The racing world has been all a-Twitter since the weekend with news that NASCAR Sprint Cup star Tony Stewart and Syracuse-area sprint car racer Jessica Zemken are an item.
Stewart started sponsoring Zemken a couple of years ago and that’s when the gossip started. She’s since become an employee of Tony Stewart Racing — she runs in several series under his banner, including the World of Outlaws — and, as Stewart told people at the weekend, “we were travelling around together and discovered that we kind of enjoyed each other.”
So there you go.
As this is Valentine’s Day, however, I have a better story.
Actually, it’s Ryan Chalmers’s story. He’s the media-relations officer at Mosport, so I’ll let him tell it.
“Throughout Mosport’s rich history, there have been countless people who have fallen in love with the track but here’s a tale of race fans who fell in love while at Mosport.
“Sarah Symington is a corner marshal at Mosport and her now-husband Mark is a member of the Race Medical team. For years they would sit around the campfire after race days and talk. The problem was they were in relationships with other people. One year, as fate would have it, they were both single.
“ ‘Some of our good friends thought that Mark and I should get together because they knew we would make a great couple,’ explained Sarah.
“During the American Le Mans Series Grand Prix of Mosport in 2004, Sarah was stationed at Corner 10 and Mark was working Race Medical. During the lunch break, there were an abnormal amount of people around her location and she couldn’t figure out why. Sarah had her back to the track as two ambulances, three rapid response vehicles and a chase car pulled up.
“’ I couldn’t figure out what was happening,” Sarah recalled. ‘I was stunned as all of these people were staring at me and taking photos.
“ ‘I then saw a nervous Mark climbing over the wall and after asking how my day was going; he got down on one knee and pulled out a ring. I said yes and jumped into his arms.’
“They were married on Oct. 14, 2006, and it was a race-themed wedding. In the summers that have followed, they spend many weekends enjoying and working at the races.
“This race season will be a little different, as they are expecting their first child in July.
“ ‘We have already started making plans for the little one to join us at the race track,’ said the proud mother-to-be.
“ ‘The most fitting part is that the baby is due on the Grand Prix of Mosport weekend.’ ”
Nice story, Ryan. Thanks for sending it in.