“How lucky I am to have known someone who was so hard to say goodbye to…”
I found that quote today, and it seemed fitting.
The racing world has lost another “good one”, and CART/Champ Car personnel and fans are reeling tonight at the news that Linda Woods has lost her hard fought and courageous battle with lung cancer.
Those of you that never wandered over to “our” side of the fence never had the opportunity to meet Dave and Linda Wood, nor see them in action. They were a dynamic duo, with boundless energy, whose sole purpose at the track was to make the “fan experience” the best it could be. They embodied the title of Ambassadors. Always smiling. Always positive and supportive of the series, the teams, the drivers, and most importantly, the fans.
Together they ran the official fan club, the “Inner Circle”, and opened up fans to a whole new and accessible world via autograph sessions, fan forums, and dinners with special guests from the series. (usually drivers, crew members & team personnel) They enlisted the help of select fans throughout the country to be local coordinators, and when the Champ Car circus came to town, they and the local coordinators would bound into action.
I had the honour of working closely with them as the first Canadian Regional Inner Circle coordinator, and the first local Toronto coordinator. Let me tell you… (and they told me often) that first event was one of the biggest most memorable inner circle dinners. (you know me, go big or go home) thanks to their guidance and their confidence in me to take the reigns in Canada. The friends I made during those events both at home and on the road, I still have today. We were an incredible, if slightly dysfunctional family, that transcended the race track and spilled into “real life”
They were my champions in the racing world, often putting in a good word on my behalf, and encouraging me to pursue my dreams of working with the series.
Linda was diagnosed with Cancer just before the last Toronto Champ Car race. Lung cancer ironically. (the woman never smoked a day in her life)
As fate would have it, the dissolution and merging of the series left them without fan club to oversee and no room in the new series for their incredible talents. They did pull together one final CCIC dinner for the final Champ Car event at Long Beach
There new found “joblessness” allowed them to concentrate solely on Linda’s battle, and what a hard fought battle it was, until this week.
Linda lost her battle this morning, surrounded by friends and family and the love of her life, Dave.
Theirs was a love story of epic proportions. A love of racing, a love of human interaction, and most importantly, an incredible love for each other.
Remarkably they documented the entire bumpy journey in an online journal. It is incredibly candid, and painful, and hopeful, and brave. It is a testament to courage, and tenacity, and hope and love.
If you are so inclined, give it a read. http://linda-lou.blogspot.com/
If you met Dave and Linda along the way, please find a moment drop him a note in the comments of their blog. He has said himself that the words from us in the “peanut gallery” as he called us, over the years, has brought them great comfort. He will need those words more than ever now that his beloved Linda has moved on.
“Perhaps they are not stars,
but rather openings in heaven
where the love of our lost ones pours through
and shines down upon us
to let us know they are happy.”