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It’s not often I can tell you that I heard about a book from a racer. Books for this column come to me by various ways. Some are by authors I already love. Some books are ones that are recommended to me by friends who know I like to read and have a thing for motorsports books. Some are offered up by publishers or publishing companies who think that they are something I will enjoy and would like to review here on the Reading List. But then there are the ones I find on my own. This one can kind of be categorized like that. I follow racer Pippa Mann on Instagram (and twitter) because I love her positivity in her posts.  She posted a photo several months ago of a book called “Chasing Checkers” that she was reading poolside and I admit that I was curious about the novel especially when the last name of the author caught my eye so I decided to look it up on Amazon. After reading the synopsis I one-clicked it immediately however I didn’t get to read it until last week. I figured at the least it would provide good fodder for the Reading List. But I am pleased to say that I am excited to bring you the review of this book.

Chasing Checkers by Christopher Hinchcliffe is a young adult novel that tells us the story of Teddy “Chex” Clark- a teen who has been racing since he was 7 years old. Teddy has always dreamed of being a racer. The book details young Teddy’s racing career in GoKarts, through a racing school series, to what will be the biggest race of his career. A race that brings with it the opportunity of a seat in the series the next year and purse money that would make paying for races much easier for Teddy and his family.  However just like real life, it’s not all about racing.  Teddy is faced having to deal with life beyond racing while staying focused on the task at hand. Teddy learns to deal not just with issues that race up in the cockpit but out of the cockpit as he balances expectations, family drama, and friends (old and new) along with his chosen passion of racing. All while learning the ins and outs of new car and a more competitive series than he’s ever been in before.

Readers don’t need to have motorsports knowledge to enjoy this book. It’s definitely an easy read for an adult and would likely be appropriate for children ready to jump from beginning chapter books to regular chapter books. The language is pretty easy and would probably work for newish chapter book readers. As an adult I enjoyed this novel and hope that we will hear more about Teddy. I recommend this book for young and old race fans who want a good novel about a young driver working his way through the motorsports world.

About the author: Christopher Hinchcliffe is a Canadian author from Ontario Canada who teaches legal and political philosophy on the side. He also happens to be the brother of INDYCAR driver James Hinchcliffe. You can find out more about him on his website: ChasingCheckersBook.com or twitter handle @CMHinchcliffe.

For Full-Disclosure purposes (I am looking at you FTC):

I purchased my copy of Chasing Checkers for Kindle- it was not provided to me by any entity. As with all my reviews on BadGroove, the words and opinions on this book are my own.

Click here for other installments of Amy’s #NASCAR Reading List

(photo source: Zimbio.com/Sarah Crabill/Getty Images North America)

The race at Michigan was just that- a race. There wasn’t anything too exciting about said race other than the debris caution thrown towards the end of the race. Martin Truex Jr added to his collection of segment wins collecting two of them during the race’s first two segments, however it was Kyle Larson, who was as Mike Joy ironically pointed out during the national broadcast, was driving a Cars 3 inspired paint scheme and firesuit who won…on opening weekend of a movie that was number one in the box office.  For me personally the race was just an eh on the excitement meter but as a long time race fan I know that these things just work out that way sometimes.

Drivers that disappointed: Martin Truex Jr., Clint Bowyer, Kasey Kahne

Drivers that impressed: Denny Hamlin, Chase Elliot, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.

However, what I am more drawn to writing about this week is something that was brought to my attention actually via IRL and now Sportscar driver Pippa Mann. For those who aren’t familiar with Pippa- she is a British open-wheel driver who started in karts in Europe and worked her way up through the open wheel ranks in Europe before moving to the United States in 2009 to race Indy Lights and then transitioned to IndyCar in 2011. She is currently the fastest female driver on record at Indianapolis Motor Speedway at 230.1 mph set this year during May’s “Fast Friday” precursor to the Indy 500. This year she is also making her debut into American Sportscar Racing driving with Prestige Performance and Wayne Taylor racing. If you have followed my Amy’s NASCAR Reading list posts you might remember me mentioning author Tammy Kaehler and the Kate Reilly Racing Mystery series- Pippa Mann provides Tammy with the technical/research assistance needed to write a series from the view point of a driver without being a driver.

(Photo source: Zimbio.com/Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images North America)

Anyway, I enjoy following Pippa on social media and it was through that that I found out that there is talk in Europe about creating a female-only racing series to give “girls” a place to race instead of with the young men. Pippa wrote a brilliant post about it on her blog- that I just want to highly suggest you read called The Handmaid’s Racing Series.  The points she makes are spot on in her post but there is one specifically that caught my attention and I will point that out to you here by paraphrasing the last couple of sentences in Pippa’s blog post. Why would you want to strip away the ability for females to compete in one of the few sports out there in which women and men can complete against each other equally, instead setting up a special “sideshow series for girls only” as Pippa so eloquently called it? Honestly the whole idea of it kind of insults me as a female motorsports fan.  I want to watch all drivers compete in the same series with the same opportunities for sponsorships and support.