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Fast Eddie On The Road

Posing on the Salsbury. [Eddie Le Pine photo]

Posing on the Salsbury. [Eddie Le Pine photo]

By Eddie LePine

It has been a whirlwind week for me. I started my journey in the wee hours of Thursday morning, heading down to St. Petersburg from Orlando to take in the activities at the first IndyCar race of the season, along with checking out the 2017 Pirelli World Challenge cars and drivers.

I arrived at about 8am and ran into Mario Andretti, who was giving rides in the two seat Honda IndyCar as he usually does. I did not get a ride this year, but have ridden with Mario in the past, and the lucky few who got rides this year were certainly in for a treat as Mario was as cheerful and quick as ever. I saw Johnny O’Connell, one of my favorite drivers, who was preparing to start yet another season in the PWC, again driving for Cadillac and sure to be a championship contender once again. He was raring to go, just like the young at heart racer that he is.

In IndyCar, it was nice to see Josef Newgarden in the Penske car, ready to get down to work in the seat formerly held by Juan Pablo Montoya.

After a quick morning at St. Petersburg making contacts and gathering information for future racing stories, it was then off to Amelia Island for the Concours, Bill Warner’s excellent gathering of great cars and great car people at what has become one of the “must see” events on any car guy’s calendar. I have been going since the very first event, and I must say, it just keeps getting better and better every year.

This year’s honoree was Al Unser, Sr. and on hand with Al was his 1971 Indy winning car among some of his other great rides from throughout the years.

My good friend John Wiser from Winter Park brought his 1946 Salsbury Model 85 scooter, which I was fortunate to pose on. These units were built by a Howard Hughes owned company and it was awesome to see one in such superb shape up close.

Legendary NASCAR crew chief Ray Evernham was on hand, judging cars in the concours and he made some time for me and we sat down for an interview. Ray loves coming to Amelia and as he told me: “This is one of the events that always stays on my calendar. Bill Warner and his folks do a great job. I don’t know of many places in the world where you can see such a eclectic collection of cars and people.”

With bad weather forecast for Sunday, the car show on the field was moved up to Saturday, so this year everything at Amelia was compressed by one day. There was a massive crowd on hand Saturday, the weather was perfect and all in all, once again Amelia Island was a fantastic event.

Now it is off to Sebring for the Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring next week.

See you down the road.

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Eddie LePine

Eddie LePine

Eddie has been involved in motorsports for over 30 years as photographer, columnist, and driver. Eddie also is now a retired racer (well, retired unless a good ride pops up).
Eddie LePine

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