Old racers and traders agree on quite a few things:

1. Do not look to get out even after a big loss of position. This is in regards to time. A runner, dirt bike rider, or race car driver would never consider an attempt to go back to the lead after a bad crash in the main event. Most realize it might take a couple weeks to regain strength before attacking for the victory.

2. Hold your place. The market or a race isn't about you. The gist is the ability to win a national event is the work you put in the prior 6-8 weeks to the event. Racers are either 'on top' or 'not feeling it' which is code for strength vs. the others or skill on that track.

If 'on top', you make a huge mistake and almost blow up. After such a near disaster we look to the front of the pack and we are still right there? Now most engineers or spectators will say, hold your place regroup. Go get them after you calm down. A racer is never, ever going to do that. The gist is if I almost crashed and my heart rate is pegged at 199, look up and we are close to the lead. We are going for it full throttle. The gist is you made a huge mistake and should have lost it. You're right there! This means everyone almost blew up and too many will, coast for a bit. You can go strait to the lead if you do not hesitate.

"Not feeling it'– That line is easy after a big mistake. We look back over the shoulder and see how much we must push to hold the position.

3. Take your loss. From the drop of the gate everything is wrong. Matter of fact the last laps of the past race everything was wrong. There are two codes in race results that team owners and managers always get upset about, DNS did not start/qualify DNF "did not finish". There is always a push to regroup and gain at least a point on the week. I am cringing as I write. It's so painful. Racers call it, do not get killed. Let's not make a bad weekend worse and ruin, destroy the season. Get back out there! You can do this! Ah, okay, but…..

It has always been easy for me to DNF, load up the trailer and spectate. I remember dad arguing with his best friend. We were at the track and we could not figure out why the engine was down on power then there was a leak in the transmission. Dad said "On the trailer" No, no! No, everyone else agreed we can fix it.. "On the trailer now!" and dad walked away. Later that week we were working on the race car and found 5 more problems. His buddy said, "good thing we put it on the trailer, let's make that a rule"

To be clear, I am talking about what everyone always talks about –"them or "I". The markets are either weak or strong. The position you have vs. the field or the market has nothing to do with how the rest of the field will perform that day. Unless you crash and take the leaders out.

If you're weak and they are strong and you make a huge mistake, take a step back for a lap. If you're weak yet they are weak, you might try standing on the gas. This does not come natural. We are trained from little ones to take a seat and rest after a fall.

There is the old athlete problem. Fighting them for the sake of respect and competitiveness, we all do it… Basically the trade is all risk for little to no reward. That happens to traders all of the time. We spot a window of weakness and go for a pass. We find ourselves boxed out and lose a few points on positions. We add, for no good reason! We didn't have the skill, power or traction to make the pass the first time. That was, with a good pattern window to make such a move. Now our only pattern is competitiveness, the will to win. We are weak, yet feeling it, or best we feel nothing at all because we are mad as Hades. We lay off for a moment build all kinds of speed and go at them with everything we have.

That is how that 30 minute window and a 2 point loss turns into 10 handles against us, all in. How in the world do we get our selves into such bad positions? OH I dunno the last 50 times we made the pass the first time and 4/5 we came back after a regroup and passed everyone back in a lap. We have do this so many times we never think, until it's too late. Then the boss comes on the radio… other than hope, why are you still out there? The pit window is open. Bring it in now! Please….. Good men act silly when they trade or race angry. The gist is we are weak and too upset or stupid to realize it.

There is old dailyspec line on losses. In a big move, in a panic, if they let you out for even, it goes much much more in your favor. Of course, that is big market moves or a huge crash on the track… stay out there and gain all the spots you can. In general that does not work in day trades. It's all your fault, you caused the pile up for self and or others. Perhaps that is where the bias is from, a baseball player pops up a perfect fastball to hit. A football player fumbles. A driver loses focus and hurts the car. Next time out we find the hole we stand on the gas and get boxed in and the will to win, never ever give up attitude takes over.

Which is where the old coach line must have come from "Come on lack use your head" and "are you okay– you have a concussion or something, that was not like you" or " usually you're much better than that".





Speak your mind

4 Comments so far

  1. MJ on April 25, 2013 1:42 am

    This article has a solid premise (comparing race car driving to trading) but the author fails in his attempt to tie the two together. Much more interesting comparisons can be made between the two activities.

    A more interesting piece might revolve around delving into the personalities and styles of different race car drivers. What might have made Alain Prost a good trader? Or Ayrton Senna?

    I think the best lesson traders can learn from race car drivers is that there are an infinite number of driving (or trading) styles that can lead to victory but ultimately it comes down to how badly the individual wants to win. The best race car drivers are simply the most competitive.

  2. steve on April 29, 2013 10:09 am

    A good car makes a good driver better. Have not heard much of Jilles Villeanuve lately.

  3. douglas roberts dimick on April 30, 2013 7:38 pm


    Not sure if you are related…


    For a ski racer having also raced motocross as well cars, my impression is your article offers an insightful introduction into the parallels of perhaps two of the most interesting worlds of human endeavor. Well done.

    Here you appear to expand upon your prior article on driving and trading…


    As only from an amateur prospective in both disciplines, my response to your three commonalities would be the question:

    How many ways does a trader-racer approach a given line?

    During r&d of my Theory of Quantitative Relativity, charts began appearing as racetracks. Off-camber turns can reflect support/resistance. Whoops present nondirectional channels. Jumps develop as gaps up/down.

    Here in Shanghai, even though the Communist government blocks Internet sites like youtube, keeping up with the supercross championship warrants technical innovations to access tracks of life (like racing and trading) otherwise stifled or forbidden. Similar challenges to access are presented here in China for a trader – another article to be written.

    Note: RV just took his third (consecutive) national title, joining a rather rarified atmosphere of four others in the history of the AMA event.

    Alas, perhaps the most intriguing aspect of your analogy here is when thinking how a race bike or car compares to program trading systems. Humans, machines, and all that does, will, or could exist within and beyond these realms…


  4. ian on November 25, 2013 3:46 pm

    Hey Lack. Get the joke, bud. “F-@% you, pay me.” “It’s the damn college kids on thier soes machines!” Email me back. It would be good to catch up.


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