My first thought that I may have been in over my head was just before our press trip breakfast, when they pulled us over, one at a time, to sign a waiver of responsibility. “This is serious stuff,” I laughed, to which no one responded. At all. And then, during a very brief course overview, the word “chicane” was mentioned and everyone nodded knowingly. Ok, I thought, this isn’t funny anymore. Sending a bunch of car journalist-types to drive a sedan on an Indy Car test track in the middle of a South Florida swamp may have looked good on paper, but walking on jellied legs to pick out a helmet, a wave of regret swept over me. After smacking my helmeted head on the roof as I entered the car, I sat and waited my turn, grasping for some kind of game plan. Coming up with none, when signaled, I simply floored it. I noticed paths of skid marks, so I followed them. And then I slammed on the brakes. Over and over I repeated this process (flooring, following, slamming), occasionally checking the rear view for fear of being passed. At a certain point, I looked up to see some dude waving a checkered flag (literally), and I had a fleeting thought that I had actually won, only then realizing that this would be my last lap. Finding no exit signs on the racetrack, I missed the turn off on my initial pass, all the while flooring, slamming, flooring, slamming, until ultimately I made it back and quickly exited the car, thinking I dodged a bullet, remembering the two other instances when I faced my mortality. One was when I was helping a friend move a couch down a flight of stairs and I felt myself lose my balance and my grip at the same time, thinking in that instant, “I can’t believe it’s going to end moving a couch.” The other involves some shady figures in Marrakesh and we’ll leave it at that. Anyway, for the record, a chicane is a series of tight turns in opposite directions in an otherwise straight stretch of a road-racing course. photography by Evan Gubernick