What are your Defining Moments?

If you’ve read my blog, you know that several years ago I started to write a book called ‘Defining Moments’. It was going to be about those moments in the lives of very successful people when they reached a crossroads, or made a decision that affected the rest of their lives. I never completed the book, and sadly, the subject of the first chapter of Defining Moments, Mr. Marvin Traub, passed away in July 2012.

I hadn’t really thought much about my book project in quite a while until I heard about Mr. Traub’s passing. Lately, I’ve been thinking more about it, but I’d like to change the focus somewhat. What about the defining moments of ordinary people, who are successful in their own way, but aren’t famous or have the notoriety of a prestigious job.

I’d like to know, dear blog readers, what are your defining moments? Continue reading

Montréal Nascar race lives up to expectations

This weekend’s Napa 200 Nascar Nationwide series race at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve certainly lived up to my expectations! Justin Allgaier won the race with a last lap ‘bump & run’ pass of local favourite Jacques Villeneuve, who had led 43 laps of what was supposed to be a 72 lap race and ended up third. Villeneuve’s teammate, Sam Hornish, finished second.

In my post on prior to qualifying on Friday, I had predicted a win by Villeneuve, Hornish second, and Tagliani third. It almost happened for Villeneuve, who did an incredible job saving fuel over the last few laps. JV ran an amazing 35 laps on his final tank of fuel! The race, scheduled for 72 laps, ended up running 81 laps due to late cautions. Even the ESPN commentators, who have been fairly harsh on Villeneuve in his last few races, were giving him props for how well he managed his fuel situation, saying “if he wins today, he really deserves it.” Continue reading

Expecting lots of excitement at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montréal

It’s that time of year again here in Montréal. The Nascar Nationwide series has arrived once again for the annual Napa Auto Parts 200 at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

I’m not a huge Nascar fan, but I always watch the road course races (Road America, Sonoma, Elkhart Lake, Montréal) because I find them to be more exciting than the ones on the traditional oval race tracks. The Montréal race is always an interesting one, given that the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is such a good race track, but this weekend’s race has a couple of added storylines that should make the 2012 edition even more exciting:

  • Danica Patrick and Jacques Villeneuve: This is the first time that Villeneuve has raced in Nationwide since the Nationwide race in June when he bumped Danica off track on the last lap of the race. Will she seek revenge for the Road America incident by wrecking JV in this weekend’s race?
  • Lots of Canadian drivers looking for the win: Jacques Villeneuve, Alex Tagliani, Patrick Carpentier, Ron Fellows, Louis-Phillippe Dumoulin, Andrew Ranger. JV, Tags, Carpentier and Ranger have all had strong results in past races while Fellows has won this race before.

Personally, I ‘m hoping that the whole Road America thing is in the past and that both Danica and JV will run a solid race. It doesn’t really help anyone if Danica takes JV out and risks damaging her own car. Keep in mind that she’s racing for points in the championship, JV isn’t. She should concentrate on her own race, and hopefully for her, she can bring her car home for a top 5 finish.

As for the Canadian contingent, I’m really hoping one of them will take the checkered flag. From this morning’s practice times, it looks like Villeneuve and Tagliani have the cars to beat.

My bold prediction for the race

  1. #22 Jacques Villeneuve – Penske Racing Dodge
  2. #12 Sam Hornish Jr. – Penske Racing Dodge
  3. #30 Alex Tagliani – Turner Motorsports Dodge

Marvin Traub – Rest in Peace

I was saddened today to learn of the death of Mr. Marvin Traub, the former Bloomingdale’s executive and retail legend. He was 87.

I met Mr. Traub seven years ago, when I was trying to write a book called Defining Moments. He didn’t know me, but he was gracious enough to take two hours out of his busy day to tell me his life story. While I never published the book, I did write the chapter on Mr. Traub, which you can read here.

Mr. Traub’s professional success is without question, but what I will remember of him is the kindness he showed me.

Thank you Mr. Traub. Rest in Peace.

My take on the Danica Patrick, Max Papis, Jacques Villeneuve incident at Road America

Quite a good NASCAR Nationwide race earlier today at Road America in Wisconsin.

As usual, when NASCAR races on road courses, we see a lot of ‘tradin paint’, especially in the last few laps. Today’s race, ultimately won by Nelson Piquet Jr., was no exception.

On the last lap, with Picquet running away with the victory, this happened:

Here’s my take… it’s too bad for Danica, because she drove a really solid race. But, that was a pure racing incident. All three drivers, Patrick, Papis and Villeneuve are racing for position. Villeneuve clearly had the most speed going down the straight and was bumped by Papis into the grass. Both Patrick and Villeneuve were carrying too much speed into the corner and were experiencing ‘wheel hop’. I wonder if either of them could have made the corner had the contact not happened. In the end, there was contact, and it wrecked Danica’s race, but I chalk it up to being a racing incident… can’t blame Jacques on this one. (Granted, Villeneuve could have been more gracious in his post race interview)

The post-race reaction has been quite negative towards Villeneuve, which I find interesting. How is this incident any different than when Michael McDowell spun Villeneuve earlier in the race? It isn’t… but there was no negative reaction to McDowell, nor should there be. It’s racing people!

Sadly, this incident doesn’t help Villeneuve’s chances of landing a full time NASCAR ride. Too bad, like him or not, Jacques always makes races interesting.