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Our Glorious Community  

Editor's Notebook, July 3, 2002
by T.W. Theodore

(Thunder Valley) In a distant land, at 5:30pm on a sunny Thursday afternoon, I saw my people advancing toward me in an endless column. I was standing on a vast sheet of deserted asphalt, in the middle of a quiet, lifeless, race track, somewhere in America where the West meets the ocean.

A man on a motorized skateboard chalked off spaces and over the bridge between turns five and six they came, a caravan of cars, trucks, mobile homes, and trailers of all kinds carrying race cars. With precision, with industry, and with joy, they built their racing paddock on that sheet of asphalt. Within half an hour, they were 250 race cars strong.

heroics of past generations...

They came to meet old friends, to build new friendships, to continue rivalries, to tell the old jokes, and to pursue their personal quests, both on the track and off. What had been a serene valley amidst browning hills only faintly echoing the heroics of past generations, became a bubbling, living community, full of expectation of great things to come.

These were all strangers to me and I was a stranger to them. I introduced myself, not by name, but by affiliation with a branch of their community, and fell into conversation easily about the many things we knew we had in common. I was accepted and felt at home.

...this hallowed ground.

I had come to the center of Laguna Seca to contemplate the beauty and the history of this great racing venue. I thought of Jackie Stewart, of Mark Donohue, of Stirling Moss, of Mario Andretti, of Dan Gurney, of Carroll Shelby, of Jim Hall, and of so many others, nameless men and women who have left their indelible mark on this hallowed ground.

Much to my great surprise, as I meditated, all the active members of the San Francisco Region of the Sports Car Club of America joined me. They came in person, with their families and friends, with their race cars and support equipment, and with their hopes and plans for a great weekend of racing. They recreated their community in front of me and made me welcome.

Later, as I drove to the airport, I thought about what I had just seen. Racing is all about community. As racers and race fans, we build this community wherever we gather. I realized that I had just witnessed a perfect example of the reawakening of our glorious community within one of the racing world's most storied settings. I was honored to have borne that witness.

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