Do you still feel part of something loud…

In my last post I alluded to having some different options for 2023.  There turned out to be even more than I knew when I wrote that, though I was already aware of the one that I ultimately chose for this year.  Before Christmas in December, I moved out of Cornelius (North Carolina) and sent my belongings to Indianapolis, where they still live in a storage unit somewhere in the city.  After a couple of weeks at home for Christmas I drove myself to Indy, where I have started working for the McLaren IndyCar team.  I am the Performance Engineer on the #7 car, driven by Alexander Rossi.  The main hope for me is that this will offer a little better life balance (16 race weekends rather than 38 in NASCAR).  Additionally there are things about how the team is structured that I think will be more motivating for me professionally.  And lastly, it’s much closer to the cottage!

After a little over a week of trying to settle into Indy a little bit, myself and a couple of co-workers went down to the Chili Bowl for a couple of days.  While it wasn’t as long as I had hoped to be there, it was great to be back for the first time since 2020…. It felt like it had been forever.  We made it to a C-main on Saturday, which isn’t bad, but the quest for the A-main continues…

Last week IndyCar had it’s first on track action of the year, we had a two day test at Thermal Club which is just outside of Palm Springs, California.  It was interesting, I still have a lot to learn but I am starting to get my feet underneath me. We have another test the week after next at Sebring, so another chance to learn and figure some things out. And Sebring is one of the big tracks that I haven’t actually been to yet, so it will be good to get that crossed off my list!

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The screen door slams, Mary’s dress sways…

I have wondered many times in the past few years what the point of this blog is. I am trying to walk the line of it being both personal and still professional, it’s rather a journal of my ‘work’ but from a personal perspective I guess? It’s odd, and I’ve edited and re-written many posts over the years because in the moment it seemed either too personal or not personal enough. Perhaps I just need to pick one or the other, but that would be too easy…

This entry is going to be nearly entirely personal, you’ve been warned.

I began writing here in 2015, when I had first moved to Denver and started to work in NASCAR.  The first couple of races I received many messages from friends and family about how things were going, and to be honest, it got repetitive to write and explain the same things over and over.  So I pointed everyone here, and was able to explain it only once.  And I sort of enjoyed turning it into a bit of a narrative, trying to make it sound more interesting than it probably actually was.  

I suspect the person who read it most, and I believe the data would tell me the person who commented most, was my Aunt Jeanette.  She always seemed both curious of what I was doing, but also encouraging and supportive of whatever I might get myself into next.  I sense that she wasn’t exactly living vicariously through me, but she was encouraging me to have experiences as she had.

In 2017 I was living in England working in F1, which was something of a dream. I didn’t exactly love the lifestyle balance that I had, but the opportunity to see the world, and meet the people that I got to meet was intoxicating. I could have done that for a few years and learned a lot and had a great time. Instead, I decided that I would rather move back to Canada. There were two main driving factors behind that. One of my best friends (Karin) was scheduled to get married in July of 2018. I had already missed too many good friends weddings (sorry Craig) and I wasn’t going to miss another. But also, I just wanted to spend more time with friends and family, whom I felt like I hadn’t seen much at all for the preceding three years. And the face of that, in my mind, the place the sense of urgency came from, was my Aunt Jeanette. She was in remission then, and as far as I knew everything was fine, but there was some underlying pressure there to see her when I could. I was fortunate in 2018 to be required to spend the Grand Prix weekend in Montreal for work, and while I did technically have a hotel room booked (and I did make use of the gym there) I spent the weekend downstairs in her guest room. And mostly what I remember, is being on the back deck drinking coffee in the morning. I don’t recall exactly what we talked about, though I know it was engaging and seemed important at the time. Still I can’t help but wish we could have that time now, to discuss what I think I have learned about life even since then. I did get another weekend there in 2019, Karen and I went to Montreal for Just For Laughs, and stayed with Jeanette for the weekend. I have similar memories of that weekend. Then I saw her at Christmas 2019, and I don’t have any specific memories of her from then. And then 2020 happened, and you know the rest.

She passed away in March of this year, and that’s the main reason that I haven’t written much here since.  I guess in some corner of my mind, she is who I was writing for.  So now what?  I didn’t intend to stop, I do think I get something out of writing this, it helps with my perspective.  If has felt like I just didn’t know how or what to write, but if I’m honest I think the problem has been to whom?

Jeanette was both a professional journalist and a curious person, so to honour her I will attempt to continue to tell my story, even if only to her…

This has been a rather crazy and busy year for me, I won’t go into detail at the moment but perhaps in the future. I have learned a lot, though not as much as I would like (that list is still long). It has also been great to get back out into the world after what seemed like two years in only 3 locales, all of which were very close together.

I am currently on the plane flying to Phoenix for the last race of the year. I have always enjoyed Phoenix, Arizona in general is an aesthetic I really enjoy. And it sounds like we might actually have a team dinner tonight, for the first time this year. Better late than never…I have started to look into what my options are for 2023, and it seems there might be some exciting options out there out there….

A ‘love affair’ with French Quebec that led to a life in radio: Jeanette Kelly dies at 70

I will be back in Ontario from this coming Saturday to the following Friday.

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