Monthly Archives: February 2008

Time of your life…

Another turning point, a fork stuck in the road
Time grabs you by the wrist, directs you where to go
So make the best of this test, and don’t ask why
It’s not a question, but a lesson learned in time

It’s something unpredictable, but in the end it’s right.
I hope you had the time of your life.

So take the photographs, and still frames in your mind
Hang it on a shelf in good health and good time
Tattoos of memories and dead skin on trial
For what it’s worth it was worth all the while

It’s something unpredictable, but in the end it’s right.
I hope you had the time of your life.

It’s something unpredictable, but in the end it’s right.
I hope you had the time of your life.

It’s something unpredictable, but in the end it’s right.
I hope you had the time of your life
.

tombstone-ccws.jpg

I was there…

As we all struggle to find our way, our voice, our means of dealing with the uncertainty and eventual fallout from this… thing… I have chosen to find the happy.
I’m all talked out. Ranted out. Angered out. Saddened out.
At least for now.

Last weekend, when we thought the announcement was hours from happening, I started to go through some of my old pictures. Remembering the emotions and the laughter and the friendships and the excitement. These are the memories I choose to take with me as we move forward into the unknown. Not the politics and the fighting and the oneupmanship and the bullshit.
Nope.
I’m taking the smiles and the goosebumps and the adrenaline and the happy tears.

I’ve been there for many PT & Patreek podiums. My Canadian boys who made it all worth while. And I was there for Paul’s ugly but thrilling win last year in Cleveland. But this… this is the one that stands above all else. Especially now, faced with the gut checking knowledge that I may have unknowingly witness my last race on home turf.

I wrote this following the race that night. It was July 13, 2003, but I remember it as if it was yesterday…

Poking my head through the cut out in the chain link fence, under the media sign, I find it hard to concentrate on the task at hand. I have diligently walked the exhibition grounds for 3 days now; talking to fans, staff, drivers, and crew members; taking pictures; finding the story. What is it about race fans? What is it about Toronto race fans? What is it about the Toronto race itself?

But right now my hands are shaking, there is a lump in my throat, and I can hardly focus through the tears welling up in my eyes. I have gone from Michele-Marie-budding motorsports journalist, to Meesh/race fan.
I am at my home race.
I am standing at pit out, my national anthem has been sung, they have just called “gentlemen start your engines”, and 73,000 fans have started cheering.
I am having a moment.
One of those ” unless you are a race fan you just can’t understand” kind of moments.

I spent the day roaming around watching the race from various vantage points. I sat in the bleachers along the aptly named Thunder Alley. Ouch! Earplugs are definitely needed there. Although I’m sure the shooting pain I experienced is still the aftershock of the jet fly by. Not the first pass but the return flight with no warning. Were cameras rolling on the photographers gathered at pit out, it would have been blooper reel material for sure.

I stood along the fence for a while and did the whiplash head action thing as the cars went rocketing by. Soon I became comfortably ensconced in the media centre watching the race and the timing boards on the big screens, taking notes and enjoying the surround sound effect as the cars barreled down the straightaway into turn one around the historic Automotive building we were being housed in. With 4 laps to go, I ran downstairs to my new favorite spot at pit out and was there, at the finish, when my hometown boy took the checkered flag. Again, the race fan in me took over, and I found myself overwhelmed.

To be at the start/finish line when the checkered flag waved…
To hear the deafening roar of the crowd as Paul Tracy exited his car and got tossed into the air by his crew…
And then to stand proudly during the playing of Oh Canada…
Well proud doesn’t even begin to cover it.

How did I manage to get so lucky?
I may not be rich by society’s standards, but today I am a millionaire.
My currency? Memories.
I was there!
Paul Tracy won his home race for the first time in 10 years… and I was there!
Paul Tracy won from pole to checkered flag, something that only 2 others had done at this track… and I was there!
And at a very melancholy but historically important time for Team Players, Paul Tracy pushed himself to the very edge and gave them, and all Canadians who have supported them, the ultimate gift. And I WAS THERE!!

Tomorrow I will put my journalist cap back on, and finish transcribing my notes.
But for the rest of the evening, I will remain Meesh…

race fan…
…millionaire.

PT’s win in 03

The trickle down effect…

what we don’t see can hurt us… or can it?

While the approximately 384 open wheel fans that still give a shit wait with bated breath for the great open wheel conspiracy of 08 to be solved, thousands of people’s livelihoods sit in limbo.

Anybody who does anything directly or indirectly with Champ Car or the IRL continues to circle in a frustrating holding pattern. Nothing can be marketed, signed, released or booked until this penis measuring contest is over.

For Champ Car alone that is 14 events and all of their personnel, sponsors, contractors, & charitable associations. 9 Teams and their personnel, drivers, crew members, & sponsors.

And what of the feeder series? The Atlantics alone have 24 teams & 12 events. Office personnel, team personnel, event personnel, etc… etc… etc…

But why stop there? What about all of the other series that are sharing the bill on any number of the Champ Car or IRL events? ALMS, Grand Am, BMW, Star Mazda…

Thousands of people all just sitting there. Waiting.
All. On. Hold.

I wonder if the handful of men at the top are giving any thought to that as they go about their pissing match, seemingly ignorant of the pleading for any information, good or bad, so that we can all just get on with it.

They bitch and moan about the misinformation being bantered about, yet do nothing to rectify it.

In the meantime drivers are negotiating alternative deals. Staff on every level are cleaning out their desks and taking jobs elsewhere out of frustration or desperation, and fans, in some bizarre Stockholm syndrome state, defend and protect and grasp at any hope, while continuing to be inconsiderably held hostage.

And still… we wait.

It’s been a full week now since this really blew up into the public arena.
That’s 7 days of work not done, tickets not sold, events not secured and possibly irreparable damage done.

Enough.
Fix this NOW!

the rumours of our demise…

have been greatly exaggerated…

Well guess what all you spinmeisters and quote jockeys, whether or not there is a merger, or a bankruptcy or what the fuck ever, here is what there is:

A pissed off and confused fanbase that have been dragged along on your little game of cat and mouse, cloak and dagger, spy conspiracy for 2 weeks. You better be prepared to give FULL disclosure on what you’ve been doing and why you’ve used your teams, employees, event promoters, fans and the media as your pawns, lying to and apparently purposely misleading us. Cause now I’ve gone from sad, to embarrassed to so fucking pissed off that I don’t even WANT to following this fucking soap opera/pantomime anymore.

The longer this drags on, the harder it will be to convince anybody to buy tickets or flights or hotels or even just plain give a shit.

There there are hundreds if not thousands of fans that have not and now likely will not renew their tickets or add on additional races this year. There are young drivers out there who’s reps have been scrambling to get them out of contracts and find them other rides.

I really hope this internal witch hunt was worth the irreparable damage to the sport.

Thing is, guess what boys? We fall to the bottom of the page in a few hours. Actually we will be the comical footnote during every newscast and race themed broadcast this weekend. The Nascar machine is revving up today. Do people want to follow the ever embarrassing open wheel saga or do they want to just sit back and watch some racing?

I think I’ll be joining the good old boys and cheering for my new CDN gomers! Fuck all of this shit.

Tell you what, some one send me an official press release when the whole lot of you remove your craniums from your sphincters and decide you’re a professional racing organization and not the Jerry fucking Springer show.

when all else fails…

laughter is the best medicine…

http://pressdog.typepad.com/dogblog/2008/02/doctors-report.html

Thanks pressdog!

I’m so sick of writing about this, and speculating, and waiting for whatever tidbit of information anyone gleans us worthy to receive. It’s fun to just laugh at the ridiculousness of the situation (saves the crying over the embarrassment of it… )

On the bright side, the fan’s on the other side of the fence are just as frustrated and embarrassed as we are. How ironic that that fanbase is essentially unified in that aspect.