Growing up in Spokane, WA meant not much exposure to top tier motorsports due to the lack of tracks in the Nowrthwest. Somehow, the local racing folks managed to pull in a couple interesting events though:

1987-1988: Budweiser Grand Prix: Winston West and several Formula Ford/Atlantic open wheel series:

This just happened to be when guys like Tommy Kendall and Johnny O’Connell were just starting to make names for themselves. Tommy was a road course ringer for Winston West and Johnny was in Formula Atlantic.

Also in 1988, the local racetrack manager to bring in a couple of NASCAR drivers for an exhibition.

Harry Gant managed to run in a cast (not sure is he was just that cool or if it was an excuse to get some more wheel time).

Got to meet guys like Michael Waltrip, Geoff Bodine and even Bill Elliot in the middle of his championship season.

If that wasn’t enough, the Drag Strip hosted the AHRA world finals that managed to draw in a few drivers that were NHRA regulars: the Kalietta family, Don Prudhomme and One year John Force (in his prime)

I don’t think anyone meets a John Force and doesn’t come away a fan of the guy. He spent a long time talking with dad and I and was treating it like any other race.

All that stuff got me into racing and got me watching the major series (and developed a love for road racing in the US and overseas).

But none of it was important compared to having an uncle who built a ‘68 Firebird drag car with a warmed over 400 Pontiac V8 and an extra seat for his nephew to ride along.

Growing up working on stuff with my dad and going to my uncle who had access to a shop gave me the love of tinkering with cars.