As I wrap up another season of racing in Florida (getting TOO hot), I thought I’d share some of the highlights:
Race season started for me in Florida last November as the weather started to cool. After a couple of track events at the world-famous Sebring International Raceway, I traded my racing helmet for my Patrick Long Pro-Am Kart4Kids hat as Sponsor Chair for the event. The event was held the day after 12 Hours of Sebring in mid-March. The co-chairs and I headed for Daytona for the HSR Daytona Classics to “re-sign” former drivers, solicit new drivers, and coax famous pro drivers to autograph merchandise for our charity auction. We lucked out and re-signed Spencer Pumpelly, Andy Lally (eight-time Rolex 24 winner), the famous Taylor brothers, former F1 driver Sebastian Bourdais, Jan Heylen, and Katherine Legg, along with new drivers Eric Curran and Trent Hindman.
Below are pictures of Hurley Haywood and Dorsey Schrader signing wine glasses for our charity auction benefiting Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital.
Following several more track events at Sebring in December and January, I headed to Daytona International Speedway to fulfill my job as a spotter for pro team, The Racer’s Group (TRG). As a spotter, my job is to stand on top of the roof of the Daytona International Speedway (pic below) and talk to the driver, crew, crew chief, and owner while listening to race control and helping the driver navigate traffic as well as assist with race strategy concerning pit stops and re-starts.
This year, the Aston Martin was to be anchored by F1 driver Sergio Perez, but his brother drove in his place. The all-Mexican team was sponsored by Tel-Mex, owned by billionaire Carlos Slim. Unfortunately, the 4:45 am driver did NOT heed the team owner’s warning NOT to go two-wide through the famous “bus stop” and consequently ended up low man on the totem pole and got punted out of the race.
The end of January into the beginning of February found me back at Sebring for a four-day event titled 48 Hours at Sebring presented by Champion Porsche as driver and more importantly as Sponsor Chair. We raise in excess of $25,000 each year for Ronald McDonald House as a “side” venture since this is NOT a charity event. With over 400 drivers in attendance, this is the largest Porsche club race in the world and the largest amount of equipment to assemble at Sebring.
Several more track events occurred before I once again attended the famous 12 Hours of Sebring, this year as a spotter for Konrad Motorsports’ two-car lineup with Lamborghinis. Unfortunately, one car caught fire during the morning practice which took it out of the race. Since Sebring does NOT have a spotter tower to spot from, our vantage point is typically on top of a motorhome or at the top of the Chateau Elan. For the first time in the event’s 64-year history, the race was halted for two hours and 15 minutes due to lightning. The race was restarted and our car did OK, but was hurt by IMSA’s bizarre “balance of power” rules for this race.
The next morning, I headed to Palmetto, Florida as Sponsor Chair to attend the Patrick Long Pro-Am Kart4Kids race. This event naturally featured the only Porsche American factory driver, Patrick Long. I’m pleased to report after wrapping up another successful event, we raised over $65,000 for Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital.