Welcome To Another Month Of May
Today is May 1st. It’s special for many reasons. First of all, I would be remiss if I failed to acknowledge that it was twenty years ago today that we lost Ayrton Senna at Imola. I remember that day as if it were yesterday. I followed Formula One much more closely in those days than I do now. I had set the alarm to go off so I could watch the race that Sunday morning. For whatever reason, it failed to go off and I overslept. I rolled over in bed, grabbed the remote and turned on the race. The crash had already happened.
Most of what we viewers on ESPN got were aerial shots of the accident scene. It’s never a good sign when replays are not shown. As it turned out – there weren’t many camera angles available, but we didn’t know that at the time. Bob Varsha and Derek Daly had the call, and you could tell in their voices that they feared (or already knew) the worst.
Senna and Nigel Mansell were my two favorite F1 drivers from that time. I liked Mansell because he was a likeable prima-donna, but he was in his second year of racing in CART at that point. Senna didn’t have Mansell’s wit, but he could drive circles around Mansell – especially in the rain.
Fans of Sir Jackie Stewart, Jim Clark, Juan Manuel Fangio or Michael Schumacher may argue with me, but I’ve always considered Ayrton Senna to be the greatest Formula One driver to ever live. It’s hard to compare disciplines, especially since Senna never drove in the US; but one could make the argument that he was better than Mario Andretti or AJ Foyt. He was that good.
On a happier note, today marks the official beginning of the Month of May. For the first several years after I started going to the Indianapolis 500 in 1965 – this day marked the official opening of the track for practice. The energy crisis of the early seventies made IMS officials lop off the first week of practice in 1974, and they never got it back. Still, there is something magical about turning the calendar page over to May. We know that our time has finally come.
Finally, this is a special day for this site. It was five years ago today that I stepped into the blogosphere and very reluctantly started Oilpressure.com. I say reluctantly rather emphatically, because I had no interest in doing it. But my college roommate and my oldest brother both encouraged me (rather relentlessly) separately. I didn’t even know what a blog was, but my former roommate set it up and just told me to start typing. So you have him to thank for the white-on-black type. I wrote a couple of posts and was amazed that people started reading. The thing suddenly seemed to take off.
Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think it would lead to what it has. In the past five years, I’ve gotten to do things I never thought possible. So as not to sound like I’m gloating, I won’t list them here. But if I had to name what is the most significant thing I’ve experienced through this site, aside from getting married at IMS in 2012 – it’s the people I’ve met. I’m not talking about the racing personalities I’ve met over the past five years. Instead, I’m talking about the close friendships and relationships that have been formed strictly because of this site.
There are so many of you that I’ve come to know. If I list them here, I’ll forget someone. Many readers have stopped me at race tracks to say "Hi". Some have ultimately become good friends and there are a certain few that will probably remain lifelong friends. I have received wedding gifts and birthday gifts from readers I’ve never met before. That still amazes and humbles me. I’ve also met several of my fellow bloggers that I maintain close contact with – sometimes over things other than racing.
I’ve seen a lot of bloggers come and go. Pressdog is still with us, but now focuses more on NASCAR than IndyCar. Some of the more notable casualties we’ve seen in the blogosphere – I’ve come to know quite well. Roy Hobbson, Monica Hilton, The Speedgeek and JP IndyCar come to mind. Most recently, we’ve lost Zachary Houghton at IndyCar Advocate – creating a huge void in the blogosphere. I swapped many an e-mail with Jeff Iannucci at My Name is IRL, but sadly – we never met. The same goes for Tony Johns with Pop-Off Valve.
There are still some excellent bloggers out there – much better than me. Some, I feel like I know quite well, others I’ve met only once in the last year and there are others I’ve yet to meet. Being around longer than most bloggers doesn’t make me any better than other IndyCar bloggers. It just makes me old and possibly foolish for not knowing when to stop.
I will stop one of these days, but I’m not sure when. Originally, I told myself I would stop after the 2011 Centennial race. Then I thought I’d hang around to see the DW12 run. My next milestone to stick around for is the One Hundredth Running of the Indianapolis 500 in 2016, but that’s two years from now. Who knows what will happen between now and then?
But for now, I feel very blessed and honored that you have stuck with me and loyally read these posts (or blogs or columns, or whatever you want to call them) every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. That’s how I’ll celebrate this five-year milestone – by being grateful.
Speaking of posting three times a week…for the past five Mays, I’ve been pretty diligent about posting daily during the Month of May. I said it may not happen last year, but I did it anyway. This year, I can almost assure you that I will not have something up here on a daily basis in May. As luck would have it, I have two major events at my day job this month that will require an extra amount of time and energy on my part over two consecutive weeks. So my extra posts will be sporadic, but I’ll at least maintain the normal three times a week schedule. Just check back often. You never know what might show up here.
That being said, I am going to take next Monday May 5 off from here. After traveling to Barber last weekend and many, many posts in the past week, this coming weekend will be my only weekend home before three straight weekends at Indianapolis. I need a short break. But I’ll be here tomorrow and I’ll be back Wednesday May 7 before heading to the Grand Prix of Indianapolis.
Thanks again for your loyalty and putting up with some of my rants and ramblings over the years. I look forward to more of the same.