[This story originally appeared on the The Portland Tribune website.]
by Jeff Zurschmeide
Aloha’s Cindi Lux, with nearly 10 years of professional driving under her belt, took a chance last year when she and her Dodge Viper Competition Coupe entered the Speed World Challenge GT series.
The series doesn’t get a lot of media exposure, and Lux went in without the financial benefits of a title sponsor.
She and her race team, which is directed by her husband, Fred Lux, entered six of the 10 races and finished 19th out of 55 drivers. She also won two rookie-of-the-race awards.
“The other teams snickered a bit at first,” she says, “but they were starting to pay more attention to us by the end of the year.”
Now chances are good that Lux, 45, and the World Challenge —which features powerful cars such as the Viper, Chevy Corvette, Porsche 997 and Cadillac CTS-V —will be part of July’s Champ Car event at Portland International Raceway.
Lux, who is looking for more sponsors, credits her success on the track in part to her time with the U.S. Olympic Committee’s sports psychology department in Colorado Springs, Colo. She made the connection through Olympic skier Picabo Street.
“I met her when I was assigned to coach her in the celebrity race at the Long Beach Grand Prix,” Lux says.
Lux arranged for one-on-one sessions with the sports psychologists. They talked about how her team can work better together, how the team members talk to one another, and what her mental approach should be while preparing for an event, qualifying and then racing.
“The people at the Olympic center were intrigued because they’d never worked with a race driver,” she says. “I still travel to Colorado a couple times a year to work with them. The mental side of sports is such an untapped market. The more I drive, the more I realize how important it is.”
Working so closely with her spouse “has had its moments, like anything else,” she says. “We had a breakthrough last year where we were able to separate the husband and wife versus the driver and crew chief. I found out that I respond to positive reinforcement. So we really learned how to bring out the best in each other.”
Lux also coaches other drivers, including 12-year-old Thomas Micich of Sherwood, who competes in go-karts.
“I’m helping him put press kits together and make hero cards, and he’s been out to the shop,” she says. “I tell him that what we do behind the wheel is about 10 percent of the total picture of a race-car driver. He needs to learn now about the business of racing.”