I missed last week due to a busy schedule but am happy to be back so here we go!
I am thankful that this weekend is the Honda Indy in Toronto. An odd thing to be thankful for you might think, but for me it’s less about the race itself and more about seeing all of the familiar faces I have come to know over the 10 plus years I have been volunteering at the event. I started off on Pass Control, even led my own team for a couple of years, moved up to grids, got to drive in the drivers parade (I drove Patrick Carpentier, my sister got to drive Alex Tagliani), have watched my darling husband grin from ear to ear as he got to be a pace car driver for the support series and drive a super-nice Ford GT (it was soooooooooo cool!) and now I help out with worker registration etc. The same faces congregating every year for a few days at the same site, doing the same jobs, it really never feels like a year has passed when we all meet again.
The marshals, the crews, the volunteers, we all smile and wave and it takes mere minutes before we are all back in our groove and doing what we love with the people we have known for years. It may be only this event that we see them at for the year, but we all make it count. We all work hard in our respective roles, but all make sure to have some fun too!
A few faces come and go, but the core remains. I know two faces that I miss terribly to this day that were part of this event. The irrepressible Tom and always smiling and laughing Lou. Returning to the event I swear their spirits are there. It’s a wonderful feeling.
I will never forget lining up at mock grid out with those bright orange boom sticks directing the Canadian Military on and off the track. Don’t laugh, I totally teared up, I give them all the respect they deserve and more. And so did the crowd, you should have heard the roar and seen the standing ovation that carried on for them. Amazing. What a moment to have been a part of.
I remember seeing my old go-karting coach, and former Indy Lights driver, Lee Benthem last year twice and screeching with excitement as I hadn’t seen him since, well, the year before! My other coach David Empringham, another Canadian superstar who still races in Grand Am from time to time, was also there and I made sure to get hugs from both of them. They know I get a little hyper sometimes LOL.
I also remember the year that I wore my winter, yes, winter, coat and mittens at mock grid out it was so cold. I swear to you I saw flakes falling.
I remember the year that Tommy Kendall kept coming up to the exit from the building in his drivers suit but with no car. I kept teasing him about his team not wanting to give him his car. We had some laughs. I was impressed and we exchanged big smiles when he finally drove up in a car ready to race.
I am thankful for the final Indy with Tom when we were ‘Grids Two’. I had so much fun, who knew it would be his last. I am so thankful for those memories.
I am thankful for so many memories and fun times at this event.
Tomorrow is Free Friday, if you have the day off, go make some memories to be thankful for, I’ll be there and tweeting mine to you all!
***This is not a promo post, I am genuinely writing this from my experiences, I’m sentimental, what can I say?***