Helping To Make All Boats Rise

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As we approached the beginning of the Verizon IndyCar Series season last week, some of you may have missed what I consider a major development and a reason to celebrate. For the past couple of years, many have bemoaned the fact that the number of IndyCar bloggers has dwindled to the point that you are left with me and a handful of others to satisfy your thirst for something away from the conventional media outlets.

The IndyCar blogosphere got a major boost last Monday March 7, when one of the founding fathers of IndyCar blogging decided to belly up to the keyboard and give it another go.

If there is such a thing as the Mount Rushmore of IndyCar blogging, it would contain blogs that have all ceased to exist. In my humble opinion the blogs represented by the four heads (in no particular order) would be; More Front Wing, Pressdog.com The Silent Pagoda and My Name is IRL.

I mention More Front Wing because they were almost above being a blog. Theirs was like a major presentation that also had excellent content. The other three were known for their snarkiness, sarcasm and satirical wit coupled with excellent IndyCar commentary. One by one, these hilarious masterpieces fell by the wayside. Pressdog finally hung it up in December of 2014. Two months before, those at More Front Wing decided to call it quits. Roy Hobbson’s Silent Pagoda and his short-lived The Dark Tower were both gone by 2011 and Jeff Iannucci put My Name is IRL on hiatus way back in 2010.

Well blogger fans, I have great news! Jeff Iannucci has come out of retirement. Since the term IRL has gone the way of the 8-Track, he has a new site with a fresh clean look, but the same keen wit as before.

Some might ask why I’m celebrating. Isn’t he my competition? When I first started blogging here back in 2009 that was the way I looked at it. I didn’t know a soul in the then-crowded blogosphere, nor did I know what I was doing. But within the first couple of months, I had been contacted via e-mail from all three members of the aforementioned Mount Rushmore (although Paul Dalbey was then with the now-defunct Planet IRL). They each offered their unsolicited help and gave me shout-outs on their respective blogs.

Over the next few years, I would have new bloggers contact me asking for some help, advice or simply a link on my blogroll or a shout-out on my site. Remembering the help that I got when I started, I was always glad to help out. Unfortunately, most lasted only a few months before they quickly went dormant.

I believe that Jeff was the first to contact me when I started. I wrote him back and explained how stunned I was at the way everyone was so welcoming to a newcomer into their proverbial club. Over time, I expressed the same sentiment to all of them. To be honest, I forget which one said this, so someone is not getting the credit they deserve – but they essentially said that another quality blog makes all boats rise. I was very flattered to say the least.

While reading the humor of Pressdog, Roy Hobbson and Jeff – I knew I didn’t have the outrageousness to match them in my blog. To try to would have been disingenuous and disastrous. I’ve seen a couple of efforts from some that seem to think they are funny, but fall short of the mark. It isn’t pretty watching someone crash and burn when they think they are hilarious. Early on, I decided I’d better play it straight. I figured there would be somebody who would appreciate my more subtle approach

Over the next year, Jeff and I became big e-mail buddies. At first, our conversations were strictly about racing. But over time, we began discussing life in general and developed a close bond. Late in 2010, Jeff gave up his site and turned his attention to other things. We stayed in touch for a while, but as is often the case – somewhere along the line we sort of lost touch with each other.

By then, I had met many of my other fellow bloggers. Those previously mentioned, along with many, many more. Most I liked, but naturally there were a few I didn’t care for. Although we sometimes disagreed, Pressdog and I developed a mutual respect for each other. Roy Hobbson and I had a strong friendship at one point, but once he shut down his sites – that naturally began to wane. Paul Dalbey and I became and remain good friends. He ended up taking the pictures when Susan and I got married at IMS in 2012. He came to Nashville to visit us last summer and we are already making our plans for getting together in May.

Meanwhile, since about 2012 – the bloggers started going away, one by one. I used to enjoy reading the musings of my fellow bloggers, but most of those that I really enjoyed are no longer around. I’ll probably make someone mad here, but the only one left that is still actually writing that I read regularly is Mark Wilkinson at New Track Record. In fact, I’ve always said that Mark’s writing probably reminds me of me more than anyone else out there. I’m not sure if I just complimented Mark or insulted him.

There are still a few of us out there. But if you look at my blogroll to the right, you’ll notice it is a lot smaller than it used to be. You will also notice that many of the sites listed there are and have been dormant for some time. We IndyCar bloggers have been a dying breed for some time now.

A couple of weeks ago, I got an e-mail out of the blue from Jeff announcing he was seriously considering returning to the blogosphere. I was ecstatic. Oddly enough, Jeff and I have never met; but I feel like I’ve been reunited with an old friend. With the return of Jeff Iannucci, the few of us IndyCar bloggers that are left will all benefit greatly by his presence in the blogosphere. He brings back the irreverent humor that most blogs, including mine, lack.

So do yourself a favor and bookmark One Lap Down.com and make it a regular stop when surfing the web for outstanding IndyCar content outside of Racer.com and IndyStar.com. Selfishly, I’m hoping that his return might spark other retired bloggers to dust off their keyboards or inspire some potential new bloggers to give it a try. Remember – another quality blog makes all boats rise. Welcome back, Jeff!

George Phillips

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9 Responses to “Helping To Make All Boats Rise”

  1. I did not even know what blogging really was when I started reading oilpressure. Then I realized there were many blogs related to IndyCar that existed 5 or so years ago that I didn’t get a chance to read then since I was not aware they existed. I’ll add onelapdown to the list. Thanks George.

  2. It is always good to have another perspective and Jeff returning to the scene may signal this series growth as well.

  3. I love me some snarky blogs. Double love if it’s about Indycar. I will definitely be visiting Jeff’s site daily as well as your’s George. Thanks for the heads up!

  4. billytheskink Says:

    Great to hear. Welcome back, Jeff.

    I’ll miss the My Name Is IRL moniker, though. One of the all-time great web names.

  5. Ron Ford Says:

    Top O’ the Mornin’ to Ya O’Phillips!

    One of my goals for this year was to STEP AWAY FROM THE COMPUTER, hoping to do more stuff rather than read more stuff.

    Never-the-less, high praise from you is high praise indeed. So I will take a look-see at this Iannucci fella. Nooch? I am feeling one lap down today anyway.

    Apropo of perhaps nothing more than my age-I am not a fan of the word blog.

  6. Ron Ford Says:

    I have never given a moment’s thought to starting a racing blog or any blog. One good reason for that is because whenever I am in doubt about proper punctuation I just throw in a comma.

    However, I am curious as to exactly what blogger hoops one must go through to get a spot in the Pagoda media room on race day.

  7. Thanks for the shout out and flattering words. you’re very Rushmore-esque yourself. Jeff’s return is a welcome boost to the snark-o-sphere.

  8. Many sincere thanks, although I’m kinda taken aback by this, George. This is like the opposite of a eulogy, which would be…what, a cross between an Irish wake and and a baby shower?

    And to “billythesink”: I knew I had to lose “My Name Is IRL” when I was introduced verbally with that name, and someone promptly replied “Cool, I love that show!”

    At any rate, I’m glad to be able to back. And even though we’ve never met the friendship is mutual. Manly hugs all around.

  9. Mike Silver Says:

    Great news. Thanks for the heads up George. I totally agree with your Mt. Rushmore.

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