Jeff Krosnoff, 25 years on...
Twenty-five years ago this afternoon, the world lost Jeff Krosnoff and Gary Arvin during the 1996 CART Molson Indy Toronto race.
I was in my first month racing karts, but was following IndyCar racing with great interest. My favorite driver, Greg Moore, was in his rookie season in CART, but I was equally impressed with Krosnoff, who was on occasion out driving the Toyota engine that was lumped in his PPI machine.
Even in July 1996, when I was still 11, I was collecting things- baseball cards, model cars and on occasion, bits of memorabilia whenever they'd pop up in shops.
Then eBay came along, and my collecting 'went to 11.' In the winter of 1999, a suit came up for sale claiming to be one of Krosnoff's and after careful consideration and documentation from the seller- who worked for PPI, we made the purchase.
Twenty years later, we still hadn't figured out how to properly showcase an item that is so rare and ultimately- so important to remember the legacy of a man who was just on the cusp of breaking through as a legitimate contender in CART.
So, at the Formula Ford 50th event at Road America in September, 2019, I delivered a letter to Paul Pfanner, explaining that as a close friend of Jeff, he should be the caretaker of the suit going forward, and perhaps proudly display it at RACER magazine headquarters.
I then told him if it was agreeable to him, the suit was sitting in our trailer in the paddock, and to come on by. I didn't have to ask twice.
I won't tell you what emotions came out, or from whom when the now-vintage Sparco bag was unzipped. But we knew at that instant that it was going to the right place.
You cannot replace people in this lifetime, but if the memories of them are alive with you, and you are able to spread them to others, it is the best sort of tribute you can possibly offer.