Saying Goodbye To Old Friends
The number of IndyCar blog sites has been dwindling for the last few years. When I first started in the spring of 2009, there were more than you could count. One by one, they’ve either fallen by the wayside or they’ve really cut back.
Some that come to mind that I really liked and exist no more were: My Name is IRL, Is It May Yet?, The Speedgeek, The Chrome Horn, IndyCar Advocate and of course The Silent Pagoda. Others that have either changed direction or cut back include our good friend Pressdog, Monica Hilton at The Race gIRL, 15 Days in May, Meesh at So…Here’s What I’m Thinking…, JPIndyCar, …And He’s On It, 16th and Georgetown, Grounded Effects, IndySoup, etc. Anyway, you get my point.
The point is many good ones have gone. Some new ones have come onto the scene, but many of them disappear about as soon as you hear about them. I still read some of the current ones. One of my current favorites is Mark Wilkerson at New Track Record. I like Mark, because his site most resembles mine – it’s mostly one person’s voice.
When I first started, there was a site that intrigued me; even though I hated the name – Planet IRL. What intrigued me was the writing of a few of the bloggers on their staff. The ones that I liked were the genesis of a new site that came around in 2010 – More Front Wing.
More Front Wing (MFW) raised the bar for everyone. They put this and other blog sites to shame. Actually, they didn’t because they were so much more than a blog site. Comparing MFW to other blogs was comparing apples to oranges. Not only did they have all the bells and whistles of a major website, they did actual news reporting as well as offer their well-rounded opinions.
Unfortunately, this past Wednesday – MFW announced they were ceasing their operations immediately and they posted their respective farewells.
This was not a blog site, in my opinion. To me, they were a major news outlet that happened to be run by passionate fans. Most of us, myself included, sit at our keyboards and opine about news that has been out there for days. MFW actually went out and uncovered news.
I know less than a handful of drivers that might actually recognize me and call me by name when they see me. I also happen to know a few more people in various positions with different teams or sponsors that might feed me a nugget of information. When they do, they do it to give me a heads-up but they don’t want me spilling the beans before it’s announced. Over the years, I’ve never violated their trust and that’s why they talk to me.
But rarely do I do interviews, and since I’m trusted with the few people I know – my site is not a news source. MFW was a news source – and more. Unlike me, they were all on first name basis with all of the drivers and teams, as well they should have been. The Event Summaries that they posted each event weekend, set the standard in motorsports journalism. IndyCar.com should do all they can to put something like that on their website. What made MFW “more” was that they were fans. They didn’t try to guess what fans wanted – they knew what fans wanted because they were fans also. No offense to some of the sites that have gone away in recent years, but this may be the biggest blow yet to the IndyCar blogging community.
I feel fortunate that, at various times, I got to meet all four that were involved at MFW – Bash Beard and John Lingle were both contributors and did a very good job. I’ve interacted with both of them via the internet mostly over the years, but had the pleasure of meeting them once each at IMS.
But the two that I have grown to know well and respect – Steph Wallcraft and Paul Dalbey – will be sorely missed from the IndyCar blogging community; but selfishly – I will miss them, on a personal basis.
I met both of them in May of 2010. I had been blogging for a little more than a year. We had swapped e-mails and Twitter messages for a year, before finally meeting them both. My first impressions were correct – Steph was cordial, and Paul was a wisecrack – but in a very fun-loving way. Over the years at different tracks, Susan and I always looked forward to seeing our two friends that could not have been more different in so many ways – but there was an undeniable chemistry in their friendship.
The demise of MFW was not a result of any rift in their friendship. Life simply got in the way. Steph has gotten a great motorsports journalistic opportunity in her hometown of Toronto. Juggling motherhood and marriage and a career is tough enough. Throw in the demands of maintaining a site like they had and it’s a wonder she stayed with it as long as she did. Paul wrestled with the idea of going it alone, but not for long. A site of that magnitude and that polished requires many collaborative minds working a lot of hours.
I will miss our friends in the blogosphere. Our friendship evolved beyond blogging. Paul was actually kind enough to serve as our photographer when Susan and I got married at IMS in May of 2012. Nowadays, when we are together in the month of May – we’ll actually go out to dinner and discuss things other than racing. For a little while anyway, but it always comes back to why we are together in Indianapolis.
I’m hoping this doesn’t signal the end of our May get-together with Paul, Steph, John or Bash; and I don’t think it will. Three of them have other projects going on that will probably bring them back to IMS in May. As for Paul, I cannot imagine that he doesn’t already have something in the works that will put him square in the center of things by next May.
So, even though we are bidding farewell to the site More Front Wing, I have a strong feeling we’ll be hearing from all four of them next racing season. Let’s hope so.
On a personal note: Unfortunately, I am not finished with my goodbyes. I am sad to report that last night (Thursday, Oct 16), Susan and I made the painful decision to end the suffering of our 13 year-old lab Luckey.
You may recall that two and a half weeks ago, Luckey suddenly lost the use of her hind legs. The vet found that she had a tumor on her spleen that had produced a blood clot in her spine, causing her to lose the use of her legs. He said she would probably never walk again and he suggested she be put down immediately. In shock, I brought her home to say our goodbyes. But Luckey rallied and regained complete control of her legs. She was our happy and playful dog again, for about a week and a half.
But last Sunday, the effects of the tumor became apparent and Luckey took a dramatic turn for the worse. After a few days, it became obvious that there was not to be another rally in our old friend. We decided to spare her any more pain and suffering.
Dog lovers understand what we are feeling right now; but I’m happy we gave her a great home after she was abandoned by her original owner. She was spoiled rotten and that was by design. I just hope we brought her as much joy as she brought us all these years. Thanks to everyone who has asked about her for the past couple of weeks. Thanks also to those that have indulged me talking about my dog. She was a good friend. Here is a picture of Luckey made in our back yard in 2007 at age six – in the prime of her life. – GP