1979: As a kid growing up in Long Beach, California, my motorsports love was kindled by a dad who worked in the auto industry, loved cars, and loved motorsports. Naturally those things meant we went to the US Grand Prix West each year and I grew up considering all other forms of motor racing inferior to Formula One.

In 1979, we went to the race as had been our tradition since the first Formula 5000 race in 1975. As had also become our tradition, we met my mother and my dad’s best friend’s wife at the Velvet Turtle, a nearby “fine dining” restaurant. In 1979, as we were leaving the Velvet Turtle after dinner, there was a commotion in the large lounge area of the restaurant. Turns out race winner Gilles Villeneuve was there, surrounded by journalists, photographers, fans, and pretty girls.

I gathered up all my 10 year old gumption, borrowed a pen from the hostess, and got Villeneuve to sign my race program. Still have that program somewhere and I still think all other forms of motorsport are inferior to Formula One.