Jim Pace on Racing, Teamwork and Success
“Racing is something I have always wanted to do since I was a small boy, rolling cars around on the floor making car noises,” Jim Pace said.
Jim comes from a family of doctors. He was following the family business, in his fourth year of medical school.
“I felt like I needed to follow my dream,” he said. “So I left medical school and went to the Skip Barber Racing School and got my race driver’s license in 1987.”
“Dorsey Schroeder was one of my instructors there. I’ve known Dorsey, followed his career, and raced against him as a competitor for almost 30 years. To have him on the Fifty Plus Racing Team has been great experience. Dorsey likes to joke around. He is a bit of a practical joker. The truth is that beneath the fun is a lot of depth to his character. He is an outstanding man.”
The challenges of racing involve three things, according to Jim Pace: Money, Talent, and Teamwork.
“Sponsorship is a challenge every team faces. Competition at this level requires everything to be the best. You need the best car you can get. You need the best people. You need the best equipment.
“This means having the budget for the best. It requires a lot of money. So securing the sponsorship is a huge challenge.”
But having money is not enough. Money without the right people does not allow you compete.
“This is where Kevin Doran comes in,” Jim said. “He does a great job of pulling a great crew together. He prepares and maintains the car. These are very strong personalities. You don’t get to be the best sitting on your hands.”
Kevin Doran’s crew proved they were best following the crash at the Roar when the #50 Riley blew a tire and flipped while being driven by Byron DeFoor. Doran Racing came together and rebuilt the car in record time and had it ready for the Rolex 24 At Daytona.
In the 22nd hour the car rolled into the garage with engine trouble. The crew responded and got the car back in the race to finish strong in 8th place.
“But having the budget and the individuals is not enough to enable you to compete at this level,” Jim said. “The key is to bring everyone together. It is not just about someone working on a job. It is about being supportive of one another.
“The challenge is in forming a team. You can have the best individuals, but if they do not work well together you are not a good team.
“I’ve been doing this for almost 30 years. I’ve seen terrific individuals who for whatever reason could not work as a team. You can’t succeed that way. It is hard to put you finger on what makes it work. But when you have it you know it is magical.”
The Fifty Plus Racing Team includes the Drivers and the Crew. Both need to work together to achieve success. But that is not all that’s needed. Sponsors and contributors play as big a role. Without them, there is no team.
“The success of the Fifty Plus Racing Team is measured by how we raise money and how we raise awareness for Alzheimer’s Disease,” Jim said. “It is not just about wins on the track. It is about winning the race against Alzheimer’s.
“The Fifty Plus racing team is a little different than other teams out there. It gives a group of people – our fans – the opportunity to follow along and share in the passion, not only of racing but also in giving back for Alzheimer’s. Byron DeFoor has done a great job of pulling this team together.”
“Our team has grown as more and more fans follow us. They may not be driving the car or working on the engine, but they are an important part of it. We have had a growing effort. It’s been great for me to be a part of that team,” Jim said.