Sorry to say I missed my turn to blog last month when my ancient computer had its last fatal crash and needed to be replaced. Nine days later, I more or less had a functioning system that I am still learning to use. That put me behind on working on the new Sinners book, Sister of a Sinner, and way behind on the blog, so here is what I wanted to write in June. No guessing the winner of the Indy 500 this year as now everyone knows. Our family members always pick a slate of winners and one dark horse to make watching the race more fun. Those endless rounds of the oval can be monotonous unless there is a crash. The worst crash this year happened in the pits when one eager driver cut off another and damaged three cars. He got a one lap penalty. Some of us had picked that guy. Our winner gets a wooden plaque with a Matchbox car glued to it to have and hold for the next year. No huge silver trophy with our likeness punched into it for us! Good thing, because I lost again this year, as did most of our group. None picked the first place winner, but what a story that was.
I’ve often said race car drivers are not what women think of as romantic heroes despite their need for speed. They tend to be lithe and on the short side like taller jockeys because weight counts in auto racing as it does in horse racing and the driver’s compartment is cramped. Some have remarkably high voices, but others alluring foreign accents. Their back stories, however, are the stuff of legends and could provide any romance writer with endless plots. Take James Hinchcliffe for instance. While practicing for last year’s Indy he suffered a crash so bad he required fourteen pints of blood on the way to the hospital. A piece of the suspension had pierced his leg, and he ended up watching the race from his bed. He also had a bad concussion and says he doesn’t even recall the crash and so entered this year’s race without fear after a long rehab. In the time trials, he won the pole position and dominated many laps of the race going on to…win? Nope. In a novel, he would have and gotten the girl, too, after this test of courage.
How about this for a plot? A young California guy leaves the States at the age of 16 for Europe hoping to get a start in Formula One racing (you know, the kind they do in Monaco). He gets his feet wet, but is lured back to the U.S. to be a relief driver for the famous Andretti family who has had a long dry spell at winning the Indy. Maybe for the sake of the story, he could leave behind a lovely French girl related to the Monaco royal family. They have dated race car drivers before. Now twenty-four, this handsome man bides his time on the track, surges to the front of the pack as the last laps come up. His car is very low on fuel, but he is coached to continue as the star drivers are all in the pits tanking up for the last round–and he coasts across the finish line riding on fumes. His car must be towed to the winners circle. Veteran drivers gnash their teeth. He shows his in a blazing smile. Rookie Alexander Rossi, a 66-1 shot, become the ninth newbie to win the race since its start in 1911. The princess dashes from the crowd to share the famous milk mustache all drivers acquire from downing the traditional pint after their victory. Okay, I made that last part up about the princess ,but all the rest is true. Fantastic plot.
I really should be writing about race car drivers instead of football players and bull riders I guess, but I am not mechanically inclined and seldom pick the real winners. I’d have to get a copy of Auto Racing for Dummies to study. Surely, there is one. I could always rely on my son-in-law who invented our family game for advice, though he never wins either. I’ll give it some thought.