Jim echoes Warren’s sentiments
about feeling welcome.
“Whenever you talk to a driver or
crew member, they are always
genuinely engaged in a conversation
with you at a really sincere level.
They’re so passionate about the
sport, and when you show an equal
passion, the response is great,” says
Jim. “I think Sharon has taken a
picture at some point with practically
The whole group laughs in
agreement, and talking to Sharon
about it, the enthusiasm is self-evident.
With Road America being only a
few hours drive from the greater
Chicago area, it’s a natural place for
the group to go and they usually do.
But most of them have been to a
variety of races at least once, from
Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca to
Sebring International Raceway, and
points in between.
“Every event has its own flavor and
offers something unique that’s local to
it,” says Sharon
“My favorite is Sebring,” Warren
chimes in. “It has all these nooks and
crannies that are fun to explore and
the race distance is perfect. It’s long
enough that you can watch from
multiple spots on the track, sometimes
more than once, but there is still
enough time to get away to the displays
or just to hang out with every one over
some food and drink. And then it’s all
done in a day, leaving you with just
enough of a buzz to want more.”
For Jim it’s the Rolex 24 for much the
same reasons as Warren loves Sebring;
however, it’s that added element of
watching the sunrise at the track as the
race gets ready for the final showdown
that makes it totally unique.
Doug on the other hand likes all
the events, but keeping it close to
home at Road America is his ideal.
“I love the track, and hiking through
the woods to get to the different
areas. It’s a real throwback in many
ways to the historic tracks, but still
The car variety in the different
classes, the different sounds, and the
diversity of events all play a crucial
role, but for this group of friends it’s
as much about the shared
experience as it is the racing. On
their collective downtime, they
wouldn’t have it any other way.
Main: The open pre-race grid walks are a
big part of the IMSA
fan experience and
they are well-attended
at every round.
Bottom left: Sharon
with Patrick Dempsey,
clearly a highlight
judging by the smile.
Bottom right: The Ptak
family (l to r) Wesley,
Sharon and Jim.