Introduction – Welcome!
Welcome to the first post at Oilpressure.com. What better time to launch this site than May 1st…the first day in the Month of May. To any fan of IndyCar Racing and the Indianapolis 500, there is no better time – so let’s get started!
First of all, subsequent posts will not be this lengthy – hopefully. Starting out, I’ll comment on any interesting news from the Speedway throughout the Month of May. I will try to update daily, even in the off-season. Some days I may have several updates. In addition to current news and notes; with all due respect and apologies to Donald Davidson, I will offer a nostalgic view at Indy-type racing. What will differentiate this site among others is that I will be very opinionated without purposely seeking out controversy. Sometimes my opinions may not even involve racing, but most times they will.
First, a little about your blogger…
Growing up in Tennessee, if you mentioned auto racing, people thought you meant stock cars. Living in Tennessee today, that’s still the case. I will watch a NASCAR race occasionally, and have even attended a few. But NASCAR holds very little appeal to me. The cars at Indy have always been my passion, even as a little boy. I started going to the Indianapolis 500 in 1965 at the age of six. I was actually hooked the previous year, when my father took my brothers to the 1964 race but left me behind fearing I was too young. My mother had the radio on and that was my first introduction to Sid Collins, “The Greatest Spectacle In Racing” and IndyCar racing in general.
I’ll get this out right now… For clarification purposes, I will tend to use the term IndyCar racing as a generic term whether it involves the IRL, CART, Champ Car, USAC or even AAA. I’ll expand on my theory in subsequent posts.
I attended every race at Indy from 1965 through 1972 except for 1966, when my father took my grandfather and uncle instead. Every summer following the race, I would devour every tidbit of information I could from that year’s program while dreaming of next year. In the sixties, you were either a fan of A.J or Mario…it couldn’t be both. Throughout childhood and adulthood I’ve had different idols and favorites in IndyCar Racing, but if I had to pick my all-time favorite – it would be Anthony Joseph Foyt, Jr.
My other heroes (in no particular order) are Roger Penske, Dan Gurney, Jim Hurtubise, the aforementioned Donald Davidson, Big Al & Uncle Bobby, Rick Mears, Paul Page, Wilbur Shaw, Parnelli Jones, Tony Kanaan, Robin Miller, Helio Castroneves, Curt Cavin, Tony Hulman, Dario Franchitti and Alan B. Shepard (the astronaut—see, it’s not ALL about racing).
Noticeably absent from my list is Tony George. That’s another topic for another day. Suffice it to say however; I was not a proponent of the Indy Racing League when it was first announced in March of 1994. CART certainly had its issues and we’ll discuss that at another time as well, but they put a good product out there. The formation of the IRL, in my opinion, did more to alter the landscape of motorsports in the U.S. than anything else in the past 50 years.
After the 1972 race, my father lost interest in making the two trips to the Speedway every May – Pole Day and Race Day. To my astonishment, he gave up our covered seats in Stand A. I would not return for another twenty years, but I never lost interest. While wrapping up my freshman year at the University of Tennessee in 1977, I was glued to the radio listening to Paul Page’s first broadcast, as Foyt became the first four-time winner. I watched Kevin “Coogan” plow into AJ on the delayed telecast in 1982. I eagerly awaited the first “live” telecast of Indy in 1986, only to have it rained out for a week.
Finally, while driving back to Tennessee from a trip to Chicago in the summer of 1991, I got the idea to stop and visit the Speedway while going through Indianapolis. The bug bit me again. Beginning in 1992, I attended the next four races and even bought the bronze badges in 1995. With the formation of the IRL in 1996 however, I stopped going. To me, the late 90’s are the “dark days” of Indy. When Chip Ganassi took his CART team to Indy in 2000 and won it with Juan Montoya, that was the day that Indy started to regain its glory. I went back in 2003 and haven’t missed a race since. The days of glory haven’t fully returned and perhaps they never will, but this site can focus on reliving those days and how to improve it in years to come.
I am not alone in my passion for the Indianapolis 500, but our numbers are dwindling. I loved CART in its day, but was hoping to see it go away about five years before it did. The IndyCar Series of today shows promise but has its own issues, as well. It is my goal that this website will be a celebration of what I consider to be the greatest annual event in the world, along with the series that surrounds it. However, I will never be one accused of “drinking the Kool-Aid” for the Indy Racing League. Their problems need to be addressed and corrected. I will certainly take them to task, when appropriate.
I embrace the present and the past. I’m as big a fan of the 2006 Indy 500 as the 1957 race. While they were classic, I did not lament the demise of the roadsters. I didn’t mind the invasion of foreign drivers or the introduction of road courses…although I prefer ovals. I thought the Andy Granatelli turbines were the coolest things going, but I thought the winged monsters of the 70’s were hideous. I am not a Danica fan, but Sarah Fisher is one of my favorites. The Lola was beautiful, while the March was ugly. I like Penske, but not Ganassi.
Hopefully, if anyone is actually reading this in all of its length, they can now tell where I stand. I am not a gear-head, but I know enough to tell the difference between an Offy and a Novi. Instead, I tend to follow the teams, cars and drivers. I will cover topics mentioned previously such as; what makes AJ Foyt my favorite driver, how the early days of the IRL made the late ‘90’s the dark days of Indy. From time to time, there will be guest bloggers that can get more technical than I care to imagine. If you agree or disagree with me, let me know. Something you’d like to see on this site? Let me know that, as well. It is and will probably always be a work-in-progress. I’ll try new things. Some will work, some will not. As long as it involves the Indianapolis 500 or IndyCar racing in general, it will never be work to me. After all, it’s the Month of May!