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“The Trouble with Howard” Now Available

INDIANAPOLIS — What could possibly go wrong if a skunk was in the pits at an auto race?

“The Trouble with Howard,” a children’s book based on a real-life story about auto racers Howard and Anita Millican and their pet skunk, is available now through the website and at select retail outlets.

The 48-page hardcover book is a collaboration between author and motorsports veteran Lee Anne Patterson, a native of Atlanta, and acclaimed racing illustrator Roger Warrick of Hamilton, Ohio.

The story is based on the experiences of driver and mechanic Howard Millican and his wife, Anita. The latter became the first woman licensed IndyCar mechanic in 1980. She was also the first woman to go over the pit wall during pit stops at IndyCar races as a pit crew member. She was the jack “man.”

The book promotes gender equality and encourages girls to tackle STEM careers. It also suggests how to handle bullies and ways to display good sportsmanship.

In addition, it inspires compassion towards animals. A portion of the proceeds will go to animal rescue operations.

Patterson wrote the book for children who are 5 to 8 years old. Each page carries Warrick’s colorful illustrations like a picture book. It is sure to resonate with auto racing fans of all ages as well as others with no knowledge of the sport. 

The book chronicles the story of an injured wild skunk who was treated and adopted by Howard and Anita Millican before they were married. They named him “Trouble.” He travels with the couple from race to race, but never sprays anyone. Most of the racers learn to like Trouble with the exception of Jack, a driver who uses not-so-nice moves on and off the track.

One day Jack scares Trouble out of the tractor-trailer the Millicans use to transport their race car to events, and Trouble becomes lost. Scared and tired, he eventually finds a hiding place in the cockpit of Jack’s race car. He’s still hiding in it when a race starts.

On the last lap Jack gives Howard’s race car a shove in an effort to win. Terrified, Trouble runs up Jack’s chest. Jack loses control of the car and they crash.

Howard wins the race. Trouble and Jack are both unhurt, but Trouble sprays Jack.

Howard, Anita and Trouble celebrate in victory lane. Showing good sportsmanship, Howard gives Jack several cans of tomato juice to use to try to alleviate the odor from being sprayed.

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