A Friend To IndyCar Takes A Break

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The IndyCar blogosphere has sustained some substantial losses over the years. Since I started blogging in May of 2009, I’ve seen the likes of Is It May Yet?, My Name Is IRL and The Silent Pagoda all fall by the wayside. Each of those blogs were unique due to the humor they offered up as well as the insight they provided on the IndyCar Series from their perspective. Although they’ve all been gone for two or three years now, I still miss checking them out on a regular basis.

But with those sites gone from the blogosphere, there was always a constant that we could all depend on – Pressdog.com. It was there that several terms that have been adapted into the current lexicon of IndyCar fans were introduced. Pressdog coined the phrases “Cue the Circus Music (or clowns)”. “Manly tears” and of course “A Festival of Carbon Fiber (or anything else deemed appropriate)”.

Quite honestly, I took it for granted that Pressdog.com would always be there. I’ve been asked many times which blog sites do the bloggers regularly check out? I can’t speak for all bloggers, but with a full schedule on my plate – about the only ones I currently check out on a regular basis are More Front Wing, IndyCar Advocate, 16th and Georgetown, New Track Record, So…Here’s What I’m Thinking and Pressdog.com.

Well, nothing should be taken for granted. On Monday, our friend Pressdog announced that he had decided that eight years was enough and he would be going on hiatus, at the very least. It doesn’t sound like he’s going away entirely. He still plans to do a few interviews and his "Uncle Pressdog" posts, but he plans to cut way back on his IndyCar blogging – especially his classic and  patented "Post-Race Notes" and focus on other things.

In the time I’ve been doing this blog, I’ve seen many blog sites start up. Some are really excellent. Some are better than others, and there are some that need work. I’ve seen some really good ones start off like gangbusters and suddenly disappear as quickly as they came on the scene. I’ve seen others that you sort of knew from the beginning that they wouldn’t be around long – and they weren’t. I’ve plugged those that were really good. Some are still around, and some aren’t. The reason I plugged them was due to Pressdog. About six weeks after I started this site, he gave me an unsolicited and very favorable write-up. That day was what put this site on the IndyCar map. My readership quadrupled overnight and it was a direct result of Pressdog endorsing me and this site. I’ve never forgotten that and have always tried to help other newcomers, just as he helped me.

Blogging is not easy. At times, you struggle for something to write about – especially in the offseason. Then when you post an opinion that you solidly believe in – you get hammered. I’m fairly thick-skinned and am pretty firm in my convictions, but every once in a while – you get tired of the naysayers who seem to pounce at the opportunity to take the opposite side, no matter what you have said. At times, it takes its toll; but I’m fortunate that most of the regular readers here are very reasonable and can offer differing opinions without spewing some of the venom you see on other sites.

Bill Zahren started his IndyCar blog site back in 2005. I’m not even sure that I knew what a blog was that far back. I have always referred to him as the “Dean of the IndyCar Bloggers” not only for his longevity, but because he is the gold standard. No matter which sites people chose to go to on a regular basis, it seemed they all went to Pressdog.com before going to “all the rest”.

On his Monday post where he announced his hiatus, he cited that his feeling of an obligation to do his post-race notes told him it was time to hang it up. I can relate. I always do my best to maintain the Monday-Wednesday-Friday schedule with few interruptions. Just once, due to illness when I couldn’t pull my head off of the pillow, have I not posted something without a scheduled break. Many times, there will be something I want to get off my chest so bad that I can’t wait to sit down at my computer and pound it out on my keyboard.

Other times, I am at a loss for anything to write about. You hate to throw something up there just to maintain the schedule, but you also know if you stay gone very long – your readership will drop off. At some point, I’ll reach the point that Bill has. I’m not there yet. I still enjoy this and the fun I have with it far outweighs the negatives for me. I purposely take a few breaks each year just to recharge my batteries and try to avoid burnout. But when it becomes pure drudgery – that’s when I’ll hang it up.

As much as we’ll miss his work, I applaud Bill for getting out before the weight of obligation got too heavy. But make no mistake – the IndyCar blogosphere has suffered a heavy blow. Pressdog.com was such a consistent presence, we never thought it would ever go away.

There aren’t many bloggers left that were around when I started. Meesh Beer is still around with So…Here’s What I’m Thinking. Hers, by far, offers the most humorous glance at the series – while attacking some fairly serious topics. James Black still has a good fact-filled site with 16th and Georgetown. Paul Dalbey and Steph Wallcraft were both with the now-defunct Planet-IRL when I started, but they have both moved on with the most professional looking site out there – More Front Wing. If I’ve overlooked anyone else – my apologies. All of these bloggers were around when I jumped into the fray, and they are still the main ones that I look up to.

But the departure of Bill Zahren and Pressdog.com is going to leave a gaping hole in the IndyCar blogosphere. I’m not quite sure how much of a break he’ll actually take, but we’ll miss him and we wish him well. But if he ever decides to change his mind and return from his self-imposed hiatus – we’ll eagerly welcome him back. Good luck, Bill.

George Phillips

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9 Responses to “A Friend To IndyCar Takes A Break”

  1. I’ll miss the Pressdog. One of the best.

  2. Losing P-dog is like losing Hobbson. They both were great at reminding us that being a fan is supposed to be fun. Something that is a rarity in the world of uber-serious Indycar blog comment boxes.

  3. PDog has been losing his IndyCar focus for some time much to my regret. I was definitely not surprised by his announcement. I still hope to enjoy his Fireside chats and the WOPD. Take care of business PDog and maybe someday you will get the IndyCar groove back.

  4. The Lapper Says:

    Pressdog was the fellow I went to if I wanted straight information in those days when we had “two open wheel series.”

  5. I started reading “Oilpressure” when “My Name is IRL” went away. I realized yesterday my blog rotation is now down to just this blog. I will check out the others mentioned above. I may sound like the old man complaining to Cavin that the engine sounds will never be the same, but IndyCar blogs will never be the same.

    My college football blogs all get bought out and writers hired away. My IndyCar blogs just disappear. Curse the split!

  6. Wow. George. Appreciate the (overly) kind words. One of the best parts of blogging for me, aside from the creative outlet and the fun of doing whatever the eff I wanted, was the discussions with fair-minded people like yourself and the vast majority of your (and my) regular commenters. It’s possible to have differing opinions (sometimes dramatically so) and still have mutual respect and even friendship. Sadly, that’s increasingly rare, but very possible which you all prove daily. I’ve even changed my position on many things over the years based on well reasoned arguments presented by readers. I’m not retiring, just refocusing, cutting back a little and looking for fresh things to explore and enjoy. The notes are done, but I don’t think I am. Again, thanks for the kind words. The introvert in me is yelling “Move along! Nothing to see here.”

  7. Thanks for the shout-out, George. It’s appreciated. I just wanted to add that Bill, as well as Tony Johns from Pop Off Valve, gave me impetus to keep writing. Both of them retweeted me and drove viewers to my site. I am very grateful for their support.

    I enjoyed meeting you at the 500 this year. The blogger cadre is certainly an interesting lot.

  8. billytheskink Says:

    Much like Oilpressure and several of the other blogs are, Pressdog’s race notes were part of my pre-Monday morning work meeting routine. It’s sad to lose something that had become a sort of institution to me, but the race notes had a great run and I’m thankful to have been able to read 4+ years worth of them.

    I do hope to see pressdog.com continue, both for the ‘Dog’s usually worthwhile opinions and the discussion that follows them (yes, even the madness of vern).

  9. Thanks so much for mentioning us, George. But if you look up to us and we look up to you, where does that leave us? ;)

    We’re also sad to learn that PDog will be taking a step back but heartened to hear he’s not gone forever!

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