Hey everyone! Chloe Clairbourne, the new Podium Finish writer, here to tell you a little about myself and how I fell madly in love with the greatest sport in the world, auto racing! Growing up in a small town, rural area in New England, Motorsports were not a very popular sport around here. It was all Red Sox Baseball, Patriots Football, and Hockey. I was quite a stretch to think that I would one day be a self proclaimed expert of motorsport. 

    It all started one weekend I spent with my aunt and uncle in February of 2003. They had on something called the Daytona 500 on TV. It was something that would change my life forever! I could hardly understand what was going on but I loved each and every minute of it! My aunt leaned over and asked me who my favorite driver was. I didn't know a single name but I said Ryan Newman because he happened to be on the screen at the time. She told me that was a great choice because he won rookie of the year last season ahead of Jimmie Johnson. I was satisfied with that choice until he promptly went on to crash in that rollover crash we all remember quite well. I was hooked after that day! Back in those days NASCAR ran an ad saying something along the lines of "NASCAR: How bad do u have it?" Well I had "it" bad! I went on to spent the rest of my childhood sitting on the floor right next to the TV with my few diecast cars opposed to dolls or any crap like that. I would race my Bill Elliott car around in circles on my kitchen floor as I stayed glued to the TV. My favorite memory came soon after that in the 2003 Carolina Dodge Dealers 500 at Darlington Raceway. Just thinking of that famous Ricky Craven/Kurt Busch finish still gives me goose bumps to this day! It was especially special to us New England fans who had our one Maine born driver racing in the "Winston" cup! I told my parents to come into the room to see this awesomeness with me. They were the opposite of what you would call race fans. They were those who could not understand why people could be fascinated with cars running around in circles. Well I changed their minds that day and we never looked back since!

   It was a few years later I made another huge discovery, Indycar racing! The race was the 2005 Indy 500! Up until this day I had only heard of "Nextel" cup and "Busch" racing. I knew there was a truck series too but we didn't have speed. But on this day in May of 05, I went to visit my grandmother to see her at the nursing home as she recovered from her hip replacement. On her small grainy television was a different kind of race unlike anything I had ever seen before. Cars were going 230mph three wide and wide open! I was amazed! It turned out to be a historic race as well as the winner became my favorite driver of all time, Dan Wheldon. Also there was some girl driver nobody ever heard of that lead some laps in that race. I did not pay much attention to her name but she later became my idol. 

       Throughout the years I became a diehard race fan as obsessed as they come! I hardly miss a race. As a matter of fact, I have barely missed as much as a qualifying session since 04. I can still remember that fall afternoon crying so hard because my parents dragged me to a birthday party during the 2004 Phoenix race. My still favorite driver Ryan Newman was on the pole so I was throwing quite the tantrum. I cannot stand to miss a race even when I have it recording at home. Going to New Hampshire Motor Speedway is the highlight of my year each and every year. It will always be my home away from home. The fact that I can be a writer for the sport I love so dearly is an amazing dream come true! I am going to be a writer from the prospective of a fan, not a sold out media member keeping a neutral, unbiased cookie cutter approach to their stories. I will be the writer that talks about the things in racing the fans want to here about as well as things most fans don't know about. 

             Auto racing is my whole life and always will be. God only knows what I would be doing with myself if I had never found racing but I am sure glad I did!