The Racing Fan’s Holiday Gift Guide

Time for the annual dilemma- what to get the race fan on your shopping list. Just in the St. Nick of time, The Pit Window’s annual  gift guide is here. There are some old favorites and new suggestions.  I can tell you from personal experience, however much racing related stuff a fan has, it probably isn’t enough.  Self storage was probably created by a race fan to store all his stuff. Enjoy. I hope this helps some of you find that perfect gift.

On Track

A 2-seater ride at IMS or another track is gift that requires no space in the home. Indy Racing Experience has provided rides for many years.  This group is very organized and professional.  A 2- seater ride costs $499. There are also single seat cars you can drive yourself at IMS for $1,000.  IRE also offer a combination package with a 2-seater and a self drive for $1,200.

If you want Mario AndrettiAdam’s Wooden Creations to drive you around, a mere $3,299 will get you there.

A gift membership to Indycar Nation makes rides available at races to members. I have been fortunate enough to get a couple of rides through my membership. Memberships can be purchased through the Indycar site.

A Unique Keepsake

I discovered an unusual gift last year thanks to my friend and fellow blogger Patti Nolen, author of the I Kissed the Bricks site.

Adam’s Wooden Creations makes wooden coasters and other items. He creates coasters with tracks and driver names and numbers. In addition to Indycar tracks, Adam also will do a NASCAR or Formula 1 circuit.

You can order from Adam’s Etsy shop, Adam’s Wooden Creations. Here is the link:

https://www.etsy.com/shop/AdamsWoodenCreations?ref=search_shop_redirect

If you have something special in mind, leave Adam a note and he will be happy to discuss it with you.

Books and DVDs

Some of my favorite books are shown above. I also highly recommend the updated Gentleman, Start Your Engines, Wilbur Shaw’s autobiography. The updated section continues the story from 1952, where the original stopped. I reviewed the book earlier this year. You can find the two part review here:

https://wordpress.com/post/thepitwindow.blog/8646  and Part II-

https://wordpress.com/post/thepitwindow.blog/8663

Of the books pictured, Black Noon is my favorite. Tammy Kaehler’s Kiss the Bricks is an entertaining mystery centered around the 500. Her hero, Kate Reilly, has other adventures in sportscar series, chronicled in other books by Kaehler, such as Dead Man’s Switch.

Books I hope to get to next year include Chasing Checkers by C M Hinchcliffe.

Some new DVDs have come out this year, including Born Racer, the story of Scott Dixon’s 2017 Indycar season.

Will T. Ribbs has a biography documentary, Uppity,  soon to be released and available for pre-order at Amazon. It is produced by Adam Corolla, who also produced the Paul Newman documentary.

Other documentaries on  dvd I recommend are Winning: the Racing Life of Paul Newman, Mclaren, and Senna. The theatrical movie Rush is a great depiction of the 1975 Formula 1  championship battle between Niki Lauda and James Hunt.

I hope this helps with your race fan shopping. If any of you have other recommendations, please let me know and I will post them here. Happy Shopping.

 

 

Born Racer: The Driver Is Not the Only Hero

Born Racer is a movie about heroes. Of course there is the driver, Scott Dixon, who knows the risks in his profession. But there is also his family, wife Emma and daughters Poppy and Tilly, who show outward strength while inside they are a bundle of nerves. The crew needs to get the car in perfect running condition and manage the race to achieve the best result possible. Sometimes things happen beyond their control, as in the 2017 Indianapolis 500.

Race Day 2017 begins at 5 am in two places. The garages at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway open and Ken Szymanski, the tire man for Scott Dixon’s car, begins checking tire pressures as he ponders what the next twelve hours will bring. In the Dixon motor home, Emma Davies-Dixon prepares breakfast for Scott, who is already focused on the day ahead. He sits quietly watching prerace coverage on a local television station. She sits with him, but doesn’t speak.

Activity at the track continues at an ever quickening pace as race time approaches. After the Ganassi team meets, Dixon and his family walk hand in hand to the grid. As Scott dons his helmet, Emma shares her thoughts about drivers who didn’t come back and the families they left behind.

” I don’t want it to be my turn,” she thinks as the race is about to start. She can only wait anxiously for three hours to know.

Shortly after the first pit stop, Dixon collided with Jay Howard in a horrific crash which sent his car flying into the inside catch fence and wall, destroying his car. Anxious moments are reflected on Emma’s face and the faces of the crew. Dixon gets out of the car on his own. there are more tense moments as Emma waits for him to come out of the infield hospital. somehow, Dixon has a broken ankle, but no other injuries.

One of the most riveting moments of the film is a look at the team on Dixon’s pit stand staring in stunned silence in the seconds just after the accident. The camera captures the dread and concern they feel watching the replay on the video board.

Later we see Dixon return to the motor home at the track being happily met by his daughters and Emma. She talks about how the car saved Scott’s life with relief and still some terror in her voice.

The season and the championship pursuit moves on. Kate Gundlach, a new assistant engineer with the team, talks about seeking perfection in her job to give Dixon the best car possible. Gundlach grew up in a racing family. She is passionate about the sport and her role. Winning the pole and having a chance to win the 500 was exciting, but the chance to win a championship really motivates her.

With just a single win at Road America and some frustrations at other races, there is still an outside shot at the title in the final race at Sonoma. The Penske team has a big advantage with their aero package and Josef Nnewgarden cruises to the title.

Emma and Scott stand together in pit lane. She tells him, “I’m really excited about next year.” As it turns out, that was a prescient statement.

The movie is a tribute to the best current driver in Indycar, who has already established his place among the all time greats of the sport.It also honors his family and team. We get an intimate behind the scenes look at his family and the crew. We see their single focus on one goal, the support they provide each other, and their resiliency when difficulties arise.

Some of my favorite scenes:

Dixon relaxing at home in the pool with his daughters on a rare day off.

Kate Gundlach preparing the steering wheeling with total focus, care, and love,

Emma’s tension while waiting to hear that Scott is okay after the wreck.

Ken Szymanski comparing Scott to Mario Andretti and Ayrton Senna, whom he also worked with. He says that three have that something extra which motivates him to work harder.

The home movies of Dixon’s karting days when he was a kid.

Ron Dixon, Scott’s father, talking of all the money he put into Scott’s racing. He worked extra hours and took out loans just to keep Scott’s career going. “It was all worth it,” he says.

Born Racer is available through Amazon. It can also be downloaded for viewing from iTunes.