Miss Amy Becomes a Track Mouse

The change in my outlook crept in so slowly that I didn’t realize what was happening until it was too late—nor did I care to notice. Change? I have become one of them; them being race spectators who would do whatever it took to physically get to a race and then think nothing of it. The needle was in too deep to locate the end of it. The teutonic (ummmm I think I mean tectonic) plates of my mind have shifted so that it makes utter sense to travel 17 hours to watch a 3-hour race. The frog has boiled.

The particular race I am referring to (since there is another I am leaving for tomorrow morning) was the Bosch 250 Grand Am race at Virginia International Speedway May 14. My friend Adrianne and I decided to spectate that race about a month ago; a 6am flight the day of the race seemed totally logical. I fetched her at her home at the logical time of 4:45am and our weekend was off and running. We cruised into the VIR parking lot almost simultaneously with the 11am start of the continental race—ahh I love it when a plan comes together. The actual plan had been formed prior to our timely arrival. Adrianne had done a bang-up job for the Cooltv Camaro Banner Racing team with their social networking for the Rolex 24 Hour race. Over the span of 8 hours she ramped up over 6600 hits to their collective Facebook, Twitter and websites with her rolling commentary of the race updates. A seed of an idea sprouted and she wanted to pursue other teams with her new Race Girl Media program. Prior to our arrival I had sent her the contact for all my Facebook driver friends and informed them to look for us in pink in the paddock. Using social media to promote social media… well why not? And as for the pink in paddock; we could promise that but I for one wouldn’t promise pretty in pink with the insipid rain forecast. Once parked, we made fast work of meeting and greeting all of the major players as we waited for the black sky to unload its promised rain.

We met Jordy Taylor with Autohaus Engineering (who turned 20 years old last week!); he ended up winning the GT class. Met up with Bruce Ledoux who was now driving with the Freedom team. Said hello to Enzo Potolicchio who won the Ferrari Challenge series last year (driving a Daytona Prototype in this series as well as the Challenge series again). Waved at Eric Curran who is admirably driving both races back to back! And yes, Adrianne touched Patrick Dempsey again. Then there were the Cooltv guys from the Rolex 24—they podiumed in second place! And in the rain with neither windshield wipers nor a hood. No hood in the Rolex either so it spawned a marketing genius possibility of ‘we don’t go topless; we go hoodless’. Time will tell if that is their lucky charm.

The race wouldn’t have been complete without some time spent laughing with the photographer of record for a number of teams—David Wilks of RSR. He drives a trailer to the races replete with a control room walled with computers. Did I mention he owns a still? His moonshine was the appropriate drink for the venue of VIR which less than 20 years ago was a farm. Oh, I only had one sip!

The next morning came much faster than I would have liked; we knew going in it would be a quickie reconnaissance trip but the sun did come up way too fast. The day before (was it really the day before?) I had programmed the navigation at the airport with our current longitude/latitude of the airport when we landed. Logic dictated that I would just use that to get back to the airport. My navigation was set up with a female’s voice since I tend to take criticism better when it is meted out softly. So my nav is a she. Well she had us going back to the airport a different way; maybe she decided we hadn’t had enough verdant lush scenery? That was awfully thoughtful of her, but our time was beginning to get tight. She said we would arrive at the airport 30 minutes before the flight but we needed to tank up the rental car, drop it off, go through security… you know the drill. We rounded the bend of this windy road that didn’t quite have an airport feel to it right about the time when she said we would arrive and we both gasped NOOOOOO when we saw she had taken us to a regional airport. This was not good! How could she have done that to us? When had I let her down? Was she getting revenge for the time I dropped her unsheathed in my overnight bag and her face got all scratched up? I didn’t think navigations held grudges but she got us back… but good. I think I even heard her laughing. Not full out, but a little snigger. Regroup! Time is running out! Just go over her head and physically plug in the address from another screen. The specific airport we had boarding cards for was a mere 9 miles away…recalculating. We knew there was little hope now for catching the flight. Our buffer time had vaporized. But there was one last hope; the flight could be delayed. And it was! Two full hours but we will take it.

We parked our weary bodies at some nameless airport pub to kill some time. At the next table there was a lady and a young man who was wearing a Continental hat. Certain words in their conversation wafted over to our table which made us grin at each other. After hearing boxster, caution flag, drifting, corner 4 and podium Adrianne couldn’t contain herself; she turned towards them and asked if they had been to the race. Well, not only had he been there, but he had raced. She was his mother and he was her son, John Capestro-Dubets. Their story still makes me smile when I think of it. He has only been racing one year and we asked how he got his start. Well his mother had asked him what he dreamt of doing and his obvious answer of racing was fulfilled. She made it possible by using his college fund towards coaching in order to follow his dream. Both of them beamed. We smiled some more.

Both flights were late and we rolled up to Adrianne’s house about 11pm Sunday night. When I opened my trunk for her bag I said was it really just yesterday morning at 4:45 that I was here? Sure seems like longer! Only one more question remained for this boiled frog—when is our next race?

Warm regards,