OURSLER: The Rambling Road
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Racing lost one of its own last week when Anne Roller was killed in a traffic accident coming home from work.
As tragic and unnecessary as her death was, the question is why should the vast majority of the racing community who didn’t know this bright, articulate and talented woman care?
After all, there are thousands victims of such deadly instances every year, of which Anne Roller is now one. The answer is simple — she mattered, changing and bringing joy to those who loved and knew her, and pleasure to millions of television racing fans around the world in her capacity as a top-notch graphic producer for such events as the Indy 500, NASCAR and sports car’s Rolex 24 At Daytona and Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.
Her job was to enhance and highlight what those millions of viewers were seeing on their screens at home through the words and visual effects she added to the story of the pictures they were watching. As such, she was one of those important people behind the scenes who have helped make motorsports the huge attraction it has become today.
Anne Roller was a superb practitioner of this art, so much so that she had risen through the ranks to become an ESPN executive in the graphics field. If there is anything remotely positive in her loss, it is that her death serves to highlight and remind us of the thousands of unrecognized individuals without whom motorsports couldn’t exist.
Others in this elite group whose recent passing should be noted are people like William C. Mitchell and Drino Miller; the former was a math wiz who as a suspension expert, kept Jack Roush at the forefront of the Sports Car Club of America’s Trans-Am series; and the latter was an engine genius who helped bring Porsche and Toyota multiple IMSA titles.
Like Anne Roller, their deaths have left holes in the lives and hearts of their families and friends. However, because of their talents their passing has also left holes in the fabric of the sport they served and loved. And, it is this legacy of their achievements for which they will be remembered long after the grief has subsided.
Unfortunately their contributions come from the past, not the future where they are needed the most because racing today is in a critical state; one where interest in it is declining.
To survive it needs the insights, the knowledge and the abilities of the Anne Rollers, the Bill Mitchells and the Drino Millers. Hopefully, there will be those who will fill their shoe, meeting or even exceeding the lofty standards they have set during their all too brief lifetimes.
Rest in peace all, you have left us better off because of your time with us.