|Budweiser girl Easton poses in front of James Hinchcliffe's car before the race in pit lane. (Jack Boland/QMI Agency)
Shawn Courchesne loves a car race.
The 18-year-old wasn’t going to let a serious spinal injury stop him from getting to Sunday’s Honda Indy in Toronto.
Courchesne, paralyzed from the waist down and confined to a wheelchair after a snowmobile mishap last winter, had a ringside seat for Sunday’s race, along with his father, Norman.
High-performance Indy cars piloted by track favourites such as Paul Tracy, Dario Franchitti, Danica Patrick and Alex Tagliani roared by, so fast at times they were just a blur of colour.
“We were on the other side last year,” said Norman, pointing to the stands on the south side of the track.
This year was their second time going to the Toronto Indy together. They were trackside, with an eagle-eye view of the starting grid.
Rob Robertson, 33, brought his daughter, Rebecca. This was Rob’s third Toronto Indy, and Rebecca’s first.
“I thought she was old enough now to survive the day,” said Robertson, sporting a Danica Patrick jersey. Already, Rebecca had collected the much-coveted autographs of race veteran Dario Franchitti, and Team Target driver Scott Dixon.
It was six-year-old Sebastian Diblasi’s first time, as well. But it surely won’t be the youngster’s last.
“They just go so fast,” he squealed, adding he liked how the rumble of the cars’ engines made his stomach feel.
His favourite driver? Sebastien Bourdais, of course, because they share the same first name.
“I think he’s enjoyed everything around (the race), rather than just the race,” said Diblasi’s father, Gustavo. “We were (sitting) at turn nine, and everything just went by so quick.”