Checkered Flag Lap

While we are no longer very active in amateur racing we continue to be racing fans and attend several events a year. We were there for the return of the US Grand Prix at Indianapolis in 2000 and have been to every one since, including the six-car fiasco in 2005. We stay at Steve and Deanna’s house, and they go to the race with us. We got to see possibly the greatest Formula One driver of all time, Michael Schumacher. At the time that I wrote these words, he had won more world championships, seven, and had more Grand Prix wins, eighty-four, than anyone in history. However, he has never come to drink wine with us, as one world champion has done. He would be welcome, however.

Michael Schumacher at the 2002 USGP

I have been at Road America at least once every year since 1967. And I have been to every Champ car race held at Road America, except one. I was there, but the race was postponed because of unusually heavy rain. They held the race two weeks later, but I was Chief Steward of a Chicagoland race that same day and could not go.

Mid-Ohio is our second favorite track. We have been there for Champ cars, and the Grand Am series. We have made the Runoffs at Mid-Ohio a regular event on our calendar, but now they are moving to Topeka and a track owned by my brother Greg’s good friend, Ray. Ray now owns both the Topeka track and Blackhawk Farms.

We will probably follow in our new motor home. This one really is new and a beauty. It is a 38-foot Itasca Suncruiser with three slide-outs. It is truly a home away from home. We have only had it a year but it has been at Blackhawk, Road America, and Mid-Ohio, so why not add Topeka.

The start of the 2002 USGP

As I said earlier, we have lost my brother Greg and Jimmy. Jerry and Judy retired and moved to Arkansas, where Jerry passed away about a year after we were in California to watch Eric and Ethan race. That California trip was the last time I ever saw Jerry.

Charlie and Jan moved to Minnesota in the early 70’s. Mike and his wife moved to Wisconsin, but stopped coming to races with us. They have since moved back to the Chicago area, but still the last time I saw him is when we ran into him by accident at the 2000 USGP.

My old college roommate, Eric, has moved to Dallas, Texas and is part owner of a company that reconditions football equipment. Sadly, I never see Ernie or Tuna any more.

Jerry and Lynne no longer join us at the races, but we remain close friends and still see them a couple of times a year. We at least see them every year at Bunky’s place on Washington Island. There, we have a campfire on the beach, and Jerry plays the guitar, but we seem to have out-grown the dirty songs and limericks.

The heyday of the gimmick rallies is long gone, and Liz and I have not been on one in years. We rarely see Jack and Margie nowadays either.

Bunky remains a great racing fan and even says he wants to go back and work corners. I am sure he will, unless it is raining. His son, Ethan, lives in California, where he has moved from Formula Vee to Formula Ford. Ethan has a job with an outfit that maintains vintage Formula One cars for the super rich. Bunky quit drinking several years ago, and has not been nearly as entertaining since. However, Tom came with him to the Runoffs last year and filled in for the old Bunky admirably after over-serving himself.

Greg, Jimmy and Bunky

Tom and Cathy still live in Milwaukee. Tom still gets tickets for us for the Champ car race at State Fair Park every year, and will often join us for the day at Road America. Cathy usually stays home with her books on those occasions. The two of them do join us at Indy for the GP every year.

Pat is retired but remains a racing fan. She joins us for nearly every event, staying with us in the new motor home, which she helped pick out. We have big plans for 2006. Liz, Pat and I are going to Monaco for the Grand Prix - the one race I have wanted to see all my life! We are booked on a tour that gives us access to a private balcony overlooking St. Devote, the first corner on the circuit. While there, we plan on staying another week and drive through the Alps. Maybe we will check out Monza on the way. I can hardly wait.

Eric is still seeking a full time job in racing, but has had several part time jobs with teams in the Trans Am, Star Mazda, and the Zetec series. Hopefully, something permanent will come along soon.

Liz is planning to retire later this year. I plan to follow in a year or two. That means we will have time to take the new Itasca to other tracks across the country. Of course, Pat will go with us. In the meantime, Monaco awaits!

Copyright © 2006 by Terry Aasen


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