Lindy Thackston Is One Of Us
A couple of days ago, sometimes blogger and longtime derelict Roy Hobbson came out of hibernation to write a post over at Pressdog.com. Unlike most of his drunken and incoherent ramblings, this one actually had a point – and a serious one at that. In fact, it was so serious that I felt the need to take up the cause, as well.
Apparently, word has gotten out that the on-air personalities for the Versus telecasts of the IZOD IndyCar Series are in contract limbo. Some may return, while some may not. One of those that might find themselves in the latter category is Lindy Thackston.
That is a shame. No, it’s more than a shame. It’s inexplicable. I have been watching IndyCar races for a long time – longer than many of you have been alive. A female pit-reporter in racing is a relatively new concept. I can’t swear to this, but I don’t think they existed as recently as fifteen years ago. I can’t speak for NASCAR, but I know that CART had no female reporters in 1996. That means there is a relatively small sample to compare, but for my money – Lindy is the best of the lot. In fact, I consider her to be one of the best of the current pit reporters – male or female – in either series.
Unlike Mr. Hobbson, I have no personal ax to grind. Roy has been a friend of Lindy for a while now. It’s admirable that he would come to the aid of a friend, but they are friends. I don’t know Lindy Thackston. I have never met her. All I know about her is what you and I see on race weekends. I also follow her on Twitter (@lindythackston), where I feel like I’ve gotten at least a glimpse into her real personality.
All that I know about her background is that she is a native Hoosier and is a Purdue grad. I know she currently lives in Orlando and covered ALMS before coming to IndyCar in 2009. Those are all the facts I know about Ms. Thackston. Everything else is based strictly on the impressions I get watching her on Versus during qualifying and race coverage.
But the opinions and impressions I have formed over the past two seasons are very favorable. To me, Lindy Thackston is actually the face of Versus. I don’t really watch hockey or bull fighting. IndyCar is really the only thing I watch on Versus. When Versus came on board, I was already familiar with Jack Arute, Jon Beekhuis, Robbie Buhl and of course, Bob Jenkins. I had never heard of Lindy Thackston or Robbie Floyd. I have nothing bad to say about Robbie Floyd, but there has been nothing he’s done that makes him memorable. Lindy, on the other hand, stood out the first time they introduced her.
When I saw the blurb announcing the Versus team before the 2009 season, I incorrectly assumed that Lindy had been added simply to give a female presence. It didn’t take long to realize she had a keen understanding of the IZOD IndyCar Series. She had either done her homework very well or she had been following this series for a long time – perhaps a combination of both. In the second Versus race, she proved that she was not a one-race fluke. She really knew her stuff. Lindy quickly established herself as one of us.
Lindy Thackston is one of those rare sportscasters that gives you the impression that they aren’t doing this for a paycheck or to advance their career. They are doing this out of their love for the sport. As best I can tell, she contributed her “Lindy-pendent Thoughts” to The Silent Pagoda for nothing other than a nice thank-you from Roy Hobbson. She is also a favorite of Pressdog who has affectionately dubbed her as "LindyCar".
She has a great rapport with fans. There have been times on Twitter where she’ll tweet with fans at length. I’ve been part of a few live blogs that Lindy has been on, where she has been the target of a few ogling fans. Some got past the point of being just a little weird, but Lindy laughed it off in good humor. In my humble opinion (which counts for nothing), the IZOD IndyCar Series is better off after having Lindy Thackston in it for the past two seasons.
So why on earth is her contract status even in question? According to Trackside last night, this may just be part of the legal process that parent company Comcast is going through, as it completes its purchase of NBC. If it’s anything other than that, someone at Versus needs to have their head examined. LindyCar IS Versus.
Last season, Lindy served as host of IndyCar Central – the forty-five minute Versus pre-race show. It was seamless. She has a good rapport with drivers and the show seemed to have a very nice flow with Lindy at the anchor desk. Then she would don her firesuit before each green flag and assume her role in the pits. She even snagged the plum job of victory lane interviews from Jack Arute, who had handled those duties for years with ABC/ESPN.
Lindy Thackston is still young and has built a nice resume. If she is not retained by Versus, she’ll land elsewhere – perhaps in a much better paying gig. But it probably wouldn’t be covering the IZOD IndyCar Series. In my selfish point of view, that’s where she belongs.
So if there’s anything we can do, let’s do it. Contact Versus here and let them hear from you. There are a lot of good things going on with this series and Lindy Thackston is one of them. She needs to stay in the series. She’s one of us.