Motor Sport Muse by Connie Ann Kirk

Connie Ann Kirk, Ph.D. is a writer living in upstate New York. She has been credentialed by the FIA to write about Formula 1, credentialed by NASCAR and IndyCar for its races, and by historic / vintage entities like SVRA and Goodwood to write about their events in the U.S. and U.K.. Connie is working on a book about racers and racing. She created, writes, and maintains Motor Sport Muse as a not-for-profit online column / blog and bulletin board for participants, fans, and enthusiasts in the motor sport community and other interested readers. Thank you for visiting!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

SCCA: Announcer tells it like it is at Watkins Glen International



(Photo:  Sign on door to the announcer's booth, Watkins Glen International.  Credit:  Connie Ann Kirk).

It’s a high-profile job, given that one’s voice carries out onto the racetrack, in the paddock, up the steps of the grandstands, into the garage, and nearly everywhere else for all to hear, but somebody’s got to do it – announcing at Sports Car Club of America’s (SCCA) race events when they are held at Watkins Glen International. The latest man to occupy the seat at the SCCA microphone is Josh Ashby, 29, who hails from Watkins Glen............

..........See my story of SCCA's announcer at WGI, here at Examiner.com.

[Muse:  Thank you to Josh Ashby and WGI for allowing me to view a "behind the scenes" look at announcing at WGI].



Thursday, July 18, 2013

Emmy Awards 2013 include nominations for Jay Leno, Jerry Seinfeld car programs on the Internet

 

(Jay Leno and Jerry Seinfeld are both nominated for a 2013 Primetime Emmy Award for their Internet programs about cars.  Credit:  Getty Images.)

When the 2013 Primetime Emmy Awards were announced Thursday morning, included in the 71-page full press release of nominations were 2 that most people might not expect -- comedians Jay Leno and Jerry Seinfeld were nominated for shows they produce on the Internet. 

READ MORE ABOUT IT HERE...

If you're interested in the full list of nominations, check out this other article on Examiner.com from my TV  Over 20 page.

I guess I never thought of the Internet as being eligible for television awards.  Am I behind the times in that?  I know there is more and more original programming happening online; however, I would not have thought that the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences would have put these programs under its umbrella.  This year, Netflix is actually making news because it also has Emmy nominations.  Is our definition of television changing?  Perhaps.

As far as cars go -- Leno's show, "Jay Leno's Garage," features cars, but he also chats with motor sports book authors, which I like.  Check out an article about his interview with Watkins Glen's Michael Argetsinger and his book about Formula 1 at the Glen here.

Seinfeld continues his comedy about "nothing" theme with his online show, "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee."  He picks up a fellow comedian in a car he describes, talks with him/her about the car, and then they go get coffee and chat some more there and on the way back.

Interesting how both of these comedians enjoy their sporty cars. 

[Muse:  Do comedy and cars go together?  What do you think!].



Wednesday, July 17, 2013

DreamWorks TURBO gets quick start with IndyCar help

 
 
(Photo:  Turbo the racing snail from Turbo the animated movie by DreamWorks, distributed by Twentieth-Century Fox.  Credit:  Twentieth-Century Fox.).


Going to see this movie this weekend (opening weekend).  I may be the only woman there without a child in tow!  Ha. 

Here's the Examiner.com article I wrote about the movie on its opening day. 

Interesting to note that IndyCar supports the film -- including racer Dario Franchitti who served as a technical consultant.

[Muse:  Racing's action and drama seem like they would make the sport a natural for film treatments; however, many race fans say that few race films earn their respect and appreciation.  What does it take for a movie about racing to earn high marks from the motor racing community?  Apparently, one important criteria (in speaking with longtime motor racing fans) is an authentic rendering of the action on the track.  Apparently, this is more complicated and tricky to achieve in a feature film than one might expect.].

Let me know if you like TURBO! 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

A historic Fangio, Moss Mercedes race car sold at a historic auction price at Goodwood Festival of Speed -- over $29M



[Photos:  Mercedes-Benz W196 raced by Juan Manuel Fangio, Stirling Moss and others.  Competed in 1954, 1955 Grands Prix.  To date, holds the world record for the highest amount paid for a car at auction -- over $29 million.  Sold at Goodwood Festival of Speed, July 12, 2013.  Photo credit:  Goodwood, Bonhams].

What an historic race car, and what a price!

See the article about this here.

[Muse:  I hope the person or organization who bought this will make it available for people to look at and see.  So historic.].






Saturday, July 13, 2013

NASCAR: Kyle Busch burns out Rochester ahead of Cheez-It 355 at The Glen


[NASCAR's Kyle Busch "burning out" on the streets of Rochester, NY on July 11, 2013.  Photo credit:  Connie Ann Kirk.].

If you like the smell and smoke of burning rubber (and what true NASCAR fan doesn't, if s/he is being honest), then Thursday in downtown Rochester, NY was the place to be.  Ha!

Anytime race car drivers in their race cars have access to a closed city street for their own amusement, it's likely to be a fun time for them and for their fans. 

I covered this event for Watkins Glen International and my Rochester Motor Sports page on Examiner.com.  I was leery about driving into downtown Rochester (I don't drive in cities -- too directionally challenged and get too hyper!); however, when the day dawned bright, sunny, and full of promise on Thursday, I decided to trust the preparations I had provisionally made for the trip and actually go ahead and follow through with it.  Even though NASCAR is not my own first personal racing passion, it's a favorite of a few family members, and is also the largest racing event at my home track (WGI) each season.  I did enjoy the day.

I had never been so close to a race car "burn-out," and didn't expect it to smell as strongly as it did!  There were little bits of tire shreddings (ha) on the road afterwards, and kids ran out immediately after the street went quiet to pick up the debris.  They were followed quickly by adults, and hey; I figured, when would I ever get a chance again to pick up NASCAR tire debris for some NASCAR fans I know, so I scooted out to pick up a little bit, too, feeling a bit silly.  All part of the adventure of the day.  Sort it out later!  Ha.

Anyway, here's the article about the demonstration and here's the article about the lunch and Q&A at the Radisson Riverside Hotel where Mr. Busch signed autographs and answered questions from fans. 

I will say that the "happy" little M&Ms car has to be my favorite of the NASCAR field -- so cheerful with that bright yellow background and all those primary colors of smiling M&M faces all around -- ha!  The kids there loved it, and it was fun to watch *them*. 

Article about the "burn-out."

Article about the lunch and Q&A.

[Muse:  The car did not go fast at all, with everyone lining both sides of the street as they were.  I wonder about insurance for such an event?  There was a lot of responsibility there -- do something exciting, but don't hurt anyone!  I suppose other drivers would say it's pretty easy to "burn rubber" without endangering anyone.  Apparently, the mayor of the city loved it and wants to do something "bigger" next year.  Will look forward to seeing what that may turn out to be!].







Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Car Song: "Fast Car" by Tracy Chapman - "Is it fast enough so we can fly away?"







"Fast Car" by Tracy Chapman

Such a moving song -- oops.  Didn't mean the pun.

Have always liked it.

Above she is singing it; below are the lyrics.



"Fast Car"

by Tracy Chapman

1988

You got a fast car
I want a ticket to anywhere
Maybe we make a deal
Maybe together we can get somewhere

Anyplace is better
Starting from zero got nothing to lose
Maybe we'll make something
But me myself I got nothing to prove

You got a fast car
And I got a plan to get us out of here
I been working at the convenience store
Managed to save just a little bit of money

We won't have to drive too far
Just across the border and into the city
You and I can both get jobs
And finally see what it means to be living

You see my old man's got a problem
He live with the bottle that's the way it is
He says his body's too old for working
I say his body's too young to look like his

My mama went off and left him
She wanted more from life than he could give
I said somebody's got to take care of him
So I quit school and that's what I did

You got a fast car
But is it fast enough so we can fly away?
We gotta make a decision
We leave tonight or live and die this way

See I remember we were driving, driving in your car
The speed so fast I felt like I was drunk
City lights lay out before us
And your arm felt nice wrapped 'round my shoulder

And I had a feeling that I belonged
I had a feeling I could be someone, be someone, be someone

You got a fast car
We go cruising entertain ourselves
You still ain't got a job
And I work in the market as a checkout girl

I know things will get better
You'll find work and I'll get promoted
We'll move out of the shelter
Buy a bigger house and live in the suburbs

See I remember we were driving, driving in your car
The speed so fast I felt like I was drunk
City lights lay out before us
And your arm felt nice wrapped 'round my shoulder

And I had a feeling that I belonged
I had a feeling I could be someone, be someone, be someone

You got a fast car
And I got a job that pays all our bills
You stay out drinking late at the bar
See more of your friends than you do of your kids

I'd always hoped for better
Thought maybe together you and me'd find it
I got no plans I ain't going nowhere
So take your fast car and keep on driving

See I remember when we were driving, driving in your car
The speed so fast I felt like I was drunk
City lights lay out before us
And your arm felt nice wrapped 'round my shoulder

And I had a feeling that I belonged
I had a feeling I could be someone, be someone, be someone

You got a fast car
But is it fast enough so you can fly away?
You gotta make a decision
Leave tonight or live and die this way

*

Muse:

This song is about important social issues, of course, but I wonder how much, if any, of the attraction for motor racing is a need or desire for escape?  A fast car, or a car of one's own, especially in the U.S., I think, means freedom.  If you have a car, you can go just about anywhere you want, as long as you have money for gas and maintenance.  That's huge for someone who comes from a small town, or who feels a need to get away from troubles at home, or for the adventurer...

Interestingly, escape does not seem to be an obvious factor with race car drivers, at least on the surface.  Many have taken to the sport directly from family members who race -- fathers, uncles, moms, grandparents, siblings.  They don't leave "home," so to speak -- run away to the circus, as it were -- to race, though if they become professionals, they do enter a traveling circus environment in that they must go to where the races are each weekend.  They stay, many times still living in the same hometown where they grew up, often racing for the same teams as their predecessors.  Escape doesn't seem to be in their equation.

Amateurs who race may or may not be using racing as an escape.  Like any past-time, sliding into a race car and giving a race your complete focus may be just the escape they need to recharge their batteries in a healthy way to come back to the "real" world and deal with work responsibilities, family, community, etc.  It is certainly no indictment on the race driver hobbyist who may use his/her hobby to get away from the trials and entanglements of daily life once in awhile.  The same will be said of those who go fishing or swim or exercise or go shopping!  We all need escape to keep our brains healthy and to be able to cope with life and also appreciate whatever it is in our lives we have removed ourselves from for awhile.

Cars are made by people, and they have changed our culture.  People can move farther, faster, relocate, eat their lunches in them, sleep in them, do other things in them......!

Cars play a pivotal role in so many of our lives -- they need not be race cars.  But when you elevate your interest in them to collecting them or racing them or reading about them, etc. what does that mean? 

Is it an accident (no pun intended, again!) that so many of us individually, or we collectively as a culture, have a romance with the automobile?  And if it's a race car, isn't that a natural progression, a heightened aspect of this same desire and fascination? 

What is the role of escape in it all?

What do you think, dear reader?





Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Historics: VIR loses trademark landmark


[Photo: Iconic oak tree at VIRginia International Speedway.  Credit:  www.virnow.com].

America's Motorsport Resort - VIRginia International Speedway - has lost an old friend. According to VIR officials, the iconic oak tree that became a trademark for racers and fans at the scenic track and even appears on the track's logo and in the name of its signature tavern, fell on Tuesday, broken at the base.

READ MORE...........

[Muse:  I can imagine how this lovely tree became so iconic at this road course, especially as it shades the cars briefly as they race by on this sharp turn, as shown in the photo above.  Kind of a wonder it has not suffered an accident from being struck by a vehicle.  Too bad about the loss...].

COTA will host the inaugural SVRA U.S. Vintage National Championship, Oct. 25-27, 2013

[Photo:  COTA logo.  CircuitoftheAmericas.com].

Circuit of The Americas (COTA) and the Sportscar Vintage Racing Association (SVRA) confirmed on Friday that the inaugural United States Vintage Racing National Championship will be held at the home of the FORMULA 1 UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX in Austin, Texas, Oct. 25-27, 2013.

According to both COTA and SVRA, entries are coming in quickly for the unique series featuring hundreds of historically significant vintage racing cars from the United States, Canada, Mexico and Europe. The first U.S. Vintage Racing National Championship will feature approximately 500 vintage race cars that will compete in 12 classes with a national champion crowned in each class. Each race will be run on the full 3.4 mile Grand Prix circuit.

READ MORE..........

[Muse:  Well, now -- this should be a good one, don't you think?  Just one month before the 2013 Formula 1 U.S. Grand Prix!].



Monday, July 1, 2013

Sahlen's 6 Hours of The Glen winners find historic track challenging


[Photo:  Christian Fittipaldi kisses his car after achieving victory in the 6 Hours of The Glen, June 30, 2013.  Credit:  Getty Images.].

Sahlen's 6 Hours of The Glen winners find historic track challenging

The world comes to Watkins Glen International, both to race and to watch racing. Every year, racers return and racers encounter the historic upstate New York racetrack for the first time. The group of winning drivers at the Sahlen's 6 Hours of The Glen on Sunday was no exception.
 
READ MORE.........