Archive for the IndyCar Category

Something For My IndyCar Friends To Ponder

Posted in IndyCar on October 24, 2016 by Oilpressure

Two weeks from tomorrow, those of us that live in the US will be going to the polls to elect our new President. It can’t come soon enough.

Normally, I actually enjoy presidential politics and have very staunch political views. I simply choose not to share them here on this site or on social media. What’s the point?

First of all, would anyone care? This is a site where I write about the Verizon IndyCar Series. For whatever reason, some people seem to care about what I have to say about IndyCar – or else they like to come here to argue with me or those that comment here. They don’t come here to discuss politics. There is no shortage of websites where you can get a much more informed political opinion than mine.

Second; I feel that my political views are no one else’s business. There is the time-tested adage that one should never discuss sex, religion or politics. None of these things are anyone else’s business.

Quite honestly, hearing someone talk about their sex life is, at best, awkward and usually borderline creepy. It’s even worse when they feel the need to grope their significant-other in front of you. Whatever they do behind closed doors is their own business. But when they decide to flaunt their creepiness, that’s when I start looking for the exits. That’s one reason why I choose not to write about my sex life here. The other reason is that Susan would hunt me down and kill me if I did.

Religion is the same way. I have strong-held religious beliefs. You may not know it by my lack of regular attendance every Sunday morning, but I have firm religious convictions. But that doesn’t mean that I approve of those that have to flaunt their religious beliefs in my face. I can’t help but roll my eyes whenever an athlete has to start off every interview by thanking God for allowing his or her team to win. Does that mean God wanted the other team to lose?

I squirm with uneasiness when someone works religion into an everyday conversation. At work a couple of weeks ago, a few of us were having coffee in the break room. I told of some bizarre dream I had the night before, where I had been thrown out of an upside-down roller-coaster but somehow survived. Out of nowhere, one co-worker said “You know, God speaks to us through our dreams”. Suddenly, a lively break room conversation turned silent. None of us knew how to respond to that. Things suddenly turned awkward and we went back to work.

While sex and religion will make a conversation turn awkward, politics has the opposite effect. It inflames and antagonizes people.

That leads me to the third reason I don’t discuss politics here. I have a website that I want people to visit and enjoy. Why would I want to alienate at least half of my readers simply because I support a candidate that they do not? People come here to escape their everyday grind and engage in or read a discussion that (usually) pertains to IndyCar.

I get irritated when I tune into Sunday Night Football to enjoy a game, only to have to endure Bob Costas bloviating about social issues. If I want that, I’ll watch Meet the Press, not Sunday Night Football. If Kevin Lee started spouting off about his views on Syrian refugees on Trackside, I seriously doubt that I would continue listening.

While I usually enjoy presidential politics, this election year has not been enjoyable. In fact, this election year has been going on for a year and a half, and it hasn’t been pretty. But it has been exceptionally ugly on social media, the place where I get to interact with so many IndyCar folks for eleven months out of the year.

I would guess that at least a third of my Facebook “friends” are people I have met through racing and only get to see during the month of May. Some I know so casually, that they have to tell me who they are when they see me in May. Others, I’ve gotten to know very well. They are either fellow bloggers or other media types, work in racing in some capacity or are simply fans that I’ve built relationships with.

But those relationships are getting tested as this election races towards its conclusion. Regardless of who I am voting for, supporters of both parties are guilty of what I’ve found the most disheartening about this process.

As I’ve proven here over the years, I don’t get my feelings hurt when readers disagree with me. I am pretty thick-skinned. Many times, I’ll meet people that tell me they certainly don’t agree with everything I say, but they appreciate the fact that I present facts in a reasonable manner and I don’t resort to name calling.

I don’t expect anyone to agree with everything I say. That would be a little odd. I have my ingrained opinions on several IndyCar issues such as canopies on open-cockpit race cars that I have made very clear. There are regular readers here who vehemently disagree with me on this subject – some whom I consider friends. But we both present our cases and we ultimately agree to disagree and move on. However, if the discussions devolved into them labeling me as retarded, mindless or unable to think for myself – I don’t think our friendship would continue on the same level, if at all.

For the past several months, I have seen political rants from people I once called friends. It doesn’t bother me in the least that they see things differently than I do. If these folks had kept with the issues and facts, I would still consider them friends today and after the election. But they have chosen to use a broad brush to paint everyone who is supporting the candidate I will be voting for as stupid, uneducated, half-witted, redneck and toothless. And those are some of the nicer comments. They will share articles and make comments regarding the followers of said candidate as if we were unfit to be called Americans or even walk the planet. A couple of weeks ago, I saw someone say that anyone stupid enough to support my candidate did not even deserve a voice and should not be allowed to be heard. Now, that’s civility.

They post their daily political rants as if they honestly think that anyone is going to change their mind from a friend’s Facebook post. They will share some crazy article from an obscure website that claims to have substantiated proof that my candidate actually came from another planet or something as equally credible. And yes, I fully acknowledge that there are just as many from my side doing the exact same thing.

But it’s the relentless hate that I’ll remember from this election – not from the candidates – but from my so-called friends that have been spewing venom for months and lumping me with every cretin on earth, simply because I commit the mortal sin of disagreeing with their side.

I enjoy a spirited political debate with friends on issues. My One Take Only cohort and good friend John McLallen and I are about as far apart as we could be politically. We can argue political issues all day, but can open up a couple of beers afterward and forget we ever disagreed. But if he were to ever call me uneducated and toothless for voting for my candidate – we would have big problems. Usually, name calling is a result of not having anything substantial to say to support your argument. It never ends well.

I expected the type of behavior we’ve seen from both candidates in this campaign. Unfortunately, I don’t think it will get any better in the future. With Facebook, Twitter and You Tube, there is an endless supply of soundbites available. Future campaigns will abandon their former domains of newspapers and the nightly news. The new campaign battles will be waged on social media. In a few years, presidential campaigns will not bear any resemblance to what we grew up with. Views on issues will not be near as important as who can deliver the best zinger on Twitter. This year’s campaign is just a sneak preview of what is to come.

But what I didn’t expect from this campaign was the endless barrage of personal insults from friends I used to respect. Their barbs are intended to blanket any supporter of any candidate other than their own. Many of them don’t even know I’ve been insulted because I’ve stayed silent and not engaged on social media. I posted something similar to this a couple of weeks ago on Facebook. Ironically, one of those I was talking about commented how much they agreed with me and how hate-filled things had gotten. An hour later, that same person posted another hate-filled rant. Interesting.

I would like to think that I’m a big enough person to forgive and forget what has been said about me, simply because I support a candidate that they don’t like. It’s nice to think that, but I’m not sure I am. It’s not one of my best qualities, but I tend to hold grudges. Once someone has crossed a line with me, it’s hard for them to go back. So, whichever way you are voting – it may be a good idea to keep your thoughts and opinions to yourself on social media. Discussing issues is one thing, taking it to a personal level is another. You never know who you are going to offend. And if you do feel the need to speak for your candidate, keep it to the issues and leave the mudslinging to the candidates themselves.

This isn’t about me. Most people I know on social media couldn’t care less if I’m offended, and that’s fine. I’m someone they see a couple of times a year. When it gets down to it, I’m not very high on the list of people they want to impress. But how many of their true friends that vote differently from them are offended and stay silent, like me? Those are the ones that they may need to mend fences with after the election. For their sake, let’s hope the bridge isn’t too badly scorched.

So to my friends who seem to enjoy their freedom of speech, remember that that right only protects you from being killed or thrown in jail for speaking your mind. It doesn’t guarantee that you will still be liked by others. Time heals everything. It’s a good thing that there will be six months between election night and the beginning of the month of May, when I will see most of these folks for the first time. I’m hoping I can cool off by then and forgive the slurs my “friends” have used to offend me while lumping me together with those they say they despise, whether they know it or not. I’m hoping I can be the better man.

George Phillips

The Balance Of Power

Posted in IndyCar on October 21, 2016 by Oilpressure

Among the two engine manufacturers in the Verizon IndyCar Series, there has been pretty much a balance of power – at least when it comes to the number of cars they power. Honda and Chevrolet powered eleven cars each in the 2016 season.

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IndyCar Musical Chairs Is In Full Swing

Posted in IndyCar on October 19, 2016 by Oilpressure

Musical chairs seems to have become the main topic of the young IndyCar offseason. There are a few remaining seats left for the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series grid, but they seem to be going quickly even though we still have almost two weeks to go in October. Some seats have not been officially declared open, but rampant speculation gives the perception that they are. As we all know, perception is reality.

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TV Ratings Are Headed In The Right Direction

Posted in IndyCar on October 17, 2016 by Oilpressure

There are topics that I know just enough about to be dangerous. TV ratings are one of them. I’ll probably regret stepping off into this realm, for fear of getting my head bitten off by those that do this for a living. But I’m going to give it a try.

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More Pieces Of The Puzzle In Place

Posted in IndyCar on October 14, 2016 by Oilpressure

We are just now to mid-October and the puzzle pieces are already falling into place to give us a fairly clear picture of what the grid will look like in 2017 for the Verizon IndyCar Series. Earlier this week, Sébastien Bourdais followed through with what had been predicted for weeks and signed with Dale Coyne Racing. As I said a couple of weeks ago, the move seems like a head-scratcher on the surface. However, it seems the uncertainty swirling at KVSH Racing was enough to force Bourdais to take a sure thing at a slightly lesser team than hang his hopes on a team that may or may not answer the bell next season.

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A Bad Day To Take Off

Posted in IndyCar on October 12, 2016 by Oilpressure

As I mentioned last week, I attended a family reunion for relatives on my mother’s side of the family. At ninety-two and counting, she was the oldest living member and is the matriarch of the family. My mother led a very captivating talk on some of the history of our ancestors for the fifty-seven of us in attendance. To me, her talk on Saturday was the highlight of the weekend.

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The Next Domino To Fall

Posted in IndyCar on October 7, 2016 by Oilpressure

On Wednesday morning, we got confirmation of what so many of us had been speculating about for weeks – Josef Newgarden would be joining Team Penske for 2017, driving the No.2 car that had been driven by Juan Montoya for the past three seasons. Word has it that Montoya has been offered a one-off opportunity for Indianapolis with Team Penske, but he is looking elsewhere for full-time opportunities.

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