I remember sitting on the pitlane wall at VIR in November of 2009, head in my hands, absolutely freaking out. In my Koni Challenge debut, I’d run about two seconds a lap behind my teammates Randy Pobst and 2008 series champion Jamie Holtom. The data said the difference was entirely confined to Turns 9 and 10, but no matter what I tried in those turns to fix the gap, it wasn’t good enough. I’d been pushed off the Climbing Esses by a GS-class Porsche 911, I’d struggled with brakes that were so bad Holtom refused to drive the car after me for more than two laps without a rotor change, and I had the distinct feeling that I’d let my team, Grand-Am champions Compass360, completely down.
There was a hand on my shoulder, and I turned to see a face I knew well — Kevin York. In addition to providing some of the inspiration for Garth Stein’s The Art Of Racing In The Rain, York had won more Grand-Am races than I was likely to ever enter. I’d watched him on TV a dozen times or more, making daring maneuvers at Mosport, losing a wheel at 130+ mph at Mid-Ohio. “Take a breath,” the man said. “You survived. You did okay.” Three laps later, Holtom blew the engine in our car and that was the end of the day for my professional podium ambitions.
Today, Kevin’s son Evan is making a name for himself in multiple levels of motorsport. This photo, which recently appeared on the YORK Motorsport Facebook page, shows the old man coaching his mercurial, talented son. Although Father’s Day is long past, my first thought when I saw the photo was: I hope I can be as dedicated a father to my son as this man has been to his. Watch for Evan York in the Legends of Dirt series and elsewhere!