Don Salama is on a roll, literally.
Mr. Salama is managing director in charge of retirement plan sales and marketing at New York Life Investment Management, Norwood, Mass. But he has another life as a professional race car driver.
This year, his fourth year as a professional driver, Mr. Salama is near the top of his game. He has won his last two starts as a driver in the Grand-Am Series, winning the Mid-Ohio Twin 200 on June 29 in Lexington, Ohio, and The Glen 250 on June 22 in Watkins Glen, N.Y.
While it's not as well known as NASCAR, the Grand-Am Series is a professional racing circuit (owned by NASCAR) that consists of 12 races from January to October.
So far this year, Mr. Salama is third among 84 competitors in the Grand-Am Cup Series point standings; his team, which races modified BMW Z4s, is in first place for the year.
"I was always a car buff," said Mr. Salama. After college he went to professional driver school, which led to a job as a driving instructor.
From there, he started competing in private club races and was successful enough to catch the eye of the owner of a racing team in the Sports Car Club of America's World Challenge series.
In a sport where the difference between first place and 10th place in a three-hour race is often half a second, precision and execution is key, said Mr. Salama. Not only does the driver have to execute his role flawlessly, but so do the car and the crew.
He noted that in the retirement plan business, being competitive and winning business also means that all aspects of the team - from the sales and marketing staff to the investment managers - have to be running on all cylinders and working as a single unit.
Even then, it might not be enough if a competitor is just a little better, which means you have to work harder.