Just in case no one reads the whole thing, let’s just put this out there:
Ty Tessmann is ProLine’s poster child, and he ran JConcepts Diamond Bars in the NeoBuggy nitro main. Why is this big news? For a few reasons, but if you want to know them, you have to read on.
After transitioning from racer to designer and owner, well sort of, I do all those things at the same time, I have had the opportunity to look at things wearing all those hats. At the end of the day, we go racing to win. I have written a lot about the mental approach to racing, how to practice, and test, and just about racing in general. I realise that all the drivers at the top, go to the race looking to win, and anything else is a failure. The question everyone has to answer for themselves, is where to draw the line, do you cheat, or do you put personal relationships, and your integrity on the line in order to do so, or do you play by the book, and simply do your best with what you have?
This post isn’t really about cheating, but rather about this mentality that drivers have:
- I am getting beat, my equipment is holding me back, I need to have different car/tyres/engine/other, or else I can’t win.
- I am getting beat, obviously these other guys beating me are cheating.
The number one reason for team drivers to leave JQRacing has been, “It doesn’t suit my style”, which is code speak for, “I think your car isn’t very good, it’s holding me back, I will do much better with another car”. Without exception, these situations have resulted in no noticeable improvement in results, and in the best cases, worse results. The reason for this is, that after a certain level of product quality, the difference isn’t the product, it’s what you do with it. Let me make this absolutely clear:
Almost without exception, the difference between winning and not winning is how well you can maximise the performance of the products you have. Everything works together, and changing one thing throws off the balance. Looking for shortcuts is not the way to move forward.
So now we have a high profile case of mental meltdown, in the form of Ty Tessmann resorting to running a different brand tyre, because he was convinced that ProLine tyres were holding him back. This is an understandable reaction, but one that should be thwarted by the surrounding team, not encouraged. Let’s look at some facts:
- It didn’t help that he ran JC. 20-20 vision I know, but these things don’t work out. Really.
- On the other hand, what if he won? How do you hide that?
- Boots finished 2nd with ProLine tyres.
- If you are going to run something else, why would you not run AKA’s that were arguably the best tyres at the event?
- If you are going to run something different, why on earth would you sneak new tyres on after the race, at least go all the way and have a set of used PLs ready.
I had no idea of this until I went to check the tyre wear after the main, and Ty’s tyres looked brand new. I know Ty is a smooth driver, but this was ridiculous. I immediately put my CSI hat on, and began investigating. I found out that Maifield handed Gord the JC tyres in the pits. They were glued up in the DXR tent, before the main. Photos were avoided before the main, and they were immediately switched out after the main. This is obviously not an awesome look for the righteous Tessmann family. However, the pressure to win can corrupt the best of us, specially if the pressure is coming from you chassis manufacturer (pure speculation, based on past events). My point is, the Tessmann family are good people, this isn’t a personal attack on them, rather a highlighting of a way of thinking that racers employ, regardless of level, that is in my opinion flawed.
What makes it worse is the fact that ProLine has cracked down on team drivers using other brand tyres at other than control tyre events, actually going as far as posting about this on their Facebook group, and cutting a driver(s) off the team that have been caught doing so.
Will Tessmann be cut? I highly doubt it.
Will he ever do this again? I highly doubt it.
Not with this blog around.
Leaked footage of Gord at ProLine post NEO de-brief.