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!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Historics: SVRA race results for 2013 U.S. Vintage Racing National Championship at Circuit of the Americas

[Photo:  Historic/vintage racer on Jumbo-tron sign at main entrance to COTA, Circuit of the Americas, Austin, Texas -- October, 2013.  Credit:  Connie Ann Kirk].

On Wednesday, October 30, the Sportscar Vintage Racing Association (SVRA) posted official results for all races held last weekend at the inaugural U.S. Vintage Racing National Championships at Circuit of the Americas (COTA). Rochester Motorsports presents results from the feature races of the weekend ....

To read the full article with race results, please go HERE..........

Friday, October 18, 2013

Car Songs (?): "Start Me Up" by the Rolling Stones

The above HD concert video is fun to watch, but the vocal in the "video" below is actually the track of the song  (better vocal)!

Well, yeh; it's a sexy song; I get that.  But could it also be a car (or perhaps motorcycle) song? 

What do you think? 


If you start me up
If you start me up I'll never stop
If you start me up
If you start me up I'll never stop

I've been running hot
You got me ticking gonna blow my top
If you start me up
If you start me up I'll never stop
Never stop, never stop, never stop

You make a grown man cry
You make a grown man cry
You make a grown man cry
Spread out the oil, the gasoline
I walk smooth, ride in a mean, mean machine
Start it up

If you start it up
Kick on the starter give it all you got, you got, you got
I can't compete with the riders in the other heats
If you rough it up
If you like it you can slide it up
Slide it up, slide it up, slide it up

Don't make a grown man cry
Don't make a grown man cry
Don't make a grown man cry
My eyes dilate, my lips go green
My hands are greasy, she's a mean, mean machine
Start it up

Start me up
Give it all you got
You got to never, never, never stop
Slide it up, baby just slide it up
Slide it up, slide it up, never, never, never

You make a grown man cry
You make a grown man cry
You make a grown man cry
Ride like the wind at double speed
I'll take you places that you've never, never seen

Start it up
Love the day when we'll never stop, never stop
Never, never, never stop
Tough me up
Never stop, never stop

You, you, you make a grown man cry
You, you make a dead man come
You, you make a dead man come

Songwriters:  Mick Jagger, Keith Richards
Copyright:  EMI Music Publishing Ltd.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

"Racer's Simple Prayer" by Connie Ann Kirk

"Racer's Simple Prayer"
by Connie Ann Kirk
(c) All rights reserved

Let not
Speed equal greed
Right equal spite
Thrill equal spill
Turn turn to burn.
Let me go fast,
Pass with panache,
Finish at last -- in
O’ Lord!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Historics: SVRA to offer COTA orientation for 1st U.S. Vintage Racing National Championship

[Photo:  SVRA will hold its first U.S. Vintage Racing National Championship at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas October 25-27, 2013.  Credit:  COTA].

Ahead of its first national championship, the Sportscar Vintage Racing Association (SVRA) will offer coaching specialized to the country's purpose-built Formula 1 track at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. According to a press release issued Monday from SVRA, this instruction will be a featured part of the historic racing group's first SVRA U.S. Vintage Racing National Championship and will take place at the track on Wednesday, October 23, ahead of the race weekend of October 25-27.


Friday, October 11, 2013

Historics: 'Vintage Motorsport' to offer awards at 1st SVRA U.S. Vintage Racing National Championship at COTA

 [Photos:  Top -- Award.  Credit: 'Vintage Motorsport' magazine.  Bottom:  SVRA logo.].
Vintage Motorsport magazine will sponsor five awards at the first SVRA U.S. Vintage Racing National Championship in Austin, Texas later this month, according to a release from the publication on Friday. "Vintage Motorsport" is the official magazine of SVRA.

READ MORE AT Rochester Motorsports,, HERE.........

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Historics: SVRA posts preliminary entry list for the U.S. Vintage National Championship at Circuit of the Americas, 2013

[Photo:  SVRA Gold Helmet to be awarded to the winning racers at the U.S. Vintage Racing National Championship at Circuit of the Americas in 2013].

If you race historic or vintage race cars in the United States, or are an avid fan of historic cars or race events, you're probably aware that the Sportscar Vintage Racing Association (SVRA) is planning its first ever U.S. Vintage Racing National Championship at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas later this month. Recently, SVRA posted a preliminary entry list for that event to its website. The championship takes place October 25-27.

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

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Formula 1's Francois Cevert - 40 Years later at Watkins Glen

(Photo credit:  Connie Ann Kirk)

(Photo credit:  Unknown)
 (Photo credit:  Unknown)
[Photos:  Top - Small remembrance left by 2 motor sports enthusiasts at the esses at the Watkins Glen racetrack on Oct. 6, 2013.  Middle & Bottom - French F1 racer, Francois Cevert (1944 - 1973) who died in a tragic race car crash at Watkins Glen on Oct. 6, 1973.]

As it turned out, I was at the track on the 40th anniversary anyway, but I had made a mental note of the date of Francois Cevert's death at Watkins Glen ever since I read about the accident in more detail in Sir Jackie Stewart's autobiography, Winning is Not Enough (Headline, 2010) in late 2012.  I knew I'd want to find a way to be at my "home track" on the anniversary.

No one should have to give his/her life in chasing one's passion, I thought, but it happened so much more often in motor sports in those days.  I was haunted by the idea that a sport I've been growing to enjoy watching and writing about more and more is also one for which people give their lives.  What does it mean to keep participating in an activity that seems so dangerous (to the layperson, anyway, if not to the racers), I keep asking myself.  Why not take up something that is challenging physically and mentally, that takes skill, but is not so costly both in terms of risk to life or limb or in simple, financial expense?

Well.  For a new book I'm writing, I am still chasing down answers to those and other questions with racers. 

On Sunday, though, a day that started out foggy and hazy and got unseasonably warm (into the 80s), my thoughts were about wanting to pay homage to someone I never knew but whose history had become an important part of my studies of the sport. 

Watkins Glen is a track I go to often.  The thought of someone dying there doing what I go there to watch is not a comfortable thought to have.  Many people I talk to often were at the track that day in 1973.  They talked to me about their memories.  All were clearly still moved by the thought of that day's events, even though it was 40 years ago.

Most people I talked to on Sunday remembered that the French National Anthem was played after that morning's qualifying session, soon after the accident that, I was told, happened just before noon.  That tribute was one way people around the track realized that the rumors of the severity of what may have happened at the esses were, sadly, true. 

The esses seem to remain a tricky and dangerous spot on the Watkins Glen track.  Now a host of NASCAR races (and other series) each season, the track and its esses were the site of several spins, crashes, and other incidents as recently at pro races as during the 2012 and 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup seasons.

The drivers accelerate going up the hill at the esses after taking the 90-degree Turn 1 and right-hand sweep.  What makes the esses so dangerous?  Well, I'll have to find out more about that.


On Sunday, I wanted to find the closest spot possible, or the most appropriate place, to leave my little bouquet of 4 white roses and print-out photo of Mr. Cevert.  Outside the protective fencing some distance away, I searched behind the blue Armco barrier at the esses for any "sign" that might still be there.  Was there a difference in the fencing from when it had been repaired that might show from the back?  Could I tell anything from the trees back there; there had been trees in the background of the horrific archival photo of the accident.  Was it at that wooden post?  Was it at that patch of fencing where the back of the Armco goes from blue to black?

There were differences in the fencing, but the differences occurred in more than one spot, and of course I had no idea about whether they were from that particular repair in 1973, or some other time.  The trees there looked like they did in the picture from 40 years ago -- shouldn't they be bigger now, I wondered?  I walked along the track back there for some distance, lost in thought.  Should I leave my flowers outside the track, or inside?  I walked back.  I decided to leave them inside.  Cevert was involved in racing as an insider.  Even I, writing about the sport and studying it steadily for such a short time by comparison (but now even with media credentials to race events), could no longer call myself totally an outsider.

(Photo:  Small tribute at the esses.  Connie Ann Kirk.)

Later in the day, I spoke with a lifelong resident of Watkins Glen and racing enthusiast who works with the archives at the International Motor Racing Research Center in town.   Independently, he had also brought flowers in tribute.  Growing up in Watkins Glen, he and his brother had been to most if not all of the Formula 1 Grands Prix.  His older brother was even a local "gofer" for the Stewart/Cevert Tyrrell team back then.  Spare parts he had secured at the team's request were on the car, that car.  The lifelong resident was kind enough to allow me to go with him to the spot as he remembered it.  It was so long ago; he was a teenager then, but his memory seemed strong.

We scrutinized the track from the distance of the spectator area inside the circuit; we studied the Armco, the background.  He searched his memory for the landmark he had in mind that was very specific as recently as 2 years ago when he was able to go on the track itself and show the spot to someone from Europe who had come so far, also wanting to find it.  Finally, we settled on a spot at his recollection and laid them down.  We lingered there, and talked.

Memories can be etched in such a way that they are forever altered.  They may dim a bit; the details may get a little blurred around the edges, but the imprint lasts a lifetime.  Francois Cevert clearly left an imprint on this sport and in the hearts and memories of those at the Glen that day.  He meant a lot to those around the world who followed his racing career and had such high hopes for his future.

From what I have heard and read, he was loved at Watkins Glen and in so many other places, and by so many people.  Locals still remember him fondly staying at the Glen Motor Inn where so many of the Grand Prix racers stayed back then, or playing the piano and laughing at the Seneca Lodge where they went to celebrate.  I'm so sorry that this track where I now spend so much of my time was so cruel to him (even as it rewarded him for his efforts 2 years earlier with his first and last Formula 1 Grand Prix win).  It has been a place of triumph and tragedy for other racers and their families, friends, and colleagues as well.

(Team-mates Francois Cevert and Jackie Stewart in happier days.  Credit:  Unknown).

Then a strange thing happened:  There were amateur races (SCCA) taking place on Sunday.  After I laid my flowers, I went back behind the Armco outside the track to think some more and see if my new insights from the kind Watkins Glen native were any more helpful in defining the spot from that side.  While I was there, amazingly, a tire apparently broke loose from a race car and flew up high into the catch fencing way over my head, right there.  Right then.  In the esses.  (The catch fencing, by the way, was not there 40 years ago).

To have that happen at that particular moment while I was still so lost in reverie about Cevert's accident, trying to see it in my mind at that very place, was strange indeed.  It felt like an echo from the past, an acknowledgment from beyond.   At one point, I wondered if my imagination had gone into overdrive so intensely that I'd fantasized the flying tire into being.  I went back inside the track and saw a car stopped at the corner station; apparently, the driver was ok.  But the danger -- it is still out there.

In watching the video below later on, I saw what looked like a tire flying away in the photograph of Cevert's Tyrrell race car back then, too.  If that's true, perhaps this little coincidence of events was a small thank you from beyond, for going there to remember, for searching so hard to find the "exact spot."  It seemed to confirm my efforts.  Or, at least, my active writer's imagination likes to think of it that way.

In any case, continue to rest in peace, racer Francois Cevert.  The motor sports community continues to remember, and those of us somewhat newer to the sport continue to learn about you and offer you and your colleagues our respect.

[Bottom photo above:  Trees from perhaps the same cluster or "family" of trees to those shown in the top photo above, behind Cevert's accident).

(Above:  Believed to be about here. 
Note the Armco is now 3 layers high here instead of the 2 layers of 40 years ago)
(From behind the Armco -- now with catch fencing atop it).

In memorium:  Here is some video footage from that day at the Formula 1 U.S. Grand Prix, Watkins Glen, NY - October 6, 1973 (Note:  The link will take you away from this page to view the video on YouTube):