Auto mechanic and gearhead idol Bill Caswell is passing through Madison in a few weeks, and I get to take him out to eat. Woot!
If you haven't heard of him, Caswell recently acheived fame by placing third in his class in the gruelling Mexico Rally in a twenty-year-old BMW. While not technically competing against $400k purpose-built racers, his $500 beater was competing against $60k+ race cars much newer and fitter for purpose on a course considered difficult by some of the best drivers in the world.
In my opinion, Caswell embodies the american ideal - through a combination of professional experience, improvisation, and sheer mad bravery, he managed to accomplish a seemingly insurmountable goal. Perhaps I'm something of a fanboy (okay, yeah....I'm a fanboy), but I feel it's important to reward those few individuals who who go out and challenge the status quo not through blind contrarianism or crackpottery but by proving through action that our abilities are, perhaps, not as limited as we perceive them to be.