The Power Of The Pressdog


Tomorrow marks the official closeout of the Month of May with the running at The Milwaukee Mile. It also marks one month since I started writing this blog. It has had its ups and downs…literally. The graph marking the traffic flow is full of jagged peaks and valleys. However, the biggest peak so far, took place on Thursday May 21. That was the day that I awoke to an e-mail from Bill Zahren, who is better known in the “blogosphere” as Pressdog, of “”.

In the e-mail, Bill complimented one of the articles I had written. As an “Oh, by the way” he mentioned that he had put a shout-out on his website about my blog. I replied, thanking him before I checked it out. I expected a mention buried deep within an article or something similar. Then, I checked the stats for the blog as I always do, first thing in the morning. I noticed a HUGE increase for 6:30 am. I then went to to find an article about this blog, front and center on his site.

I was so taken aback that I felt compelled to send him another “thank you”; because I suddenly realized the first one wasn’t adequate. Every time I checked the stats throughout the day, I was stunned. By the end of that Thursday, the number of hits I received was at an all-time high, and more than quadrupled what I had received the previous day. Since that day, my average hits are more than double what they had averaged up to that point.

This entire blogging thing has amazed me. In mid-April I had some friends and family suggest at different times, that I should do this. I knew nothing about blogging…and still don’t. I had looked at a couple of blogs, but didn’t think I could do what they did. Reluctantly, I got my friend Bruce in Memphis, to design a site. We tweaked it for a couple of days and launched it May 1. It was definitely a work in progress.

What has amazed me throughout this month has been all of the unsolicited help that I’ve received from the other bloggers. I never knew there was a blogging community out there. Once I found out there was, I was surprised how they would welcome somebody so new and green. The first few days, I felt like I was just typing away so a few friends and family members could read my ramblings. Then I started getting comments and e-mails from people I didn’t know. I was shocked.

After about a week, Jeff Iannucci of “My Name is IRL”, e-mailed me with a couple of helpful hints and he put my link on his website. Things really started to take off then. This past month, I’ve also received some much appreciated help from the bloggers at “16th and”, “Planet-IRL”, “So, here’s what I’m thinking” and “The Silent Pagoda”. And then, when Pressdog gave his shout-out last Thursday before Indy – it shot things through the roof.

So far, this has been a blast — although I’m still amazed that people actually seek out these columns. I realize, however, that May is probably the easiest time to write an IndyCar blog. As the season winds down in the fall and we head into a long off-season, I wonder if it will be as much fun. But I will probably continue to be surprised at this whole new world of the blogosphere. But I now know, to never again underestimate the power of the Pressdog.

George Phillips

Trivia Questions – Answered

Apparently, last week’s trivia questions were harder than I realized. I wasn’t just overwhelmed with responses; nor did I expect to be – it was a lot of trouble to create an e-mail with short answers. Anyway, thanks to those who did take part. The first and second place winners are “Jim in Wilmington” and “Kohl”, respectively.

Thanks again, to those of you who did participate. Here are the answers:

1. Tony Bettenhausen, Sr.’s real name was Melvin. Tony was just a nickname. How did he get the nickname “Tony”?

As a child, he was always fighting. He earned the nickname “Tunney” after Gene Tunney, the boxer. It later evolved into “Tony”

2. What was Tony Bettenhausen’s nickname while he was racing?

Tinley Park Express

3. Who is the youngest pole sitter in the history of the Indianapolis 500?

Rex Mays age 22 in 1935

4. Driver Pat O’Connor lost his life in an opening lap pile-up in turn three. What year did this happen?


5. What was the last year that gasoline fuel was used in the Indianapolis 500?

1965. Instead of outlawing gasoline after the 1964 race, USAC added a rule that mandated at least two pit stops, thus negating the advantage of running gasoline over methanol. In 1966, the entire field ran methanol.

6. Al Unser is the oldest driver to win the Indianapolis 500. Prior to his fourth win in 1987, who had been the oldest driver to win?

Bobby Unser in 1981

7. What was the first year that the Borg-Warner trophy was presented to the winning driver? Who was that driver?

1936 – Louis Meyer

8. What car number has won the Indianapolis 500 the most times?


9. Which starting spot has produced the most winners for the Indianapolis 500?

First – Pole Position

10. Which driver is the only driver to finish last in his first 500 and then finish first in his last 500?

Bobby Unser – last in 1963; first in 1981

11. What was the last year that a front-engine car started in the Indianapolis 500? Who was the driver?

1968 – Jim Hurtubise

12. What was the last year that a woman did not start in the Indianapolis 500?


13. Who is Cyrus Patschke?

Was the relief driver for Ray Harroun, winner of the 1911 Indy 500. That same year he also drove relief for Joe Dawson who won the race in 1912

14. Which driver has the most consecutive starts in the Indianapolis 500?

AJ Foyt – 35 consecutive starts from 1958 to 1992

15. The rookie class of 1965 produced three future 500 winners. Name them.

Mario Andretti, Gordon Johncock, Al Unser

16. This year will be John Andretti’s tenth Indianapolis 500 start. What year was his first?


17. With Lloyd Ruby’s death this past spring, there only eight drivers remaining that drove both front-engine and rear engine cars in the Indianapolis 500. Name them.

AJ Foyt, Parnelli Jones, Johnny Rutherford, Bobby Unser, Gordon Johncock, Bob Harkey, Chuck Hulse and Jim McElreath

18. How many times has a Lola chassis won the Indianapolis 500?

Three 1966, 1978 & 1990

19. Who is the only driver to win in a front-engine and rear-engine car?

AJ Foyt

20. Who was the first driver to break the 150 mph race average barrier?

Jim Clark – 1965

21. When was the last time a relief driver was used in the Indianapolis 500?

2004 – Jaques Lazier replaced Robby Gordon who had to leave to race in Charlotte.

22. How many drivers that raced in the Indianapolis 500 in the 1950’s are still living?


23. Of the thirty-three drivers that started in AJ Foyt’s first race in 1958; how many would lose their life while racing?


24. How many turbine powered cars actually raced in the Indianapolis 500?

Four. Parnelli Jones in 1967. Joe Leonard, Graham Hill and Art Pollard in 1968

25. What was the final year that Sid Collins headed the broadcast for the IMS Radio Network?


26. How many Indianapolis 500 victories does Roger Penske currently have as a car owner (as of Sat May 23, 2009)?


27. Including this year’s race, there have been nine different drivers with the last name of Jones to run in the Indianapolis 500. How many are related?

Two. Parnelli Jones is the father of PJ Jones

28. How many different drivers in the Indianapolis 500 have had the last name of Smith?


29. Who was the first father-son combination to try to qualify for the same Indianapolis 500? What year?

Jim McElreath and his son James McElreath both tried to qualify for the 1977 Indianapolis 500. The son failed to qualify and died in a sprint car crash later that year.

30. Who was the last driver to be fatally injured at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway?

Tony Renna – October 2003 while testing for Ganassi.

31. What driver holds the record for most pole positions for the Indianapolis 500?

Rick Mears with six

32. Arie Luyendyk holds the record for the fastest four lap qualifying average. What driver holds the single lap record?

Arie Luyendyk

33. There was a record, ten former winners in the 1992 Indianapolis 500. Name them.

Arie Luendyk, AJ Foyt, Gordon Johncock, Tom Sneva, Al Unser, Mario Andretti, Rick Mears, Emerson Fittipaldi, Danny Sullivan, Bobby Rahal


3 Responses to “The Power Of The Pressdog”

  1. Thanks for the thanks. Although I think you overestimate my influence, I was happy to pimp your blog. Good stuff. Happy blogging.

  2. Never, never underestimate the “Pressdog Bump”. It can cut the other way, as well. In 1981, I scoffed at the ‘Dog’s evaluation of the Bobby Unser / Mario Andretti controversy, and my blog’s traffic has never recovered from the swift recriminations I suffered at his hands.

    I kid. Sort of. Anyway, more great stuff this week, George, and keep it coming. You’re a daily staple in my morning cubicle routine.

  3. For me, the frequency of posts is wonderful, and the historical perspective makes for a refreshing read. I like to read a little history and to remember people and events that I’d forgotten. ‘Keep up the good work!’

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: