Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Racing Is Life
Everything else is just waiting. That's what Steve McQueen said in the famous racing movie "LeMans" and it seems fitting for everything that has happened in my life since we returned from Mid Ohio last week. I have found it difficult to write as two racing photographers I know have passed away in the last few days. One, Ron Weaver, I did not know very well and the other, Carl Pendleton, was a man who I have known since I first started shooting the Indy 500 in 1984. He was one of my sponsors on my Indy 500 Oldtimers Club application and always had a smile on his face, even as he battled brain cancer over the last decade. His visitation is today; Carl leaves behind a wife and children. Ron's visitation was last Friday; he was laid to rest the next day and leaves behind a brother, Steve, who was equally dedicated to motorsports photography. They were inseparable at Indy and everywhere else from what I know. God rest their souls and may their families find peace in their grief.
The thing that has struck me through these events is how small and close knit the racing fraternity really is. I am so grateful to be a part of it, that words are hard to come by. Back in May, we had heard that Ron had taken ill and wasn't doing well. Steve told me that this Indy 500 was the first one either had missed since 1966 and I'm sure that was a tough day for them both. When news of Ron's passing first came around, it was via an email chain of other photographers who have worked together at Indy for many years. They banded together last year as The Third Turn Society and started a Facebook page. I am glad to be considered part of that group. There are a lot of really nice people in racing and this group of photographers has some of the most dedicated people I know who shoot for the love of racing.
When the news of Carl's passing came, I heard about it from a different photographer connection and I passed it along to The Third Turn Society members to help forge another link between people who often only see each other at Indy but who all seem to feel a common bond. If the racing fraternity as whole is small, then the motorsports photographer community is even smaller, and many of us have been doing it for decades. As we stood together and talked at Ron's visitation last Friday, I looked around the room and saw people I stand next to for hours on end at Indy and realized that our time together is precious. Life is so short and there are many days where it seems I am racing to get things done with no real purpose in mind. Perhaps it really is true as McQueen said in "LeMans", that the race is life. And while it is sad to see friends get the checkered flag, it is good to know that people care enough to support one another based on the common bond of the Indy 500 and racing photography. We are fortunate in that regard, and these events have made me pause and tell people I care about that I love them while also urging others to do the same wherever they may be. The race is not over, we are not alone and I thank God for the gift of today.