Monday, May 19, 2014

Tammy's Big Adventure

Later this week, I'll hop on an airplane headed for my next big racing adventure. This year, finally (according to some of my racing friends), I'll experience the pomp, circumstance, and glory of "the greatest spectacle in racing." That's right, I'm off to the Indy 500—and I'll be wearing a lot of pink. Let me explain....

There are a whole lot of races on my list to attend—Monaco, Le Mans, Spa, Bristol, Sonoma for NASCAR, something at COTA, and Indy—but I'm trying to get to them in a reasonable order, based on what I'm planning to write about. I know that usually I need at least two visits to a race before the published book comes out (though I may have to cram those European tracks into just one), and I want to focus on where I need the research at the moment. Or where it makes sense to go for promotion purposes.

All that said, don't get too excited, readers who are Indy or IndyCar fans (Bill, I'm talking to you!). Setting a book at the Indy 500 isn't on my radar yet. But starting to transition Kate from sportscars to IndyCars is. Somehow or other, that transition will happen (start to happen?) in book four (Hot Lap), at the Long Beach Grand Prix.

I can hear non-race fans saying, "But that doesn't have anything to do with the Indy 500." And I can hear racing fans saying, "So what, go see the 500!"

And they're both right. Going to Indy doesn't help writing about Long Beach. But it will help writing about the vibe, culture, appeal, and process of racing an IndyCar.

But there are two even more important reasons for going. One is that I've now made quite a few friends in the racing world, and a few of them have repeatedly urged me to get there (Greg, thank you!), offering help showing me around and chortling via email about the fun I'll have.

The second reason is Pippa Mann. Pippa just qualified for her third Indy 500 over the weekend, and she'll be the only woman in the field. Pippa's read my books and offered any kind of help I need in writing future ones. And she urged me to go to the 500, promising to spend a little time with me and get me next to the car.

And then there's her cause. I've always been a supporter of breast cancer charities, and because of that, I hooked Kate up with a real one in Braking Points. Well, Pippa's gone me and Kate one better, partnering with the biggest charity on the planet dedicated to finding a cure and providing support for people with breast cancer. Pippa's going pink (#PippaGoesPink), from her helmet to her racesuit to her car. She's got a site up (www.racewithpippa.com) where supporters can pledge donations to Komen for every lap Pippa runs.

The bottom line for me? I want to be there, in person, to see that car racing for that cause.

So I'll be donating money for Pippa's laps. I'll be wearing pink. And I'll be cheering from the stands as Pippa takes the green flag. Who's with me?

(Screenshots/images taken from www.racewithpippa.com.)

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