It was mid-July 2023, and my work had finally taken me back home to Boston. Unforeseen to me, I was going to be photographing my first Grand Prix in the US.
As a customary practice nowadays, prior to traveling to a new place or anywhere outside of my home state, I search for events of interest. This mid-July was no different; after changing my flight for the third time, I was finally going to Boston on July 19, 2023.
Over the next few days, I researched and made many inquiries, leading to several discoveries. Among them, the Pinewood Derby, created in 1953 (now owned by the Boy Scouts of America), is an annual event with a rich history. Essentially, dads, together with their kids, would build a small wooden toy car and come together to race them by placing them on a declined track to the finish line at the bottom. It was such a sensation that it became an official part of the Boy Scout program the very next year. Over the years, the dads have found that they enjoyed the process for themselves just as much and no longer wished to watch the action from the sidelines. So, in addition to the traditional Derby, the adults build these wooden cars for themselves and race them in the same fashion while drinking beers.
However fascinating, I was looking for something with a little more life “in” it.
Held this year on the same weekend as the Formula 1 Hungarian Grand Prix, the FCP Euro Northeast Grand Prix was to be held on Saturday, which meant I would not miss watching the F1 race in real-time.
Lately, I have been on the inferior side of the car rental companies (Enterprise). I was left stranded in Aix En Provence, France, the Saturday of qualifying for the Monaco Formula 1 Grand Prix 80th Anniversary and almost missed the actual race. It was a real test of strength, and that’s another story in itself.
However, on this Friday morning, I woke up in Boston on the day of qualifying for the FCP Euro Northeast Grand Prix, with a 3-hour drive ahead to Connecticut. I hadn’t seen my mother in a few months, so we had planned to have breakfast together, and she would drop me off to pick up my car, and I would get on the road to Connecticut. Nothing out of the ordinary for me at this point. Still, I switched my phone off airplane mode and was ready to start my day.
As notifications started pouring in and my phone was having a full-blown panic attack trying to properly organize my life, a voicemail came up from a local Massachusetts phone number. The thing is, I used to live in Boston, and one of my phone lines is still my very first phone number I got when I was living there. Somehow, as soon as I get off the plane at Logan International, an invisible broadcast seems to go out letting everyone know that I’m back, and it’s time to call. Usually, I wouldn’t pick up a call from a number that I don’t recognize, but this was a voicemail, so it couldn’t hurt to take a listen, and if at the first ten seconds, it’s not anything important, I can always delete it and move on with my day. But this was not one of those. It was a voicemail from the rental company I had reserved my rental that I am due to pick up in less than two hours then drive 3 hours to Connecticut.
The message said quite literally: “We don’t have any cars, there is a car shortage, there are over 40 people ahead of you, if we get any returns, you wouldn’t be the first one to get it. Good day.”