Sophomore driver Zach Veach will be blogging for RACER.com throughout the USF2000 season.
Just like the need to juggle responsibility and wear many hats at the racetrack (the driving, fan interaction, sponsor meetings, media, etc.) time off from racing is also about managing my responsibilities and prioritizing so I can continue to do what I love at the end of the day – racing!
For a regular teenager, and specifically a guy, the words organization and time management just aren't in our vocabulary. That's something that racing has taught me and I'm very thankful for. When you're managing going to high school, a strict work-out regimen, a phone app company (ZaAPP), and a racing career on top of it, it gets pretty easy to fall behind on something like my school work.
In my book, 99 THINGS TEENS WISH THEY KNEW BEFORE TURNING 16, I wrote about the importance of being organized and having a plan to fall back on when you start to get buried in a to-do list. I might not have the best everyday plan but it works for me and that's the important thing; find something that works for you.
I start off everyday to the sound of my alarm clock at 6:30 a.m. and get ready to go work out. I'm not talking about anything like from the Rocky movies, waking up and drinking raw eggs but I manage to make my way to our weight room and start my routine that Jody Karam (Sage's dad) prepared for me. I'm not exactly the biggest guy in the world – standing at a massive 96 lbs and only 5'3" – but I do a lot of upper body strength, core, and cardio training.
After I have my training finished, I feel as though I can get my day started. Getting my workout done in the morning is a good boost of energy for the day and a relief that I've got it in; you never know what could come up to fill your schedule late in the day. I log into my online school (from about 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. every day) and begin my work for that day. I always get the question, “How do you go to school and race at the same time?”
I'm very fortunate to be able to be a part of an online high school; it's basically a school right on my laptop. I have six different teachers and about 150 classmates; I hear one them is even on American Idol right now! We just log into a classroom at a certain time, sitting in a live class as if we were all in the same room interacting with a teacher. I can't say enough about my 10th grade teachers – they are very understanding while I'm on the road and some of them are race fans, too, so that always helps. My engineer Scott Greaves has even helped me understand a concept in geometry while I was taking a test after a practice session; multitasking!
At the end of the day, once I've accomplished all the items on my to-do list, it's relaxing to spend my downtime with my family. I wouldn't be where I'm at today without their never-ending support. I also have to make time for simulator racing on iRacing, working on new phone app, and playing Xbox like any other kid my age.
Most of this type of schedule gets thrown out the window when we are on the road. Early flights, staggering meetings, homework in the cab but one-thing remains a constant – I always get my workout in.
This month's race at Lucas Oil Raceway will be my “anniversary” race in the USF2000 series. We started third last year, so I'm hopeful for another strong start and getting back to juggling responsibility on the racetrack after a long break at home.
USF2000 National Championship driver Zach Veach drives the Andretti Autosport No. 7 Zakosi Data Backup/Mazda. For more on Zach, go to www.zachveach.com.