By Alex Lloyd, Editor-at-Large for Yahoo! Autos
Crossing the finish line in fourth place at the 2010 Indy 500 was a highlight of my racing career. Another was winning the 2007 Indy Lights Championship, becoming the only driver in history to claim victory on both the Indianapolis road course and oval. In addition to contesting four Indy 500s, I competed twice in the Daytona 24-hour race, finishing fifth in 2009. In 2011, however, at the IndyCar season finale in Las Vegas, my racing career came to an abrupt halt. I was involved in the tragic accident that claimed the life of my friend, Dan Wheldon. In fact, I was only feet behind him heading into turn one as the mayhem unraveled. The last race I ever competed in ended with me smashing into a wall at 225 mph.
But I'm OK with that. After all, I have three kids and another on the way, making the risks far more pronounced. The extreme highs and lows of racing led me to a career change. I still indulge in my love of fast cars, but as a writer for Yahoo! Autos, my objective is to express that experience for the benefit of car buyers. Fortunately, I also have an English degree, and my passion for the written word rivals my adoration for the motor vehicle.
Ideally, all automotive writers should understand what cars feel like and how they behave at the limits of performance. How can anybody provide truly expert commentary on a sports car, for example, if they don't have the capabilities to explore its actual limits? Not that the job only entails driving exotic cars. Car writers also need to write for the everyday consumer; fantastic Ferraris are fun to read about, but what about an affordable family car that saves cash at the pump? Again, I draw from my own life experience as the target market for minivan makers.
At Yahoo! Autos, I'll share my knowledge and impart what I've learned from racing to help consumers make informed decisions that will impact their everyday lives. I'll also drive thrilling cars, report about breaking industry news from major auto shows, and challenge myself on new and inspiring journeys.
Do I miss racing? Sometimes. But then I get to travel to St. Tropez to test-drive Mercedes' latest supercar. Unsurprisingly, that feeling floats away (it's amazing what a Mediterranean sea breeze can do). I honestly believe I have the best job in the world. Prior to this, I had the second-best job. Now, instead of racing around in circles, I'm off on adventures, driving exotic cars, with the track all to myself.