete without thinking. I became more
literate after learning about the mental skills required to be successful in racing. Thinking ahead
and understanding the situation that I am placed in is important so that I can react accordingly.
Also, the focus and determination is required to become successful in winning races effectively
without any errors. I learned these skills through experimenting in the drivers seat, observing
others on the track, and by acquiring advice from peers.
I have obtained more knowledge in racing from observing the professionals as well as
racing with them. One example that sticks out in my mind would be when I raced with a
professional by the name of Joey Logano. I was at the intermediate stage of my literacy when I
had the opportunity to race with Joey. While racing against him, I would watch his hands, feet,
and his kart and took mental notes simultaneously. I experimented with the new information I
received and attempted to adjust his driving style to mine. Afterwards, I spoke with him and took
any advice he had and, later, I utilized those tips to hopefully improve my skills. He explained
extra subtleties that could be done with the kart itself and his success he has had over the years of
racing. His early years of racing related to early years of racing. The conversation was brief,
however, the connection of similar racing backgrounds allowed me to connect to his advice. This
inspired me to remain determined and continue improving on my skills. This was one experience
I had that increased my literacy in racing. During that time, I knew there was more to learn, but
did not realize what there was to improve on until observing and speaking with someone else.
Also during the time in my literacy stage, I had the opportunity to work with a short term
mentor, who was a minor sponsor of my literacy. My minor sponsor, Steven, was willing to
advise me to the best of his ability. Steven, being a racer himself, was literate in everything there

was to know about the kart and racing. Meeting him through racing connected us, which led to
me asking for advice on improving my racing. I realized he had knowledge I did not, which
made him a faster driver and excellent racer during competition. My goal was to become more
literate in understanding the kart and racing with other drivers. Once we chose a track, we
walked the entire track pinpointing each individual invisible mark before the turn and in the
middle of the turn. The marks were where the kart needed to be in that specific turn. Afterwards,
we drove the track side by side, which was a significant learning curve for me. This taught me
the importance of where to be on the track according to my opponent and also the dangers of
being in a certain spot/position on the track. This also taught me to think ahead and know what
is about to occur next. Anticipating an action and capitalizing on it before it even occurs is
crucial and was a skill I acquired and improved on every race. Both of these experiences were
significant to my literacy. Knowing how to maneuverer the kart as well as mentally being active
were two aspects of racing I learned from these two experiences.
My major sponsor of literacy in racing is my dad. Since he has been professionally
involved in the sport of racing as a mechanic, the sport was passed down to me. Racing came
almost natural to me. I have attended the tracks with him as well as received advice from him.
He has provided me with opportunities to race and support. Since we race together on occasions,
we have been able to learn from each other. He introduced me to professionals, such as Joey, and
pushed me to participate in more formal racing competitions. As these competitions progressed
through the individual races, he provided me with tips on how to effectively advance through the
field of drivers cleanly while maintaing a high speed. His experience in the karts allowed him to
learn other subtleties, subtleties I had yet to pick up on, which he could then transmit to me.
Since he is professionally involved, I have also learned about the mechanics outside of the car.

The building and preparation of the car as well as other subtle details have been introduced to
me. I have become well-rounded in racing by learning about the details inside of the drivers seat
and the details outside of the car. My dad is my major sponsor since he initially introduced me to
racing and has assisted me in my personal racing. My minor sponsor, Steven, of literacy was
previously mentioned. I learned, from my minor sponsor, more about racing with others at
different distances and what to do in those situations. My sponsors of literacy have introduced
me to different aspects of racing and assisted me with improving my skills.
My racing hobby is a sport I have become literate in. Each year has been stepping stones
and has lead to where I am today. Personally experimenting in the kart and observing others were
ways of learning I could do myself. Most of the driving knowledge is self taught through
personal experiences. However, listening to others for advice was important because I was given
a different perspective on how to achieve the same goal, either more efficiently or with the same
amount effort. Knowing multiple ways to achieve the same goal may be needed if a new
situation arises. Without any sponsors, my literacy would not be as strong as it is today. My dad
introducing me to racing and getting me started sparked my interest and motivated me to become
more skillful and knowledgable. He has also provided me opportunities to allow myself to
become more literate in racing. My other sponsor introduced me to subtleties on the track and
taught me how to apply them to different situations, whether it be on the track or in the outside
world. My literacy continues to expand and there is always more room for improvement and
more knowledge.