I love passionate people – particularly people who are passionate about motorsport. Two near the top of that list are Toronto graphic artist Steph Wallcraft and her Edmonton pal, Mike Cockrall.
|TORONTO STAR FILE PHOTO|
|Paul Tracy at the 2009 Honda Toronto Indy|
They are fans of the "Thrill from West Hill," Paul Tracy (who isn’t?), but rather than sitting around and complaining that he doesn’t have a full-time ride lined up in the Indy Racing League for next season, they’re determined to convince at least one potential sponsor, Monster Energy Drink, that it would be well worth their sponsorship dollars to have him in a car in 2010.
Said Steph in an email: "If you could give us a hand and direct people to the Monster web site (just click here), it would be greatly appreciated."
It would be my pleasure - but I had to call her up first. Where did this interest in racing - and Tracy - come from?
"My dad was an auto worker," she said over the phone Tuesday night. "He was a supervisor at the Chrysler plant in Brampton and back in the day when PPG was a sponsor in the CART series, they would treat people like my dad and their families to the Molson Indy Toronto.
"My mom and dad used to enjoy the hospitality suite and I’d take advantage of the grandstand tickets that were made available and I just fell in love with racing. But there's been something missing lately: Paul Tracy in every race. He should be in them all. Mike (Cockrall) and I have passion and energy for the sport and we’re trying to focus that on getting Paul back into the series full-time.
"Mike noticed that Monster had updated Paul’s biography on their website so that indicated to us that they are still very interested in him. We felt that if we got enough people to go to the Monster site and to take a few minutes to fill out a ‘Shout Out’ (a comment), that would show them and other potential sponsors the support Paul still has in the racing community."
Steph and Mike have been busy sending out emails and three or four of the more popular IRL chat sites have climbed aboard the bandwagon. In less than a week, more than 400 comments have been entered on the Monster "Shout Out" board.
I left mine at about 8:30 Tuesday night. I said Paul Tracy’s the most exciting driver to ever strap himself into a race car.
I want him back in the IRL so that when he wins I can write about it and when he gets me mad I can write about it. As we say in this business, he’s good copy.
If you feel the same way, I invite you to join Steph, Mike and me in getting the message through to Monster – and any other potential sponsors out there. If this grassroots movement is successful, it'll be to everybody's benefit.