On the front cover of the October 2014 issue of Road and Track is a picture of a 2014 red Ferrari 458 Speciale blasting along a mountain highway. The folks from Road and Track thought it would be interesting for this superfast Ferrari to challenge “the dragon king” (Davis) who “discreetly rules Tennessee’s route 129 – the deadly two lane road known as the tail of the dragon.” This section of 129 is approximately 9 miles long with more than 300 tortuous turns. Davis holds the record for covering the 9 miles in approximately 10 minutes.
Certainly the Ferrari which can cover a quarter of a mile in 11 seconds should have easily outpaced Davis’ Mazda RX-7, but it did not! Why? Because the Mazda was specifically modified to excel along this treacherous mountain highway. Therefore, it did not matter that the Ferrari cost nearly $300,000, that it could accelerate from 0 to 60 in 3.0 seconds on a straight road and had a top speed of nearly 200 mph on a straight stretch.
In a way, the story of Davis’ victory is analogous to many of those self employed millionaire next door types who possess the millionaire mind. In The Millionaire Mind I profiled Donald Sonner who operates a flourishing business producing undergarments for men and women who are residents of prisons and mental institutions. He realized before starting this venture that he could not compete with designer brands like Polo, Calvin Klein, Bali, and Maidenform, etc. Also he had access to overruns and remnants of extremely durable cotton fabrics. These could withstand countless washings in commercial steam washers. Mr. Sonner specifically designed his product just as Davis designed his Mazda to excel in a very specific niche market environment.