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The Inquirer

The student news site of Diablo Valley College.

The Inquirer

The student news site of Diablo Valley College.

The Inquirer

This Girl’s Guide: Going Solo to IndyCar at Laguna Seca


The racing world is almost completely dominated by men. That said, getting into that world has been a bit circuitous by way of guys spouting off at the mouth when they hear I am interested in racing and not letting me get a word in. However, that has not stopped me.

I’m a sponge on my own, soaking up as much information as possible in my free time. When I go to races or events, I’m happy to quietly slip into the areas where not many go and just observe.

This proved true again when I went, alone, to the season finale of the IndyCar series at Laguna Seca, a historically famous track. I wanted to see qualifying as well as the race, so I went Saturday, Sept. 9, and left a bit after the race on Sunday.

I had put feelers out to my friends well before the event, but they were all out of state or busy on race weekend. Thus began the preparation for going to this race alone, a rather daunting task. I consulted my best friend and my therapist. They reminded me that I thrive in independence and helped to set reachable goals.

Throughout the week, I was so focused on completing all my schoolwork that I forgot how much I missed Laguna and how exciting this would be. This actually worked in my favor, because once Friday rolled around, I was a mess of anxious excitement.

Saturday finally came, and I left at about 9:30 a.m. The drive down to Salinas was high energy and loud, to say the least. I arrived at the track at 11:10 a.m., my anxiety melting away as I took the service road to the entrance gate with my windows rolled down, as is right and proper because cars could be on track.

I found a good enough spot and headed to the paddock to scope things out. If you are planning on going, I suggest you arrive there at 10 a.m. or earlier for better parking on qualifying day. At only 2.2 miles, the track is rather small and intimate, making it easy to move to different vantage points during the race. It also means the whole paddock is in the middle of the track behind the pit lane.

With a general admission ticket, you can walk pretty much anywhere in the paddock except for the pit lane. I had a wonderful time with this. Since I went by myself, I could go wherever I wanted, whenever I wanted.

As a woman, you always assume a risk when you enter any public space alone. I can confidently say there wasn’t a single instance where I felt unsafe or uncomfortable. IndyCar fans are incredibly nice. I could tell everyone was there for a good time.

One of my biggest worries going into this was that it would be weird that I was alone, and I would feel pressured to talk to people or try to make friends. I was pleasantly surprised to find this feeling gone as soon as I arrived.

The interactions I had were warm and easy, and I was happy by myself as well. I even got an autograph from Pato O’Ward, my favorite driver. So, if you’re a girl with anxiety who loves cars and racing like me, go to that race or event. It’s enough just to be there. You never know what could happen when the excitement of the track takes over.

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    Charleen B EarleyOct 25, 2023 at 8:45 am

    Enjoyed your column Camille! Nice work!