Yesterday while listening to an interview with Nascar's legendary Bobby Allison I couldn't help but stop and think about a couple of La Carrera Panamericana teams that had run last year's event and had returned again this year for more. The comment that Allison made that caught my attention was when he said, "It sure would be nice to be remembered for what a good driver I was instead of one of being in one of the most famous crashes."
Last year's La Carrera Panamericana saw what will always remembered as one of it's worst crashes. Fortunately nobody was serious injured. But what I find amazing about the wreck was that I know for a fact most people would not have come back again and for a myriad of reasons much too long to even go in to. However a few that stand out are the cost factor, fear factor, frustration and so on. For any of these reasons making the decision to return for some would be impossible. For some it would be difficult. For a few it would be impossible not to return. Once again... for a myriad of reasons.
One of my favorite quotes is from The Count of Monte Christo when he said, “Life is a storm my young friend. You will bask in the sunlight one moment, be shattered on the rocks the next. What makes you a man is what you do when that storm comes. You must look into that storm and shout, as you did in Rome, ‘Do your worst…for I will do mine.’”
In case you haven't already figured out who the teams I am speak of are by now, I am referring to Stewart and Linda Robertson and Bob Summerour and Bud Feldkamp. Both of these teams had beautiful cars and it was obvious both teams had spent countless hours and dollars preparing them for exactly one reason... to compete in La Carrera Panamericana. Knowing full well exactly how attached we become to a car which we have poured our very souls into I completely understand what an indescribable emotional let down that whole event must have been. Not only that but when I saw Stewart leaning over Linda as she lay motionless on the ground I couldn't imagine what a heart stopper that must have been.
The bad news is regardless how well either of these teams do this year or any other year they will always be remembered for that terrible crash in 2008. That crash that could have been so much worse.
But there's good news... First and foremost none of them suffered any more than some superficial injuries bot physical or mental. They are also a testimony that the required safety equipment required does it job when installed properly. Last but not least, their actions prove to the entire racing community there is no race in the world that begs to be run more than La Carrera Panamericana and teams are willing to make large scale sacrifices to keep coming back for more.
When each of these teams returned this year they each brought back just a little bit of each one of us as well and we all own them of heart felt gratitude. There really is a Spirit Of La Carrera and this year it was in the form of a purple Studebaker and a maroon Mustang.
Many of you have probably see the infamous video but this one is the one you must see since it will take you right into the middle of the action.
Congratulations to Cars #120 and #363 for an outstanding comeback.