No. 947
May 23, 2018
 

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Peter DeLorenzo has been in and around the sport of racing since the age of ten. After a 22-year career in automotive marketing and advertising, where he worked on national campaigns as well as creating many motorsports campaigns for various clients, DeLorenzo established Ujian-nasional.info on June 1, 1999. Over the years DeLorenzo's commentaries on racing and the business of motorsports have resonated throughout the industry. Because of the burgeoning influence of those commentaries, DeLorenzo has directly consulted automotive clients on the fundamental direction and content of their motorsports programs. DeLorenzo is considered to be one of the most influential voices commenting on the sport today.

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Fumes


Monday
Jul062009

FUMES

July 8, 2009


Dale Coyne's victory was for all of us.

By Peter M. De Lorenzo

(Posted 7/6, 11:45am) Detroit.
The story is a familiar one across this country. You start attending races with parents, siblings or friends, and you get the bug. Whether it's a go-kart track, the little dirt bullring outside of the next town over, a local drag strip or a sports car track, once you go you end up getting hooked and going back again and again until the time you can go to races on your own. Whether you're crewing or driving or working the corners or just watching, it becomes so ingrained in you that it becomes part of who you are and what you do. A lot of people plan vacations around their enthusiasm for racing, others are even lucky enough to carve out actual careers in the sport, some find great enjoyment participating in the grassroots level, and the rest of us figure out how to be attached to it some how and some way. This defines the sport's True Believers, legions of people from all walks of life who embrace racing at all levels with a passion that very few people outside of the sport understand.

Dale Coyne Racing's win last weekend at The Glen wasn't just huge because it was another rendition of the classic "David vs. Goliath" story - it was significant because this man has been trying for a win in his beloved open-wheel racing for over 25 years. Five hundred fifty-eight races to be exact. Think about that for a moment. Think about all the times he's had to scrape together funds to make it to the next race. Think about all the paying drives he has had to organize just to keep his team afloat. Think of all the frustrations and the disappointments and the long days and the late nights and the endless grind of keeping Dale Coyne Racing in business.

Coyne, who turns 55 on July 8, tried to get his thoughts around his life in motorsports as a driver with 34 major open-wheel racing starts and as a team owner who helped launch the careers of Paul Tracy, Michel Jourdain Jr., Alex Barron and Robbie Buhl to name a few, as well as IndyCar Series team owner Eric Bachelart (Conquest Racing), who drove for the team in 1992-93 and '95.

"You have a passion for this and you love it, and you keep fighting and going forward," Coyne said. "When we have lean years or bad years and don't have a sponsor, it just makes you try harder, and I think that's paid off. The last few years we've tried to do a better job with what we've put together.

"This year, Justin became available. Some higher-quality engineering staff became available. And the wife and I talked about it. It was a financial commitment to do it, but we did it and said we're going to make this thing work. So we worked hard to pull all the pieces together, but that's because we have a passion for the sport."

I don't care whether you're an SCCA racer, a local dirt track or drag strip hero, a big-time IndyCar Series or NASCAR star, or even just a fan, Dale Coyne's win is a victory for all of the True Believers out there who still care about this sport. The ones who work long hours just to come home and work more long hours in order to make the next race. The ones who scrape together the necessary funds to attend a race weekend just because they wouldn't be the same without it. The ones who work the corners and keep the tracks running smoothly, putting in long hours just to be close to the sport they love. The grassroots racers who think nothing of towing halfway across the country for a weekend of racing. And on and on.

All of us who either know people who go out of their way to participate in this sport at some level or who directly participate themselves had to be thrilled for Dale Coyne last Sunday. His and his wife Gail's dedication, perseverance and relentless, never-give-up spirit and passion for the sport are the quintessential definition of what the expression "True Believers" really means.

Dale Coyne's victory wasn't just a win. It was a triumph of the human spirit and a shining example of what this sport is all about.

And all of us owe a debt of gratitude to Dale for reminding us about what really matters.

(Ron McQueeney/IRL)
After his first win in 558 open-wheel racing starts in over 25 years, Dale Coyne's smile says it all.

 

See another live episode of "Autoline After Hours" hosted by Autoline Detroit's John McElroy, with Peter De Lorenzo and friends this Thursday evening, July 9, at 7:00PM EDT at .

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Publisher's Note: As part of our continuing series celebrating the "Glory Days" of racing, we're proud to present another noteworthy image from the Ford Racing Archives. - PMD

(Ford Racing Archives)
Daytona Beach, FL, 1966. The great Curtis Turner poses next to his No. 41 NASCAR Grand National Ford at the 1966 Daytona Speedweeks. Turner won hundreds of races in the 50s and 60s, including 25 NASCAR races in the 1956 season in the "convertible" division and another 17 in Grand National, the forerunner of the Sprint Cup. He was the first driver to qualify for a NASCAR race at 180mph (driving the famous No. 13 Smokey Yunick '67 Chevrolet Chevelle) and the first to climb Pikes Peak in under 15 minutes (in a 1962 Ford prepared by Ralph Moody), among many accomplishments. He also was the prime visionary behind the Charlotte Motor Speedway (now the Lowe's Motor Speedway) in 1960 before being forced out by creditors. Turner was just as well known for his hard partying ways, and the stories associated with his various exploits are legendary, including the time he landed his plane on a main street in a small southern town so he could stop at a liquor store. Ironically, Turner was killed in a plane crash near Punxsutawny, Pennsylvania, on October 4, 1970. Turner is part of the initial group of candidates announced for NASCAR's inaugural Hall of Fame class. Other drivers on the list are Red Byron, Buck Baker, Lee Petty, Tim Flock, Herb Thomas, Fireball Roberts, Junior Johnson, Ned Jarrett, Cale Yarbrough, Richie Evans, Joe Weatherly, Bobby Allison, Richard Petty, David Pearson, Benny Parsons, Darell Waltrip and Dale Earnhardt. Car owners nominated include Raymond Parks, Bud Moore, Glen Wood, Rick Hendrick and Richard Childress. Also included in the first batch of nominees were founders Bill France Sr. and Bill France Jr. NASCAR will announce the five inaugural members of the Hall of Fame class in October, and the Hall, which is located in Charlotte, is scheduled to open in May.

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