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Two Medical Professionals Follow Their Hearts and Put on the Speed

The roster of ProFormance regulars is anything but homogenous. On any given day the people who converge to lap at Pacific Raceways will be from all walks of life. What binds them together is a love of cars, speed, and honing their driving skills — and the ProFormance community. Those factors explain why two prominent members of the medical profession are often seen piloting their BMWs at Pacific Raceways.

Alan Johnson: Chasing the Dream

During his work day Alan Johnson, a territory manager for Medtronic, provides distribution and clinical support for cardiovascular devices. A long-time car lover, Alan finally decided to achieve his childhood dream of being a race driver and hooked up with ProFormance.

Alan Johnson with his M5

As you’d expect of one who deals with high-precision medical devices, Alan is constantly fine-tuning his driving performance. “I’m trying to find the perfect lap, to control the car and hit all the points that give you the quickest time around the track.” His ride is a 2016 F10 M5. Driving, he says, suits his love of speed and his competitive spirit.

Like other ProFormance clients, Alan enjoys the camaraderie of the drivers and the quality of instruction from Don and his staff. He’s also grateful for the epiphany that comes when that instruction takes hold. “The more you understand about  the car, the dynamics of motion and what the car can do, the better you can control it. Now you can feel where the limits of the car are. That changes the whole driving experience. It becomes more of a skill set than a means of transportation.”

Gopi Dandamudi: Finding the Rhythm

Gopi Dandamudi, a cardiologist with CHI Franciscan Health, had done some track driving but nothing too formal when he decided to connect with the ProFormance community. “I was looking for opportunities to drive, and they have one of the top driving programs in the country.”

As he is “consumed by work,” driving his 2019 M5 is the perfect escape for Gopi. “It gives me mental release. It can sometimes be a bit stressful driving, but it it focuses my thoughts and energies on one single thing.”

But for Gopi the track is more than a means of relaxation – it polishes skills that apply to his profession. “Driving involves preparation, concentration and focus. The discipline you need can be used at work. As an electrophysiologist, I deal with heart rhythm problems, which are measured in milliseconds.  I draw a parallel between that and improving my lap time by a second or a half-second.” Like Alan, he appreciates the ProFormance staff.  “They’re genuinely interested in teaching us to be better drivers.”

With the Two-Day Competition Race Licensing course under his belt, Gopi is planning on getting his SCCA license and doing some racing.

Whether or not the “Seattle Freeze” exists, it’s not present at ProFormance, where everyone gets a warm welcome and friendships like Alan’s and Gopi’s are struck up on a regular basis. Just another example of how much fun is to be had with the ProFormance community, and how much enjoyment can be had from performance driving if you put your heart into it.

Top photo: Alan Johnson rounds a corner at Pacific Raceways with Gopi Dandamudi right on his tail.

Posted in News