a bit of death defying fun!

Paul Mercurio - UBER-STAR Shoot1.jpg

43 Responses to “a bit of death defying fun!”

  1. Paul says:

    Media Informa ion: June 4, 2008
    Whether its cooking up a storm in a Hunter Valley vineyard, judging in Dancing
    with the Stars, choreoraphing a Hollywood blockbuster or presiding over the
    brew of his own boutique beer Paul Mercurio has just about done it all, except
    for being a fully-sponsored race driver. That changes this weekend at the Midas
    400, Sandown (June 7-9), when he is the latest MINI CHALLENGE UBER-STAR.
    Mercurio and race tracks aren

  2. Paul says:

    An update:
    I was 17th fastest in the first practice (that’s 3rd slowest who want to look at the glass half empty) Practice was a wet affair on slicks which meant racing on an ice skating rink and yes I did come off in a fairly spectacular fashion at the fairly fast turn one. I spun around and skidded off the track and into the grass for what felt like five minutes but was proabably only 5 seconds.
    In qualifying I came 15 fastest (4 slowest – an improvment) and even better didnt fall off the track at all!!
    It (racing) is too much fun and yet at the same time as scary as hell! It is confronting, intimidating and yet asks much of ones self on a fairly intimate level – can I do this, am I good enough, can I break that fear barrier, am I going to kill myself and is this really fun/ – hell yes!
    I have two races tomorrow and one on Monday wish me luck.

  3. GRANDMA MIL says:

    Oye, vey, I wish you were doing some cooking or dancing instead…fingers crossed for a safe ride
    and don’t rush too much; second or third place would be good too…
    Shalom and love,
    Grandma Mil

  4. Liz says:

    Your’re magnificent! You’re welcome to join our dragon boat races (not as fast); we have the race today and also our upcoming beerfest! Wishing you luck!!!

  5. Marian says:

    WHAT FUN!!!! Love the joy on your face in the pic!!! Know that fear barrier when I misjudge a corner and take it way to fast, then the thrill of coming out of it okay. What fun indeed!!!

  6. MaryS says:

    This just made my heart skip a beat with utter excitement! It just so happens that I was just outside watching an F-16 fighter jet skipping across the sky as if there were absolutely no boundaries! There is a small airport across the street from my work and they have the air shows each year. Today was some sort of open house and a few small air performances took place. I just cannot believe the bravery of some people. Our Paul is certainly an example of such thrill seeking bravado!! You rock Paul! I wish I could be there in person!
    Be careful!!
    oye vey Grandma. You crack me up! 😉

  7. Paul says:

    Grand Ma Mil, there is no chance of me finishing 2nd or 3rd as the first 7 guys driving (and leading) the challenge are in fact professional race car drivers. The rest of them are non and or ex professionals with many years of experience racing all sorts of cars and on the track I am driving for this race meeting. So to be 15 on the grid out of 18 is a pretty good result. Yesterday was qualifying, today I have two races and I am a little nervous but also excited! If I can finish in 15 then that would be a great result if I can finish a little further forward a fantastic result and if I finish last I will be disappointed but pleased I finished because to not finish would be the worst.
    Oh the ego!!
    I’m normally not a competitive person but racing kinda brings it out, encourages it even demands it because that is what pushes you to find that little bit more, to be a little bit better, to get closer to that fine line of getting through the corner or not. Hopefully today I will get a little closer to that fine line but not cross it.

  8. Sarah says:

    I think I’d be dangerous if any of my friends or family ever gave me one of those gifts where you can be a racecar driver for a day. I like to drive fast way too much. :o)
    Best of luck to you, Paul!

  9. Paul says:

    Race day is over and here are my results:
    I in fact qualified 14th so I started the first race in the 14th grid position. I got a good start which was spoilt some what with a gear change from second to fifth and then back to third – ho hum. We all piled in to the first corner which whilst I was back a little I was still up in a group of people and cars and feeling good about it all. I turned in nicely only to be broadsided by another driver (who after the race admited fault) which caused me to lose my focus and gears and I got passed by a couple of cars. I had a car in front that I was faster than but couldnt get past for 3 laps (he could have been blocking the lines but I would not say that here) anyway to cut a ten lap race short I finally got past him (underneath in turn one – very exciting) and went on to finish in 13th postion with a best lap of 1 26.8! (almost 2 seconds better than my qualifing!) The fastest lap in race one was 1 24.09 and the slowest was a 1 32.42
    Race 2: I got a really good start didnt miss any gears and probably got through turn one in 11th place. It was all looking good(see whats coming) I felt comfortable (its coming) I got through turns 2,3 and 4 with 7 cars kinda breathing down my neck but nothing too close (I thought) We all zoomed up and over the fast and dangerous turn 6 down through turn 7 and then braking harder than you have ever braked in your life and then some for the tight left hand turn 8. All good (or so I thought) I turned in to turn 8 and low and behold (this is it) the same guy that hit me in race one decided to make a lunge through turn 8 and in order to make it around used me to bump him in the right direction! (he after the race admited fault) I got flustered(inexperience) missed my gears and got passed by three cars!!!! To say I was not happy is a good thing because the red mist descended and I was off! Unfortunately the car in front of me was the same car that held me up for 3 laps and was difficult to get around in race one (I wouldnt say they were blocking the corners, well not here) Any way I wasnt going to sit behind them for 3 laps again so I did what any one brave or silly enough would do….I outbraked them (on the inside no less) in the rather dangerous run into turn 6! Job done, after that they thought I was crazy enough to stay well away from, either that or they couldnt keep up with me. (oh dear now I’m getting cocky!)
    I set out for the car that had used me to get through turn 8 and was catching him and then caught him due to the fact that he had fried his clutch and his race was done. I eventually finshed in 12th with a best lap of 1 27. The fastest lap was a 1 23.9 and the slowest a 1 33.03
    All in all a great day and a great result.
    One more race tomorrow and they are forcasting rain!!! Could be a real challenge but then maybe that is why the series is called “The Mini Challenge”

  10. Grandma Mil says:

    Me thinks it’s almost like competition in the paso doble….
    Shalom and Love,
    Your Grandma Mil who worries too much!

  11. Melody says:

    Gee, Paul, starting at 14, then to 13 and now at 12! Just reading it got my heart rushing–must have been awesome to watch! (BTW–How are Andrea and the girls doing?) 😉
    Can’t wait for the next update!!

  12. Liz says:

    When you are fully engaged in what you are doing and there is nothing but just being. I could imagine that to be a kind of spiritual experience. The outside is all chaotic but you seem in tune with what is going on down to the gears and brakes of the car and your full attention is at what’s going on at the moment. Car racing is like zen meditation but I am not good in either one. Best to you, Andrea and the girls!!! Paul, you take the PCs to many adventures. Thanks!!!

  13. Julie says:

    I can say I’m jelous to no end. Wish I could photojournal it.
    A little competition never hurt anyone. So let the tires rip and show them who’s boss on that track. (actually Grandma Millie and I have a bet going on so try to finish in the 5-11 range if you can so she’ll have to give me the dollar).
    Of course I’m kidding!
    all my best and good luck,

  14. Grandma Mil says:

    You’re on, Julie! May I use my credit card??
    Shalom and Love,
    Grandma Mil

  15. Evelyn says:

    OK, this is nerve wrecking to read … good luck on another day of racing and stay on the track?!?
    I’m in Munich now and a little overwhelmed by a new city and trying to find my way around, but so far I didn’t get lost, accomplished all the things I needed to and am working on working out some kinks and challenges–like food preparation. Why on earth would someone rent out a room and then not give you cooking access in their kitchen? I didn’t know about this until the day I moved in .. granted I’m in the research library most of the day, but still, it sucks! what about weekends? Don’t like this! Good thing I’m currently not particularly hungry due to stress and am mostly into fruits and vegetables, Mum may just get lucky and see me more often on weekends, but the train is also quite pricey. LIfe throws interesting curve balls … and I’m going to find a (reasonably) good solution!
    Again happy racing Paul!

  16. liz says:

    waiting for the update and blogging fr work. cant wair rto know the result…

  17. Julie says:

    Ok Millie if Paul makes it in the top ten than you owe me a dollar if not than I owe you the dollar. I accept Matercard, Visa but no American Express unfortunatly they’re a pain to deal with 😉
    Evelyn, I can imagine the situation with no kitchen is frustrating. If it makes you feel better I would do anything not to cook and have an excuse to do it.
    all my best,

  18. Paul says:

    The last race was really quite exciting! As we were called to get in the cars and go to the holding area where we wait to be released out onto the track it looked like rain was coming. Everyone was to’ing and fro’ing as to fit wet weather tyres or go out on slicks, people were scanning the skies trying to work out when it would start raining and others were checking the wether maps on the mobile phones. So there I am in my car all suited and helmeted up with slicks already on and all of a sudden ithe call went out it was declared a wet race! Wow the action in the pits was electric – my mechanic jacked up the car off came the slicks on when the wets, people were running all over the place getting tyres, taking tyres the sound of the nuematic drills where wizzing up and down the pits, bonnets were going up as adjustments were made to the front and back suspension settings (softer for wet tyres to assist with grip) and then last minute instructions by my pit chief regarding driving/racing on wets – something I have never done before!! Then bang my car was dropped off the jacks and I was off to the holding area were more checks were done and more calming discussion on the merits of being smooth, finding the limits and most importantly having fun whilst not killing yourself. Ah I think I love racing!
    I was 12th on the grid for the start and got a very good start in fact I got up to 9th at one point which excited me quite a bit which was great and not so good because I had passed some of the fast guys who fairly promptly – in the next few corners passed me back. Damn, oh if I had more experience I could have taken the challenge to them but hey it was my first time on wet weather tyres and my first time ever to race a car in the rain. To cut a 10 lap race a little shorter – I held my own and kept up with a couple of the known fast guys. I lost it a couple of times through a couple of corners which is enormous FUN – by lost it I mean the car got real sideways and I had to counter this and counter that and feather the brakes the clutch and the accelerator so as to not spin around or spin off and keep going as fast as I could…..ah I really love racing a car!
    So I finshed 13th (out of 18) in my first ever wet race with a best lap of 1.32.7 – 2.6 seconds slower than the winner who incidently is a professional driver and quite famous in Australia for his brilliant V8 Supercar career. There were four of us in the 1.32’s – positions 10, 11, 12 and me in 13th and the slowest fastest lap was a 1.42.1 by the guy who came last.
    SO there you have it. I went on my first day to the track not knowing what to expect but hoping that I would do okay. My goals were to finish each racing with out damaging the car and with out coming last and hopefully improve a little each time. I am very happy with how I went and to say I was a fair way out of my comfort zone would be a fairly accurate comment. I fulfilled the charter of Uber Star driver for the Mini Challenge and loved every minute of it. The greatest compliments for me came from the other drivers including the guy who won the weekend. Not only did they give me support and advice they also gave me positive compliments re my driving and ability and coming from them that means a lot. One of the really fast guys came up and said to me “mate your doing really well, I thought you would be a lot further back and in a lot more trouble” Nice hey?
    If I had more time in the cars and more experience I reckon I could make a real go of it and I will miss not having that opportunity. But on top of that I will also miss (already miss) the comaraderie, being part of the team, the competition and the breadth of taking yourself out of your comfort and safety zone and succeeding even surviving that is quite addictive. Being part of a team makes one feel quite special, being a sponsored racing car driver made me feel damn good and today, the day after the weekend I am finally having the crash I didnt want to have on the track. Coming down from all that excitement from the experience and knowing the fantasy has finished is leaving me feeling quite grumpy, quite down – I am crashing and there is naught I can do but hang on for the ride. I cant even get on my computer and play my car racing game (the same track that I have just raced on) because it just ISNT the same.
    I survived the weekend, I will survive this little downer and I will be off and racing somewhere else sooner or later. As per usual I dont know what, when or where but when I do I will tell you about it.
    Until then, Julie you owe Millie a buck!

  19. Melody says:

    Awesome, Paul and in wet weather, too!
    (I should have took some of that action! LOL)

  20. Liz says:

    Great account of your experience. Thanks!!! Would prefer less death defying fun activities–your family must agree. It sounds like a great thing to do, but the worrying that the spectators do, esp those closest to you must be hard. Maybe you are persona non grata for a few days in your house…great writing that lets us get an idea of how it is like to race.

  21. Liz says:

    Scary and fun at the same time. You are not playing bumper cars on this race. I understand why G. Millie said Oy Vey!!! But all is well and the we’re glad for you!! Congrats!!!

  22. Julie says:

    Well Millie do you want it in cash, check or charge?
    Congrads Paul on being #13.
    It was a fun read.

  23. Grandma Mil says:

    …any way that I can get it, Julie!!
    The next event is the first screening of MBF on this Sunday, June 15th, in a lovely theatre in Sydney.
    Tara Morice will show it to the SBS and FCC people, plus others who helped her get to this point; Ellie and I will be those two big flies on the wall!!!
    Then, in September, she brings it to Florida for the world premiere. We’re starting to twitch with anticipation…a lot like starting a race, right
    Shalom and love,
    Grandma Mil

  24. MaryS says:

    Awesome Paul! Sheesh, I thought it would shake the cobwebs out and possibly even be life changing to just go down a water slide or jump off a rope swing into a lake…LOL I feel like a wuss now! You’re a real man! lol.
    I love the enthusiasm you have shown with this endeavor and how you embraced it. I sincerely shared in your excitement. I haven’t felt this giddy in a while!!
    Yeah baby!
    o.k. back to my drab life.

  25. Rosie says:

    My brother and I grew up on motorcycles but when he started actually racing, it took me years to get used to it. I’d go to the track, sit waaaay up in the stands and peek thru my fingers. LOL
    Now, I’m in the pits, screaming my head off and giving him hell if I think he held back!
    Congrats Paul – sounds like a BLAST!

  26. Sarah says:

    Way to go, Paul! :o)

  27. Liz says:

    Thanks G. Mil for the update. Is there a website where they will feature the film? Did the movie go into your hx growing up in Nebraska? As you speak Yiddish (Oy vey), are you from the Midwest but moved to NY? I know about the screen kissing. Will be waiting for updates.

  28. Evelyn says:

    Congrats Paul! well done and it sounds like you had fun!!!
    Julie, I love to cook, so not being able to do so for 8 weeks will be tough. Now if the ex would be nice … he would let me cook in his apartment every once in a while (we are trying to be friends, not sure if that’s really going to work, but…) and get the benefit from it as well. He at least used to like my cooking.
    OK, off to being a good researcher 🙂 I just wish the script in this medieval manuscript was a bit larger. 2 – 3 mm and densely written is not easy reading and it’s exhausting for the eyes, but I’m making good progress on the transcription.
    Best wishes to all!

  29. Grandma Mil says:

    Dear Liz,
    Yes, I was born in NYC (1933) but moved with my family west to Hastings, Nebraska, where my Dad went into the tractor parts business…I met Ellie there when I was 19 and he 21; he was stationed there as a Marine during the Korean War,
    and because of a bad eye, he was not sent overseas, but was the PX accountant at the Marine
    Base outside of Hastings.
    In MBF Tara interviewed me about that part of our lives, and it’s in MBF. I taught her the Yiddish word “bachert” which means “destined to be”. Even a clip of our wedding in 1953 will be shown.
    This Sunday, June 15, MBF is having its first screening in Australia at the Paddington Town Hall
    Cinema 2. The audience will be the people from SBS
    and the Film Finance Corporation plus family, etc.
    Ellie and I and Tara are very excited and nervous;
    I should be hearing from Tara by Sunday night or Monday morning, our time. Then, we will look forward to late September when she brings MBF to its premiere here in Florida. The red carpet treatment is already being planned for her!
    Evelyn, I was going to suggest that you get some
    sterno to cook with, but glad that the cooking problem is solved. We have sterno cans and a little sterno stove stashed away for emergencies
    during a hurricane, which is the season right now!
    Have a good weekend, everyone…will keep you posted on MBF.
    Shalom and Love,
    Grandma Mil

  30. Evelyn says:

    Dearest Grandma,
    the cooking “problem” is not solved to my satisfaction, eating out daily is not really my preferred way to go, but has to be the way at the moment or else, no dinner … speaking of which … 🙂
    don’t think I would be allowed to do sterno cooking … 🙁
    Happy weekend all!

  31. Melody says:

    Evelyn, if you truly enjoy cooking, this must be maddening! To be in another country, with food markets available–probably want to bring new things back to try, and it’s not always the same trying local fare in the restaurant when you’d like to cook yourself. Plus that eating out can be costly.
    Grandma Mil, it’s nice to hear about how you and Ellie met–very sweet and obviously a great match for your both. I know you can’t wait for Sunday!!
    Now for Paul–it’s Father’s Day in the US this Sunday. Passing good wishes to you celebrating a most important role in life and also to your family, and also to Ellie and other dads on PC!

  32. Grandma Mil says:

    Evelyn, it was really dumb of me to suggest sterno..of course, campers use it outside, but
    heaven help anyone that has to use it indoors..however, in case a hurricane comes to our area, we are ready if the electricity goes out!
    Melody, thank you for the Father’s Day wishes for Ellie. I will pass them on, and wish Paul also a great day with all those women in his house!
    We just saw the new movie, “Sex In the City”. We never watched it on HBO, but the movie was really entertaining, even for people our age! (It was
    that or “The Hulk”, so guess we made a good choice.)
    SITC was a bit raunchy in places, but the “girls” were beautiful, funny, and touching. Ellie said he doesn’t remember NYC being so beautiful,
    but then, we’ve been living in Florida 17 years!
    The Australian epic “Australia” directed by Baz
    Luhrmann and starring Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman is coming this summer. It is supposed to be the Aussie “Gone With The Wind”. We’ll see.
    Also, “Momma Mia” is slated for the summer also; I
    can’t wait! I love the ABBA music; Tara was always my “Dancing Queen” since SB.
    Shalom and Love,
    Grandma Mil

  33. GRANDMA MIL says:

    Pardon me, I was having a senior moment:
    The movie was: “Sex AND the City”…”…IN the City” will probably be the sequel..
    Shalom and Love,
    Grandma Mil

  34. Liz says:

    You need fire to cook..it’s like living in a college coop where there is no kitchen. Are you on campus, Evelyn? Being in a univ there are countless ways to eat…but maybe not in Munich. Are you reading medieval mysteries or poetry manuscripts? Can you read Rilke in the original? What an exciting life!
    G. Mil we are counting the days to the MBF premiere. This is your year!!! Happy Father’s Day to Ellie!!!Will be waiting for the news from Tara. Sunday our time. Today when something unpleasant came my way, I said Oy vey, then bashert and then I was at peace. Shalom. It worked.
    Happy Father’s Day to Paul! Since you and Andrea are such cool parents, what do your children do to rebel, like strive to be uncool? It would be hard to have a teenage rebellion when your parents are Paul and Andrea…that must be hard.

  35. Liz says:

    Grandma Mil, I did not mean to make light of the phrases in Yiddish as I know those phrases carry much meaning that probably cannot be completely understood by someone who is not Jewish; I did not mean to be disrespectful and make light of these phrases. I just wanted to remember the words, but know that these phrases are sacred and the full meaning may not be accessible to outsiders. Sorry if I used the words in that context.
    Still Grandma Mil I would like to sign up to be the fan of the biggest fan. Thinking of you and Ellie and I really admire you for all that you do!!!

  36. Grandma Mil says:

    Dear Liz,
    Please, please, do not worry about those Yiddish phrases; I enjoyed the way you used them, and I took no offense; in fact I am adding a few more, for these are used often, and you don’t have to be Jewish to use them!
    Schlep: To drag one self around, or to carry something very heavy..in fact, I schlep myself when walking with two knees that need to be replaced!
    Schlepper: A person who mooches off of others; is unkempt
    Mazeltov! Congratulations!
    Meshugah: Crazy
    A Shana Madel: A pretty girl
    Go to Google and type “Yiddish” in the search bar, and you will get lists and lists. Yiddish
    phrases have worked their way into the English venacular. Yiddish has German and Hebrew roots, and I’ll bet Evelyn and I could converse…a little!
    Ellie and I are waiting to hear from Tara about
    the first screening of MBF. Right now the opening is 4 hours off in Australia. I’ll know more tomorrow.(Sunday morning)’ Oy vey, Tara and I are both excited and nervous…
    Shalom: “Peace, hello, goodbye”
    Grandma Mil

  37. Liz says:

    Grandma Mil and Ellie and all the PCs
    and to Tara too
    Congratulations on your premiere!!!
    This link has a very brief description of the film…

  38. Grandma Mil says:

    Dear friends, it is 3:00 a.m. Sunday, and I just got off the phone after talking to Tara; the opening of MBF was a big hit she excitedly told me!
    She still had people in her home, for she hosted a
    reception after the screening. I also spoke to Diane, a friend of hers from the early days when SB was a play, and is the godmother of Ondine, Tara’s daughter.
    Diane told me that the audience of 65 people was
    emotionally touched by MBF; they laughed, they even cried, and all agreed that it was very inspiring, and should be shown around the world, to show what seniors can do!
    Needless to say Tara was elated, and I also; it was a long, hard journey to this point. Tara said she can’t wait to bring it to Wynmmor in September.
    I questioned her about the scenes that she used; 28 hours of film were shot, and had to
    be edited to 52 minutes…what a tribute to Tara and her editor!
    Ellie and I are relieved that this screening was so successful. The SBS people were there, and will probably push for an early date to show it in Australia, and to sell it around the world which means it is possible it could come to the U.S., perhaps on Public Television.
    Because Tara still had guests in her house, she said she would talk to me on Monday when she has more time, but she is sooo happy and relieved at the response, and so am I!
    Liz, thank you for that link to FFC. Their representatives were there too in the audience, and they were very happy…they did the funding!
    Shalom and Love,
    Grandma Mil

  39. Liz says:

    Congratulations and Maseltov!!!
    Yes, I would like to know what happens when Tara Morice meets Mildred Levine from Coconut Creek…
    If it will be showing in Austalia Public TV, then we will be next! I hope you are getting some sleep as the time difference makes it hard to call Australia. G. Mil and Ellie I just was watching a show where you actually grow and enrich your brain and grow new brain cells if you learn new challenging tasks, like acting in a movie and being a movie star!!!

  40. Grandma Mil says:

    Liz, thank you, and love your Yiddish!
    The synopsis posted on the FFC website was not the complete one. Here is the second paragraph:
    “My Biggest Fan” documents an unlikely friendship
    between two women from very different worlds, and
    reaffirms the power of a movie to bring people together.”
    Now, isn’t that what Paul and Cat have done also
    over the years here on PC?
    I hope my brain cells will be enhanced by all the
    noteriety and attention. Less senior moments would be a bonus! MBF sometimes feels rather surreal, like, is it really finally happening?
    Shalom and Love,
    Grandma Mil

  41. Liz says:

    A toast to your new movie!!!
    And to new brain cells!!!
    Thanks to Paul and Cat and the PCs!!!
    They may be all asleep in Australia.
    I remember Tara in SB saying “I have an idea…” and know what that leads to.

  42. MaryS says:

    Mazeltov! Congratulations! INDEED!
    How very exciting for you Millie, and for all of us, YOUR fans!!
    I will definitely be anticipating the day I can see this wonderful tribute to SB and to Tara’s biggest fan. We are all such loyal admirers of the movie and it’s stars and entire staff, and to an idea which will hold it’s charm forever.
    I think it’s time for me to watch the movie again. I’m so glad to own it.
    Happy Father’s Day to Paul, Ellie and all the fathers out there. This is my first without mine. Thankfully, I still have my mother, who really raised us five children alone. We do the best we can I guess.
    Love to you all!

  43. Melody says:

    Mazeltov, Grandma Mil!