What's It All About?
Editor's Notebook, September 1999
If you're reading this column, it's probably because you understand the allure, the thrill, the addictive appeal, of motor sports. We share a common fate, you and I. We are race fans in a world that doesn't fully understand our passion. All the great loves of the world have been misunderstood.
I tell you about Thunder Valley, the sweetest spot on Earth, the hidden glen between Canada Corner and the Billy Mitchell Bridge on the four mile course at Road America in Wisconsin. You may never have experienced Thunder Valley. You may find your passion played out on other road courses, or on oval tracks, quarter mile drag strips, or the uneven terrain of the desert.
But you know what I mean.
Somewhere in your mind is the perfect race: the perfect car; the perfect track; the perfect day; the perfect competition; the perfect run. Somewhere in your mind is the image of what, for you, constitutes pure joy. That's your Thunder Valley.
We've built a virtual Thunder Valley here on the Internet. It has a track (you can picture it as you will), a pit area for drivers, teams, and their fans, a drivers' trailer so the teams can get away from the bustle of the crowd, a press box for us all to share information about our teams, and a V.I.P. tent to attract the suits who pay the bills.
We share, in our Thunder Valley, our successes and our not-yet-successes. Most important, we share ourselves with each other.
Thunder Valley, like all of racing, is about people. It's about Lynn Bertin who is organizing the Monday evening get-togethers in the Drivers' Trailer. It's about the drivers and their fans who drop by to chat each week.
It's about Lisa Devlin Arken, who chronicled for you the building of her D Sports Racer and is now telling you, in her monthly Racing Diary, about her racing experiences. It's about wimsa, the Women in Motor Sports Association of Australia, which is featured in this month's Distant Thunder.
Thunder Valley is about the growing number of women drivers, some of whom are featured here. Currently, we have thirty six accomplished women drivers whose careers are highlighted in the pages of the Thunder Valley web site. This month, we've added Sarah Fisher, an eighteen year old pavement midget phenomenon who will be getting an IRL test this month. Read about her and wish her well.
My wife, Susan, and I joke about my interest in fast women. I believe, sincerely and powerfully, in the ability of women drivers to make an impact on the racing community. Thunder Valley Racing is about all the people who are working hard to find the best and highest use for their talents at the track.