The June Sprints
Editor's Notebook, July 1996
This past weekend, my wife and I traveled to my favorite spot on Earth, the Road America race track at Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. The SCCA June Sprints had brought over 400 race car drivers and racing machines of all types and descriptions to the rolling hillsides of the Kettle Moraine valley.
Thunder Valley is part of Road America. Its a curving, uphill short straight right after a screaming, hard braking right hander. Race cars shoot through the Valley under overhanging trees and the sound of their engines reverberates between the hillsides. Thunder Valley ends in a blind, sweeping left hander that apexes between bridge abutments.)
The scene is lovely and bucolic and the excitement in the air is tangible. For those of us who follow IndyCar, NASCAR, Formula One and other forms of professional racing, the joy of the racers at the Sprints adds another dimension to the sport. These men and women come from all across America to be together doing something they love.
The last race of the weekend featured 47 race cars on the track. They were mainly Sports 2000's with a few powerful Shelby Can-Am cars and D and C Sports Racers. It is always one of the fastest and best races of the weekend and one that I look forward to watching from trackside at Turn 5.
Andrea Kasiewicz, a young, aggressive woman driver from the Chicago area, qualified 7th over-all in her Sports 2000 (3rd in the S2 class). She drove a smooth, consistent, error-free and blindingly fast race to a second place finish. The confidence she displayed in her passing and in taking the car to the edge of braking in the turns and the precision with which she placed her car on the track were a true joy to watch. That woman's place is on the track!
The Driver of the Month for July is Dawn Vranas. She's a recent high school graduate who, like Andrea and the other drivers at the Sprints, races for the sheer joy of it. I don't know how far she will go in racing, but the strength that she draws from the thrill of competition and the challenges of the car and track have helped make her an admirable young woman. Watch her. Applaud her. Join her.