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Auto racing comes to Boston

gina-fava-race-webOne of my favorite sports that I love to watch is championship open-wheel auto racing, because I have so many fond memories of Sunday afternoons as a child spent with my dad enjoying the IndyCar or Formula One races on TV while mom cooked us pot roast. We’d watch the lights go from red to green signaling the suspenseful start. We’d wonder who would overtake whom in the opening laps while the drivers vied for position. We’d count out loud the seconds that elapsed during pit stops. Sometimes I’d close my eyes just to listen to the engines buzz around the track, or to savor the accents of the European announcers. And the exciting climax of the race always promised the wave of a checkered flag and mom’s home-cooking. That’s why I’m thrilled that IndyCar auto racing is coming to the streets of Boston’s Seaport District on Labor Day weekend, where the sights and sounds of one of the world’s most exhilarating sports will take place right in our own backyard.

Auto racing has been a mainstay in Italian sports for decades, when racers like Enzo Ferrari (founder of Scuderia Ferrari racing team), Giuseppe “Nino” Farina (winner of the first world championship race and title in 1950), and Alberto Ascari (winner of back-to-back titles in 1952 and 1953) made their marks in history. And who could forget Italian-born Mario Andretti, who won the 1978 Formula One title and four IndyCar championships driving for the United States. The Andretti car-racing lineage also continues with his son, Michael (winner of an IndyCar title), and his grandson, Marco (the first third-generation recipient of the Rookie of the Year Award).

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This Labor Day 2016 weekend, IndyCar racers will take to the street course that winds along Boston’s waterfront. Thousands of spectators are expected to line the streets of Boston on one of summer’s hottest weekends, and Bostoniani have a front row seat for the festivities. Expected to draw many of the sport’s big names like Helio Castroneves, Scott Dixon, and Ryan Hunter-Reay, the race also plans to feature Marco Andretti.

Though my love for auto racing runs deep, I’ll admit I’ve never yet attended a race. But I’ve gotten pretty close. Once I visited the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix street circuit, one day after the big race. Still, I hoofed the hairpin turn in my flip-flops, jogged past the enormous pool, and waved to the yachts on the harbor. Walking the route was like a dream come true, amid the lingering smell of gasoline and burnt tire rubber, where Ayrton Senna had just won the day before.

Last year, I pulled on my racing gloves and my balaclava, and I raced my V-6 Honda the entire track of the famed Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, in Montreal, Canada at breakneck speeds topping 35 miles per hour, with the wind on my face and bugs in my teeth. Alas, it was the off-season and my only competitors were the sea gulls and a couple of black squirrels, but it was a thrill for me.

My love for the sport also imbues the characters in my thriller novels, “The Race,” in which my auto racing covert agent, Devlin Lucchesi, and his HELL Ranger crew save Rome. This racer returns in my upcoming novel, “Formula”, where he investigates the murder of his colleague at the Monaco Grand Prix. There’s something so exciting and mysterious about the sport that drives me to write more thrilling stories about these characters every day. Learn more at www.GinaFava.com.

That’s why, though I love to watch auto racing on TV, I’m excited for the opportunity to experience the sights and sounds of the race live and in person. Why not take a moment to get your blood racing, and head down to the Boston Seaport this Labor Day? Check out www.indycarboston.com for details and tickets. Forza!

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About Gina Fava

Gina Fava is the author of two suspense novels set in Italy, The Race and The Sculptor. She freelances too, sharing stories she's gathered roaming Italy in search of her characters' favorite wines. Visit her website at GinaFava.com and connect via Facebook and Twitter.