Assault on Laguna
Editor's Notebook, August 2003
I'm writing this at 31,000 feet, on a flight from Road America to Laguna Seca. I'm on a covert scouting mission, preparing the ground for the main assault, headed by Susan, of a sofa-and-coffee-table-laden moving van and various motorized vehicles. We've committed ourselves to planting the family flag permanently on the Monterey Peninsula, in California on the outskirts of Laguna, by Labor Day. We have no exit strategy.
This past weekend, Susan and I had spent a final weekend at Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, scootering around Road America, watching the SPEED GT cars from the cozy confines of Thunder Valley and the ChampCar race from the hill overlooking turn five. Nostalgia abounded.
This coming week, I'll be at the Monterey Historics, enjoying the finest assemblage of vintage race cars anywhere in the world race on one of the world's truly legendary road racing circuits, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Susan and the sofas (not the rock group by that name) will join me for the ALMS race scheduled for just after the flag planting ceremony.
Do you demarcate your life, organize your life, plan your life, around road racing circuits or race series? I'd hate to think that I'm that kind of person, but the facts seem to speak for themselves.
There is something very special about automobile racing on the storied race courses of the world. The distant thunder of engines long since silenced can be heard in the stillness. The drivers, renowned and unknown, who have long since packed up their gear and gone, are forever doing battle. Generations of great race cars remain on display in our minds. All of that is forever alive and breathes life into present day racing.
Susan and I really do have a life. There are a great many aspects of the Monterey Peninsula that attract us. Our lives would be rich, varied and rewarding even without road racing or (gasp!) racing of any kind. Really!
Yet, as I hope for another bag of peanuts and wish that the flight attendant had left the full can of Coke, I am grateful for the great road racing tradition that spans continents and oceans. From Elkhart to Laguna, from Sebring to Watkins Glen, it's a simple hop to LeMans, Brands Hatch, and Monaco, that curious track built in the middle of a gambling casino and that takes up most of a country.
I've been to these circuits and many others, some on multiple occasions. I measure my life by the major events of my family, by the houses I've lived in, by the work I've done, by the people I've met, helped, and been helped by. I also measure my life, perhaps like you do, by the road races and race tracks I've been a part of. I'm now at a marking point in that measurement.