© Andrew S. Hartwell
Over the last few months Mother Nature repeatedly visited the state of Florida while she was in a very bad mood. So bad was her mood that she wreaked havoc in the form of three consecutive hurricanes that struck this peninsula with such fury as to leave thousands without homes and millions of citizens without power. The stories of damage done and lives lost is still being written. But despite the devastation, the good people of Florida are already putting things back together, and their determination to rebuild is just as fierce as were the hurricane winds that brought them to this condition.
The mid-central section of Florida suffered direct hits from hurricanes Charley, Frances and Jeanne. This area includes such towns and villages as Wauchula, Avon Park, Bowling Green, Lake Wales and Sebring, among others. Yes, that is the very same Sebring where the annual 12 Hours of Endurance race takes place each March. And, despite the destruction wrought by big momma wind-bag, we have been assured the 53rd running of the American Le Mans Series sanctioned Sebring International Raceway (SIR) event will be back as good as new come March 19, 2005.
We caught up with Ken Breslauer, the Communications Director and Track Historian for SIR, to get an update on the condition of the circuit. Breslauer has been an integral part of the Sebring facility operations since 1985. Early in his career he was a sports writer for the Gannett News Service and he spent years covering the SIR races for that outlet. As time passed he became involved with assisting SIR staff with media operations and this eventually led to his moving into a permanent operations position with the circuit. Breslauer has seen it all at Sebring and so we asked him to give us an idea of the devastation caused by the hurricanes and to also tell us a bit about what lies ahead for the 2005 season.