Category Archives: general racing

How has it been a year already?

I met Robin Miller at my first in person race. He was the first famous person in racing on the “other side the fence” that took me under his wing.

A lifetime fan, I was preparing to dip my toe into the exhilarating and excruciating world of motorsports journalism. And there he was, the man everyone loved to love and loved to hate simultaneously. On that night in the grandstand in Cleveland, he was lovely and welcoming and funny as hell. He reminded me of my dad. Same sarcastic wit, and mischievous glint in his eye.

Perhaps had that meeting gone another way, my experiences over the next 2 decades would have been very different. Thankfully it didn’t, and he would continue to greet me with the same welcoming camaraderie until our last race in attendance together in 2019.

I snuck into the “media bullpen” during the last year of CART. And was fully involved for the entire run of ChampCar, through the “mergification” back with the IRL and the formation of what we know today as IndyCar.

In the early days, I had the privilege of breathing in the same rarefied air as the motorsports journalists I (and many of you) looked up to. It was a big ol’ sausage factory, an “old boys” club, names you saw on the byline of every major newspaper and sporting magazine, and on the spines of some of the great books on our sport.

I was a literal nobody.
A girl with a blog, who was born to a race car driver dad, and spent her toddler years at race tracks and car shows.

My knowledge of the nuts and bolts of the history of the sport was lacking, surface as best, but my passion for it was strong!
(And never waned, even through the turmoil, and blacklisting) (yes, Robin and I even had that in common!)

I’ll likely never know for sure why, but for some reason they tolerated the enthusiastic Canadian girl with the big smile and the naive heart hanging around. Maybe they liked that I saw them as mentors. Maybe they sensed I didn’t want “their” job. (Not that I could ever realistically do it)
Maybe they simply understood that I just wanted a seat at the table and the opportunity to talk about racing.

One of my favorite early memories at a race was standing in the media centre in Toronto, in a little gossip circle with Miller, Kirby, Oreo, & Phillips. How the hell I was welcomed into that conversation I will never know, but it was a blast shooting the shit with those guys that day, and for many years after.

I often viewed the world of racing from a different perspective, and I got chastised often by one of my colleagues (later to become a good friend) for being and acting like a “fan”, as if that was a dirty word, and somehow negated my point of view.
I would always shoot back, “well if you’re not a fan, what is the point of wasting your time writing about the sport??” If you don’t have any skin in the game, you have no business writing about it. It’s disingenuous!”

Maybe that’s why I related the most to Robin.
He was a fan, just like us, and he cared, fervently!
He was honest to a fault. Literally putting his job on the line to get the real story out.

I remember sitting in the Road America media… tent… pre-merger, when the news broke that the series had pulled Miller’s hard card. Oh the conversations that were had that day. If anything it only solidified the “truth” of the story that Robin had been telling. (The aforementioned merger) It ultimately backfired on the series, as we all, in a show of solidarity, picked up where Robin left off and ran with it. He would, of course, be reinstated thankfully, leading to many more years of head shaking rumours, cage rattling opinions, and jaw dropping facts that would come to fruition.

I miss him.
I miss his pot-stirring commentary.
I miss his “hold their feet to the fire” brashness
I miss his laugh and cheeky grin.
And this year I realized how much I missed hearing his familiar voice saying “hey kid” when he saw me in the media centre.



Life happens when you’re busy making plans…

I was so “chuffed” as they say for the upcoming IndyCar season in January that I dusted the cobwebs off my blog, and “teased” it rising from the ashes…

I was planning travel, both to races and just in general. One of those trips was going to be a long overdue jaunt across the pond to England for a joint Virgo birthday celebration with my racing bestie. (the subject of my last full post) It had been far too long since we had seen each other, and she felt long haul travel from her end was no longer an option, so instead I would come to her and we would watch the season finale together.

But cruelly life intervened, and at the end of January the checkers waved for my partner in crime.

I am beyond heartbroken… 💔 and almost 2 months later, I’m still reduced to tears on race weekends and can’t really find the words.

*Thankfully I wrote them while she was still here, so she knew how I cherished our friendship*

A decade of race weekends as roommates, sharing dinners and margaritas, seeking out the best gelato in every town, exploring the host cities, and of course enjoying the racing.

We experienced so many amazing triumphant moments, and shared such great sadness due to tragedy and friends lost.

Even those of you who didn’t “know” her, knew her. #twitterlessCarol, the diminutive lady with the camera, black & white checkered back pack, wearing a Justin Wilson t-shirt. (eventually a t-shirt with both Wilson boys names emblazoned on it)

Her support of Justin (as an investor) and Stefan (setting up and maintaining his website when he was starting out) was unmatched, and it was such a joy to experience their successes and milestones along side her. She also had a soft spot for our Canadian boys (must have been a commonwealth thing) cheering on and supporting Daniel Morad and James Hinchcliffe during their A1GP years, and of course throughout their ChampCar/IndyCar forays. Certainly those boys will never look at Custard Creams and not think of Carol.

Memorial done, next came the conundrum… how to best honour our friend…

Enter Stefan Wilson and a brilliant idea from her mutual investor/friends Darren and Roz.

You see, Carol and I got a trip around the track with Stef pretty much every race weekend we were in attendance over the years, and she was, without fail, always disappointed by the brevity of the moment. One lap was simply never enough. (just look at her sad face! lol)

So this weekend she enjoying the ultimate “pace car ride” with Stef for the 12 hours of Sebring!!!! Oodles of laps! I’m sure outwardly she would be embarrassed by the all fuss, but secretly would be thrilled and honoured by the tribute.

I like to think of her and Justin catching up in the great beyond and watching it all unfold this weekend.

Farewell my sweet friend… I’ll see you on the other side for gelato and margaritas.

Both of us always had cameras in our hands, shooting others. I’m so thankful for these rare shots of the two of us together.

*dusts off keyboard*

Well well well… what do we have here 2022… the year of the comeback?

I miss my friend…

While I’m waiting for the practice to start, I figured I would blow the dust of the old blog and clear the cobwebs. This was written on the plane on my way home from St. Petes… I wasn’t sure if I would post or not,  but a #TBT post by my BFF Carol this week reminded me of the weekend we became “besties”, in 2008 at Long Beach, and it tied in perfectly with this post as it revolves around the same people…

There is a common theme among the racing community. We all refer to each other as our “racing family”. Be it the drivers, or series workers, or media colleagues, or fans, we are bonded together by this crazy thing called racing.

We travel together, work together, eat together, fight together, laugh together, and cry together.
We embrace the highs, and learn to live with the lows.

Each season by choice, situation, or by tragedy, our family gets slightly smaller.
Drivers don’t return, teams downsize or shut down, people retire or get let go from their jobs, spouses pass on, and there is a domino effect that ripples throughout the community.

This year the most noticeable void, for me personally, is the big man himself not walking his lanky self down pit lane, a palpable and obvious loss made more poignantly evident by the very many tribute t-shirts and stickers seen throughout the grandstands and paddocks all weekend at each event.

But it’s also the not so obvious loss that I was feeling all weekend when I was in St. Petes. (and subsequently now, this weekend, watching Long Beach from afar)

By losing Justin, I also lose Julia and the girls on site. I lose Stefan and his new wife Katie on pitlane supporting his big brother. I lose Keith and Lynne Wilson flying over for certain races, with whom I had the great pleasure of joining on several occasions for meals and conversation. I lose conversing with his longtime PR support team. And I selfishly lose the company of one of my best racing friends, who was one of Justin’s investors from the early days of his open wheel career, and my race weekend roomie for almost a decade.


We attended St.Petersburg four times together. All of my memories of this race and this town include her, and many include the aforementioned people. Memories popped up like ghosts while walking the grounds and the city and it just felt like something was missing.

But it was only as I sat on the plane reflecting back on my weekend, that I realized that, despite the awesome company I was keeping, something indeed was missing. A very large portion of my extended racing family. With each season, more and more familiar faces fade into memories. The faces I took for granted smiling at me from across the media centre, or looking up from the pit stall, or waving down from the grandstands.

Eventually I’ll be the face that fades away, and perhaps someone will muse “I miss my friend” about me.


Opinions are like assholes…

Everyone has one, and they usually stink.

I’ve remained silent on the Stewart/Ward incident since it first came to light in the wee hours on Saturday night.
There were far too many questions, and not enough answers to form any reasonable opinions. I saw no reason to add to the noise.

3 days later, nothing has changed in that regard. So why speak up now?

Because I’m just so fucking irritated.

I HATE when something negative happens in the racing world. (no matter the series/genre) It becomes a call to arms for every Johnny-come-lately, couch jockey, who knows fucking NOTHING about the sport, to pontificate, and accuse, and jump on the bandwagon. Most of them with no skin in the game, so no regard for the consequences of their words and actions.

Then there are those in the know (or who claim to be) that stir the pot for their 15 minutes of internet and news cycle fame. Sensationalism at it’s worst. Click bait for hits, and links, and retweets, and ratings.

There are two people that know, without a doubt, what transpired on Saturday night. Tony Stewart and Kevin Ward. That is it. And even their versions (had Ward survived) would likely have differed in interpretation.

I don’t watch Sprint racing, so I know nothing of what it takes to manoeuvre those cars around the track. To speculate in anyway on the actions of Tony Stewart from a technical point of view would be misinformed on my part.

I’m also not going to jump on the blame the victim bandwagon. This situation is tragic enough without the undertone of “he had it coming” added to the mix.

Do I think he holds some culpability for running around on a hot track. Yes. Have we all done something stupid in the heat of the moment when we were in our 20’s? Fuck Yes.

Have we seen other drivers, in other series, attempt to do the same thing? yup. (I’m just glad that there are a handful of strong men in Orange and white fire suits that wrestle our angry drivers out of harms way in the heated moments.)

99/100 times, he would have made a foul familiar gesture that we have seen many times over in similar situations, and walked back to his car. Done. Move on to the next event.

But a multitude of circumstances beyond anyones control collided in that moment, and well, we all know the outcome. To assign blame to either is futile. It changes nothing. All we can do is reflect, learn from the situation, and move on.

Most of all, right now, It makes me incredibly angry to see a man being absolutely vilified based on a handful of “hot headed” soundbytes and moments over the course of his career, to the point of accusations of intention and cries for murder charges.

Give your fucking heads a shake.

I don’t know Tony Stewart personally. But I do know many other professional drivers on a personal level. NONE of them, not even the ones with “tough guy” reputation, would in a million years, even in their most heated moments, ever, EVER intentionally aim their vehicle at another competitor, especially one standing outside of their car. It just wouldn’t happen.

Those out there that even entertain that notion are merely playing their hand and showing the world just how truly ignorant they are, and how little they know about racing and the racing community.

These men and women willfully get into a car and risk their lives (their own lives, not their competitors). The respect they have for their machines, their colleagues, and their sport flies in the face of all of the uneducated, ignorant commentary and accusations.

Stop making a “story” out of this tragedy. It’s heartbreaking enough for all involved without turning it into a lynching or a movie of the week.

I wish for a sense of unity and protection for our racing community. Let’s not play into their storyline. Let’s stop fanning the flames. Stop commenting on and sharing the sensationalistic stories. Don’t validate the ignorance.

I wish for peace and healing for the friends and family of Kevin Ward, and the same for the friends and family of Tony Stewart.

Mostly I wish for peace and healing for Tony Stewart. I can’t imagine what he is going through right now.

The only saving grace at the moment is that there will always be another bigger story around the corner to distract this A.D.D society. Perhaps the devastating news of the loss of Robin Williams today, which broke just as I started to write this earlier, will shake some sense into this world… least for a few hours.