It’s no secret that I love Indy car racing. I’m also pretty open about my other passions – live music and film. These are all lifelong passions that started at a very young age. And what I’ve found pretty amazing, are the moments when these vastly different interests intersect and create something even more memorable.
My first experience with Indy car was attending the 1986 Indianapolis 500 on the Saturday after Memorial Day, due to weather conditions. Bobby Rahal won, and prior to the event I stood on the hallowed ground that fed into Turn 1, with my brother by my side. Of course I was completely safe, but try telling little 3-year-old me that, as the adrenaline rushed through my body and my mind wondered why I was being placed in the path of race cars. Came to find out it was just the race morning photo opportunity, but man I’m actually glad I didn’t understand that at the time, because that adrenaline rush, as I’ve confessed many times, is what hooked me to the sport. Today I get to cover the series that the 1986 ‘500’ champ’s son competes in, even having the occasional opportunity to chat with him, like on this week’s Push to Pass.
As far as my love of music, I distinctly remember listening to The Beatles, Eric Clapton, The Allman Brothers, Queen, and Whitney Houston as a kid. My first live music concert was at the age of 14 – the debut tour for Matchbox Twenty and their first album, ‘Yourself or Someone Like You’. I leaned against the stage at the old Agora in Cleveland, looked up at Rob Thomas, and sang his words back to him… I was hooked.
A few times over the years, there have been artists I follow, associated with IndyCar. For example, I remember when Daughtry played in Pagoda Plaza at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway over the Indy 500 weekend. This was before the enormity of the concerts that we see on Carb Day and Legends Day now… but, it was a simpler time. You remember it. Way back when… like, 2007.
Finally, my love of film… it started in between the aforementioned memories. It was November of 1986 (a seemingly formative year for this blonde) and I was the ripe old age of 4. My mom was always very involved in mine and my brother’s school, volunteering as one of the ‘lunch moms’ and helping to chaperone field trips. My brother was in first grade that year and his class was going to the local theater to see ‘An American Tail’. Since I was still a year away from enrolling in pre-school, I accompanied my mom on the trip. The smell of popcorn in the lobby, the importance of carrying my very own ticket stub, the big cozy chair that I sunk into, just barely able to see over the seat in front of me as this was decades prior to the lovely stadium-seating that we are so used to nowadays… it all felt so special.
I still feel that excitement every time I attend a screening. Or a concert. Or a race. And yesterday at IMS, two of my worlds collided again. This time it was film and IndyCar.
2008 Indianapolis 500 winner, Scott Dixon and his team owner, Chip Ganassi were joined by noted film producer, Matthew Metcalfe on Carb Day at Indianapolis Motor Speedway to announce that they are co-producing a feature-length documentary on Dixon. The project will be produced by GFC Films, Universal Pictures Home Entertainment (UPHE), and directed by Bryn Evans.
The film is not yet titled but expected to be released worldwide next year. The film is described as,
“A powerful and inspirational story of dedication, fear and one athlete’s will to defy personal limitations, the documentary will blend cutting-edge race footage, intimate observational filming and unparalleled access to Scott, Chip Ganassi Racing and those who know the driver best to present a seminal study of one of the greatest race teams in the United States.”
They are currently in the process of shooting and will do so across three nations – Dixon’s adopted home-country of America, France, and New Zealand, his nation of origin.
I’ve always been a huge fan of documentary films. They are the majority of what I see when I go to the Cleveland International Film Festival every year in the Spring.
Truth be told, I have worked with the non-profit organization (CIFF) for the better half of a decade and most of those years I have been a member of the screening committee that assists the program directors with finding the best films for our Festival. I am not sure what kind of distribution the Dixon documentary is hoping for, but if they are looking to debut at one of the world’s best film festivals, I hope I can somehow assist with having it all happen right on the shoreline of Lake Erie… a hop, skip, and a jump away from where Indy cars used to race in the Cleveland Grand Prix.
Oh come on, like you didn’t see that connection coming. I’m like a soundtrack on repeat. What can I say? I am a hopeless romantic when it comes to the love being re-kindled between IndyCar and Cleveland. Talk about a great story…
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Photo Credit: Chris Owens & David Yowe / IndyCar