This morning at 11:15 Eastern Standard Time, our offseason of 173 days will finally be over. September 18th of last year was the last time an IndyCar turned a wheel in competition – 173 days ago. That’s less than ten days shy of half a year. Granted, there are no points up for grabs in today’s two practice sessions – but preparations will begin in earnest today for Sunday’s Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. It’s been a long time coming.
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One might think that I’ve changed my opinion of IndyCar CEO Mark Miles, simply because I’ve said complimentary things about IndyCar President of Competition Jay Frye and the recent decisions of IndyCar’s upper management. On Monday, Robin Miller wrote an article on Racer.com that reinforced my original perception of Mr. Miles – one who is buried so deep within his bunker, that he has no idea what fans want. I also perceive him to be very stubborn. That is, when he’s convinced he’s right – rather than listening to fans and trying to understand why fans might be offering a different viewpoint, he digs in deeper to further uphold his stance on a topic.
Some might consider what I’m about to say as heresy with us on the verge of a brand new IndyCar season. Perhaps the timing isn’t great for those that love nothing but giggles and smiles, but I think in order to appreciate the current state of racing we are enjoying in today’s Verizon IndyCar Series, we need to take a step back and see where we’ve come from. This topic happened to pop into my head over the weekend. Rather than file it away and forget some of the things that were running through my head, I thought I would run with it.
Exactly one week from today, practice for the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg will officially begin. On the eve of the beginning of another season for the Verizon IndyCar Series, it’s not too soon to start talking about 2018.
Without trying to stir up a political discussion here, there has been a lot of noise lately about fake news. One of the many things I enjoy about sports in general and IndyCar in particular, is the escape that they provide from the continuous drone of politics, work, paying bills and our everyday lives. While many claim that today’s news outlets are fake and agenda-driven; you’ll rarely, if ever, hear that claim in sports or racing journalism.
For those that hate NASCAR and come here strictly for IndyCar news and views, I apologize for writing the second NASCAR-related post in as many days. But something caught my eye over the weekend that got me to thinking about how it relates to IndyCar and all motorsports. No, it wasn’t yesterday’s crash-filled Daytona 500 won by 2014 Indianapolis 500 starter Kurt Busch. Instead it involved former IndyCar driver Danica Patrick, who finished thirty-third yesterday after getting involved in a crash while spending most of the day in the Top-Ten.
By now I know many of you have seen the article that ran in the Wall Street Journal a few days ago regarding NASCAR and how the bloom may be off the rose. In fact, the title of the article is a lot more harsh than that – saying that NASCAR has “hit the skids”. A few of you e-mailed the article to me. It’s a good article that not only points out what we already knew about NASCAR’s woes in attendance, sponsorship and ratings – but it goes much further. It digs deep into the schism within the France family that founded NASCAR.