Where Motherhood and Race cars Collide
As the mother of a recreational race car driver I have to match my anxiety with the adrenaline rush
“Get out. Get out of the car. There is smoke.”
I knew that as a card-carrying member of my younger son’s pit crew, I could not let hysteria enter my voice, so I said the words dispassionately, but with force.
Jake had left the race track and driven hard to the front of pit lane, bleeding speed from race fast down to zero, keying his mike and asking my husband, Jim, if the engine sounded different. Which meant that it sounded different to him.
Viperous twists of smoke oozed from the joints where the fiberglass was held to the frame by Dzus buttons. Jake reached back and twisted the red handle that protruded from the car like a carnival clown’s tongue to OFF, and popped the emergency release on the five point seat belts that held his upper and lower body and his arms in webbed straps as though he were a prisoner instead of a willing participant.
Jake wrenched off his helmet with the requisite HANS Device that would prevent his neck from snapping if he spun into a wall. He glanced at the switch labeled “fire” that would have triggered the extinguisher that nested beneath his legs if he’d been trapped inside the car, but instead, he stepped out of the carbon fiber tub that had encased his body and unzipped his fire suit while he contemplated the flow of dark purple fluid ever widening and distancing itself from its source. Already planning the cleanup, searching for the leak.
I stared at the stream, the life blood of the car, the color of bruising, the color of ink, the color of grand champion ribbons. Jake wouldn’t be the blue- blooded winner this time. But no one died.
No one ever dies, I said to myself for the hundredth time.