I was lucky enough to know Ralph Sanchez, a first-class racing promoter, philanthropist, great friend and wonderful father.
I first met him when I was an aspiring race-car driver. When he found out about my dream, he arranged for me to run my first professional race with the factory Chrysler team in the IMSA race at the downtown Miami Grand Prix, an unbelievable thrill.
In return, at the charity event for that race, he had me drive off the track at the end of afternoon practice directly into the ballroom to provide the guests and donors with an up-close view of a race car. Quite the promoter.
The 1989 Miami Grand Prix was held shortly after the abduction of my daughter, Tiffany Sessions. I asked Ralph if he would let me pass out flyers. He not only allowed me to do it, he insisted that his staff help as well, in spite of the fact that it ended up taking a lot of their time and added to the cleanup costs after the race.
But what I remember most about Ralph was his public love for his wonderful wife, Lourdes, his daughter, Patricia, and his son, Rafa. His love, pride and respect for them was something we should all aspire to in our lives.
In a business where being a winner is everything, Ralph Sanchez crossed the finish line as exactly that, a winner, in every sense of the word.
Patrick Sessions, Miami