Start Your Engines and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Happy Monday, friends! The countdown to Start Your Engines’ release continues. Only three weeks to go! I’m getting more excited every day, and I hope you are too.

You know, one of the things writers are often asked is where do we get our story ideas? In broad terms, I think there are two starting points–characters and setting. A lot of authors will start with a character and build a story about him or her. I tend to fall in the other group and start with setting, though I must admit that I started with a character in my North Star Trilogy.

For Start Your Engines, my setting is The Open Wheel Racing Continental Series, a fictional version of IndyCar’s IndyLights Series.

photo courtesy

In case you’re not familiar with the series, IndyLights is the top rung of IndyCar’s feeder series. For comparison purposes, it’s like minor league baseball’s AAA level, where teams like the Indianapolis Indians play.

I chose the Continental Series for my setting as a way to pay homage to IndyCar racing and my favorite sporting venue in the world, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. You see, I’m one of those people who grew up going to “The Track,” as we local race fans like to call it. As a kid, my dad would my siblings and I out for the final day of qualifications for the Indy 500. I attended my first race in 1977, the year racing legend A.J. Foyt won his fourth 500, and became the first person to win it four times. As an eleven year old kid, it was quite an introduction to “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”

Over the years, I’ve made countless trips to “The Brickyard,” by the time you include trips to the Museum, practice, qualifications, and the race itself. In 1990, I even spent the Month of May working as one of the “yellow shirts,” the people who take tickets and direct traffic. I’m such a fan that one year, my wonderful wife, Nancy, got me a ride in one of the IndyCar two seater cars for a three lap ride on the Speedway’s oval at 180 miles per hour. Talk about a thrill of a lifetime!

I’m fortunate that Nancy shares my passion for the Speedway and that I’ve been able to pass that feeling down to my older son Seamus, who has joined me for both the Indy Grand Prix and the 500.

If you’ve never visited the Speedway, I encourage you to do so. Even if you don’t care for racing, the historical significance of the massive facility can’t be understated. After all, its been around since 1909 and they’ve been racing cars there for over 100 years.

As, as you read Start Your Engines, the Crossroads Motor Speedway is my salute to my beloved IMS. I fell in love with it as a kid, to this day still love it, and hope to be in love with it for many years to come. And if you make it to the race next year, maybe I’ll see you there.

You can learn more about the Indianapolis Motor Speedway by checking out IMS website. You can pre-order your copy of Start Your Engines by clicking here. Thanks for stopping by, and until next time, wishing you smooth roads and sunny skies!

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