Sunday, June 21, 2009

I recently read something in the Toronto Star complaining about how proud parents are shown during F1 broadcasts when their child wins, namely Jensen Button. Jensen’s been racing in Formula 1 for nearly ten years and, prior to this year, had only one victory to his name. This win came after the expected winners all failed out. Jensen has never (until this year) been considered a great driver. He has always been someone in the wrong car at the wrong time. So naturally, now that he’s winning, people like him. It is heartwarming to see the pride on a father’s face as his son receives the checkered flag. To say that it is demeaning or has nothing to do with the racing is absolutly NOT true. Who were the first people to believe in the drivers? Their parents. Who had to drive their kids to the tracks, establish their rides when they were still not street legal to be driving? Their parents. Who is now getting some added justification that their children have made it? Their parents. When Jensen’s father is shown hugging the crew, it is not for the rest of the world to enjoy, it is a moment for the family of the winner. As Lewis once said, “Without my family, I wouldn't be able to do anything. I owe everything to them.”

It is very hypocritical to say that they never do such a thing in NASCAR. When Jimmie Johnson wins a race, the camera goes to his wife with his crew. Well, just because Jensen (or Lewis Hamilton) isn’t married doesn’t mean he shouldn’t get the expression of pride on his family’s face. Why should a driver be criticized because doesn’t yet have a spouse? Why not show someone who’s been there his entire life? Maybe NASCAR should look back through their races and decide if the people responsible for the driver being in the car aren’t just as important as the driver’s spouses. So instead of talking about how pathetic it is to see Lewis Hamilton’s father and mentally challenged brother cheering on their favorite driver from every single track, certain people would rather see the supermodel wives holding an umbrella to keep out of the sun. Oh yeah, that’s quality TV right there.

Especially for this Father’s Day, I hope that when the winner crosses the start/finish line, the producers of the show go straight for the look of glee on the father’s face.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Green flag!

The tires have been warmed, the cars fueled, and the drivers have mentally prepared themselves for this extensive race. To the drivers, it doesn't matter if the race is one lap or a thousand, the goal is the same: to cross the line first. Winning brings a certain element unlike any other. The prize money and trophy are relatively unimportant. What they strive for is the glory, the pride, the knowledge that they managed to hold off other talent and that they are the best. Standing atop the podium is the moment drivers prepare for their entire lives and a moment they will have trouble forgetting.  To get there, however, they must first endure hours of grueling forces on both car and driver, weather conditions that are virtually unpredictable, rivalries lasting decades, wrecks that leave everyone gasping for air, and the mental exhaustion of crews that seep out and make every lap seem twice as long. Despite all this, racing is a dream that many children wish come true. It is a dream I have been living since birth. When other children’s first words were “Mommy” or “Daddy,” mine was “car.” When other kids were going to Disney World, I was going to Sebring International Raceway. When my friends had unrealistic wants of ponies and castles, I simply wanted a go-kart. Upon getting that go-kart, others were doing homework while my dad was standing outside our house with a stopwatch, trying to get my lap time from around our block to cut off seconds. I learned how to read from Car and Driver and by the time I was two, I could name every make on the street. Between a beach day and a track day at Homestead Miami Speedway… well, you know where I was.  Oh, and have I mentioned that I’m a GIRL?!

            People all around the world have been living under the impression that girls can’t know anything about cars for far too long. Well, here I am to change that. Every week, I will explore new cars, the excitement of racing, great new ideas being shown on the streets, and much, much more. So buckle up your five-point harness, flip the ignition switch, put it in to first gear, and away we’ll go!