QOTD: What's You Most Vivid Racing Memory?

My best pal took this picture the weekend we met, which is, in and of itself, a ridiculous and unforgettable story.
My best pal took this picture the weekend we met, which is, in and of itself, a ridiculous and unforgettable story.
Photo: Remy Connors

The first time I saw a race car in real life, it was in October of 2014. I was standing in downtown Austin, Texas, watching a Red Bull Racing Formula One car do donuts in front of the capitol building of the city I’d moved to just months before. I had no idea how to cope with it. Growing up out in the boons, F1 always seemed like some fancy-schmancy sport, the kind of thing I’d never see with my own two eyes. And there it was, happening right in front of me. It was magic.

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I’ll be honest: I shamelessly stole this question from Parker Kligerman, who asked via Twitter a few days ago what our most vivid racing memories were, the ones where you just couldn’t help but think, “Wow.” For me, that’s one of ‘em. Seeing that F1 car for the very first time.

I don’t know what it is about racing, but it constantly has me feeling like a kid meeting Santa Claus for the first time. I went to the US Grand Prix in 2014 thinking it would scratch an itch: If I went to a race, maybe I’d relieve myself of the race car obsession I’d been harboring. And I walked out of that weekend with plans to go to some races in Europe the following year.

And I did. A few of my Internet friends and I flew into Munich and road tripped to Spielberg for the Austrian Grand Prix. We pulled into our campsite in the middle of the night (smuggling me in under the luggage because we had technically only paid for three camping wristbands while bringing in four people). We pitched our tent in the middle of the night. Coming out of the tent in the morning, we were greeted with the fog-covered alps. It was unreal. I couldn’t believe it.

I’ve felt that way so many times. Showing up to Pocono for IndyCar for the first time, being able to actually go into the paddock. Going to the inaugural Long Beach ePrix and winning a contest that let me and my friend embed in the Mahindra garage for the weekend. Even last year, when Pirelli hosted me at the US Grand Prix to write about its tire operation—I was like a little kid in a candy story, walking miles upon miles each day just to soak it all in.

I know those aren’t necessarily cars, but they’re some of my favorite racing memories. And those are only a few, because I haven’t even mentioned the first time I met the man who became my husband at the race track.

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So, what are your favorite racing memories? What’s that memory that just sticks out in your mind so starkly that it makes you smile? 

DISCUSSION

By
Braking-Dad

July 1996, Toronto Molson Indy CART race. Thanks to my employer, I was able to secure complementary tickets to that yearly event for several consecutive years. Something I looked forward to every summer. However, after changing departments that specific year, I could not get a freebie, so I went down to the race anyways and bought a ticket from scalper. Hanging around our company display, I was able to talk myself into last minute ride in one of the driver parade cars as a front passenger. The parade car drivers were all company employees or associated with the company. I didn’t know the CART driver that was in our parade car as he was fairly new to the series. However, the local celebrity who sat beside him on the atop of the retracted convertible top was Toronto Maple Leafs General Manager Cliff Fletcher. Before we set off for the parade lap, another driver seated atop the adjoining parade car beside us (can’t recall who it was) says to our driver, “check out that hot blonde” while pointing to a very attractive woman in the VIP stands behind the pits. He waved to her and she waved back. I later learned, that was “our driver’s” wife.

Fast forward to the last third of the race, there was a horrific crash half way down the Lakeshore straight which is the fastest part of the makeshift road course. I wasn’t seated anywhere near there but I watched the replay on the big screen located near me. One race car clipped the front of the another, sending the clipped car flying towards the right, over the catch fence and struck a tree where the race car shattered into many pieces. I knew right away that the crash was not survivable. When the driver’s name involved in that devastating crash was broadcast over the screen and by play by play announcer blaring throughout the race, I felt sick. It was “our guy” - Jeff Krosnoff. Although I didn’t know him, I was devastated. Less than two hours prior to that I was seated inches from him and he seemed to be on top of the world. I no longer wanted to be there an I left the race early, got in my car and drove towards home all the while listening to the radio hoping that I was wrong and Jeff Krosnoff could possibly still be with us. Unfortunately, his passing was confirmed by local news.

I remember exactly where I was what I was doing when I learned of Gilles Villenueve’s passing in ‘82 and and watched the world lose Arytn Senna in 1994 while sitting in a hotel room, a day after one of my best friends got married. Two of my favourites gone, but not forgotten, But this sad memory always rears its ugly head once in a while.