Sam Posey’s “Where the Writer Meets the Road” is a treasure trove

Posey finished fifth in his only Indy 500, in 1972. Photo: Bull Publishing
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Perhaps the only downside of Sam Posey’s “Where the Writer Meets the Road” is that upon reading it, as a writer yourself, you know your own words can’t quite measure up.

Your goal, then, is to come as close as possible to matching the prose, poetry and poignancy of the chapters and stories Posey outlines within his third book.

The simple description of “Where the Writer Meets the Road,” published last March by David Bull Publishing and named the Best Book of 2015 by The Motor Press Guild, is that it’s an archival history of some of Posey’s career both behind the wheel and behind the microphone over the last 50-plus years.

The more elaborate description is that Posey has, in words more than pictures, managed to bring so much to life – whether it’s the cars themselves, the people he interacted with, the places he’s been, such as the forgotten and now-gone Speedway Motel in Indianapolis for instance, or the time period which the story took place.

Photo: Bull Publishing
Photo: Bull Publishing

The flow of the book is effortless, even as it mixes some of Posey’s driving career with his commentary career and then occasional interruptions with the brief “teases” that have become staples of the last 20 years of Formula 1 broadcasts in the U.S., including the last several years on the NBC Sports Group channels.

Included are a number of Posey’s introductions to legends for the Road Racing Drivers’ Club, a dinner of which is held in Long Beach every April. Those feted by Posey included Mario Andretti, Jim Hall, Roger Penske, Dan Gurney, Parnelli Jones and Brian Redman.

Humor is interspersed at the right moments. For instance, there’s a classic story after Posey made his final major sports car start and helped as Redman secured a championship in 1982, and ended with a trip to Siebkens and a cameo from David Hobbs. We’ll leave the rest of the story to the imagination.

Redman, himself, is among the drivers truly highlighted in the book. Posey seeks to remove the “underrated” term as it’s seemingly been perpetually attached to his name.

The romance and thrill of Le Mans is captured in a handful of essays, including two notably stark and different ways year-to-year for two different outlets. A Sports Illustrated piece outlines the challenge of driving at night; meanwhile a piece for Road & Track the following year describes the buildup to the race itself, and how as you see if you ever get to Le Mans, the week is so much more than just the 24 hours.

Photo: Bull Publishing
Photo: Bull Publishing

Posey recalls glory days in Trans-Am, the rise and later fall of Mark Donohue with Penske Racing, and his own love-hate relationship with Porsche – only Posey, seemingly, can get away with the essay he penned for R&T in 2013 as a rare dissenter in a sea of praise. Then again, with Posey having contributed to R&T since 1968, he pretty much has carte blanche at his disposal with his pen and paper… or keyboard and laptop.

A story I took particular appreciation in reading was Posey’s notes on what it meant to commentate the Indianapolis 500. Fans of a certain age will remember the classic Posey/Bobby Unser banter in the ABC booth with Paul Page the lead announcer split between the two.

To see the intense amount of preparation revealed, then explore how quickly you have to adjust on in the fly in the race itself, all while communicating back and forth with the production team and not saying the wrong thing at the wrong time was simply fascinating to read.

Lastly, of course, are the teases. I touched on them briefly in one of the earlier grafs but you get to see how Posey can take several key tidbits – Monaco, for example always will have the mix of yachts, glamour, history and the knife edge of adhesion – and find a way to make the story new, fresh and captivating at every opportunity.

Posey was one of a helluva driver, but he’s also one helluva wordsmith. And for any fan of racing, or if you could care less about racing and just love a great storyteller, “Where the Writer Meets the Road” is a must-read.

Fittingly, Posey will be inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America this June, for his splendid career.

Cadillac confirms WEC driver lineup with Chip Ganassi Racing that will race Le Mans in 2023

Cadillac Ganassi Le Mans
Cadillac Racing

Cadillac and Chip Ganassi Racing announced their driver lineup for a 2023 entry in the FIA World Endurance Championship, the sports car series that includes the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The Cadillac V-LMDh entry will be driven by Earl Bamber and Alex Lynn, who were teamed on the No. 02 Cadillac that competed in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship DPi class this season and won the Twelve Hours of Sebring. The third driver will be Richard Westbrook, who will return to Ganassi after helping the team to a GT class win at Le Mans in 2018.

The team also will compete in the Rolex 24 at Daytona in the rebranded Grand Touring Prototype premier category, which is designed for crossover between the top prototypes in IMSA and WEC. Ganassi will field a second entry at Daytona with its No. 01 Cadillac that will compete full time in IMSA with Sebastien Bourdais and Renger van der Zande.

A Ganassi spokesman said the team hopes to run its second entry in the 2023 24 Hours of Le Mans but only its WEC team is confirmed (an AOC invitation would be required for the IMSA team). The team also is exploring options but currently plans to have the WEC’s team base of operations in Indianapolis.

Ganassi is the first American-based prototype team to confirm its entry in the 2023 24 Hours of Le Mans. It’s expected that Team Penske, which raced this year’s Le Mans with a full-time WEC entry in LMP2, also will race Le Mans with Porsche’s new LMDh car that is set for IMSA, but the manufacturer has yet to confirm its driver and team lineup.

Next year will mark the return of Cadillac to Le Mans for the first time since 2002.

Before joining Ganassi last year, Lynn made 28 WEC starts since 2016, winning the LMGTE Pro class at Le Mans in 2020.

“I’m absolutely thrilled to continue with Cadillac and Chip Ganassi Racing,” Lynn said in a release. “It’s a huge honor to drive for Chip in any capacity but certainly on a full factory sports car program, it’s seriously cool. Cadillac has so much heritage as a luxury North American sports car brand, so to be able to represent them is a huge privilege. I’ve had a lot of fun in my first year doing it and to continue that onto the World Endurance Championship stage is fantastic.

“For me, returning to WEC is sort of what I’ve always known and it’s a bit like going into my wheelhouse. This year in IMSA was a bit different with getting to know all-new circuits and a new style of racing so 2023 will be filled with a bit more of what I’m used to with more of a European focus. I think what’s significant about WEC is without a doubt Le Mans. As a sports car race, Le Mans is the crown jewel and everything that we want to win. To be able to take Chip Ganassi Racing and Cadillac back to Le Mans to fight for overall honors is a huge honor and that’s something that I’m going to work tirelessly to make sure we achieve.”

Bamber won the Le Mans overall in 2015 and ’17 with Porsche teams and also was a 2019 GTLM champion in IMSA.

“I am really happy to continue at Chip Ganassi Racing and Cadillac,” Bamber said in a release. “I’ve loved my first season in DPi and now to continue over into the LMDh era and WEC is super exciting. Looking forward to fighting for a world championship and another Le Mans victory.

“The World Endurance Championships gives us the opportunity to race at the world’s biggest race, which is Le Mans, the crown jewel of sports car racing. I’ve been lucky enough to win it before and it’s obviously a huge goal for Cadillac and everyone at Chip Ganassi Racing. To have that goal in sight is really exciting. It’s been great to have Alex as a teammate in 2022. We’ve been able to learn and grow together in the DPi, and we have a really good partnership going into WEC. We know each other really well and believe adding Richard will be a seamless transition.”

Said Westbrook: “After four really good years at Chip Ganassi Racing, I’ve got so many friends there and I’ve always dreamt to come back one day. It just worked so well between 2016 and 2019, and I’m delighted we found a route to come together again. I can’t wait, it’s an exciting era in sports car racing right now.

“I feel like I know Alex and Earl really well. I did Le Mans with Alex in 2020 and I’ve known him for years. It feels like I’m going back with an ex-teammate and exactly the same with Earl. Although I’ve never shared a car with Earl, we’ve always done the same sort of racing be it in WEC or in IMSA. We’ve had lots of battles, including this year in our dueling Cadillacs. We’ve always gotten along quite well, and I can say we’re going to have a great year together.”

The seven-race WEC season, which also includes a stop at Spa, will begin March 17 with the 1,000 Miles of Sebring at Sebring International Raceway in Florida.