The mercury – OK, it was really the Weather App on my phone – dipped down to 5º F this past Friday morning in Nashville. That is not the normal temperature that will get you thinking about the upcoming racing season. But what has become the annual rite of winter, the Rolex 24 at Daytona, was a very welcomed sight this past weekend. The mention of Florida in January conjures up images of bronze babes on the beach. Well, it wasn’t quite that. It was more sights of team-members bundled up in blankets trying to stay warm and catch some sleep as cars roared past all through the crisp night. Still, for eyes that have been yearning for some motorsports competition – the twenty-four hour endurance race from Daytona gave us a teasing glimpse of racing as most of the US only dreams of thawing out sometime soon.
Much has happened in the world of IndyCar and in our own lives since I posted anything here. Last week was a milestone for me as it marked the one year anniversary since I lost my job. I have to say I was busier looking for a job than actually having a job. Last October, I took a job at a major grocery store chain in the Southeast as a cake decorator.
Although it has not been officially announced by ESPN, we all now know that Allen Bestwick will be in the booth when the IndyCar Series kicks off at St. Petersburg in late March on ABC. Most agreed with me on Friday that Bestwick was a good choice for ESPN. Few seemed to worry that he was considered too much of a NASCAR guy.
It’s interesting to hear the various opinions as to what IndyCar should do to dramatically improve ratings, visibility, appeal, etc. to fans and more importantly – potential new fans. Did you listen to Townsend Bell on Trackside last week? He made a strong case for what we’ve heard from him many times. He wants to see a huge performance increase year after year from the engine manufacturers, designers, etc. He recalled as a kid visiting the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, how he was blown away by the speed and how the cars were constantly on the edge as new track records fell on an annual basis.
Right after New Year’s, word got out that ESPN had made the choice for their replacement of Marty Reid. It was to be Allen Bestwick. I say word got out, because ESPN has yet to deny or confirm the hiring. But Curt Cavin and Kevin Lee both seemed pretty confident the other night on Trackside that he got the job, so I’m going on the assumption that he does. I wouldn’t exactly call it a hiring, since Bestwick has already been working at ESPN since 2007. I suppose you’d call it a new assignment for Bestwick.
This past Monday night was very interesting. I had not been home long when I received an e-mail from someone who took issue with the post I had on Monday regarding what I perceived as a lack of activity from Hulman & Co. CEO Mark Miles. Since the person chose to e-mail instead of commenting on the site, they obviously chose to remain private, so I will honor that privacy.
Most IndyCar fans have already taken note that there was one item missing from under our tree this season. In early November, while describing his ideas for revamping qualifying procedures for this year’s Indianapolis 500 – Hulman & Co. CEO Mark Miles dropped a little nugget to tease us with by saying that the series might be receiving a “Christmas Present” in the form of a new title sponsor. With the recent departure of IZOD, most of us had expected the series to run in 2014 (or longer) with no title sponsor. When Miles dropped that in our laps, we all (myself included) began wild speculation as to who it might be.