So it was with no small amount of enthusiasm and interest that I read his “Uncensored” thoughts over on the IndyCar blog. He says some good things about running on that ragged edge, and getting the speeds at Indy back to the 230-240 mph range.
Then he goes on to say this:
"I fully understand that racing is expensive and sponsors want a certain image but I think for the overall popularity of the sport everyone needs to loosen up. I would love to go back to the ‘70s or ‘80s and drive past the Snake Pit after a long day at the track. I would love to not be afraid to tell someone to stop “crying like a baby,” even though I’ve done that anyway. I read Graham Rahal’s tweets. He is a great kid and super talented but he is about as exciting as British politics. He is in his 20s, he drives the fastest cars in the world and he’s speaking about holding hands and getting double frappaccino with whipped cream. I’m not saying rob a liquor store or anything crazy like that but let loose, live a little".
Now, I think a lot of people took Tomas’ comments the wrong way, and Graham is probably a bad example, because he’s got this nice guy-next-door/legacy image that I think works for him. Plus, by all accounts, he’s just a super-nice, normal guy who happens to have a famous last name and drives incredibly fast cars for a living. But does it hurt to have a few drivers who raise some hell? It’s why we keep coming back for some more Paul Tracy, or push for more aggressive, occasionally infuriating drivers like Scheckter.
I think you need a mix in the series, and nowhere did I see Tomas claiming everyone had to be a party animal. Unless I’m mistaken, he’s not suggesting that the league issue Bertrand Baguette a bottle of Jim Beam, a hooker, and a gun at the start of May. But it is good to have differing personalities in the series. You’ve got have heroes and villains. To compare, personally, I think NASCAR has lost something by having so many of their drivers be cookie-cutter corporate shills, and I know a lot of NASCAR fans (right or wrong) find the Reign of Jimmie Johnson so boring in part because of his generally even, polished, automatic nature and machine-like consistency. It’s great to be a nice guy; it’s less great when everyone is bland.
|Go get 'em, Tomas!|
Photo again courtesy of Curtis and his awesome 2009 Indianapolis 500 Shutterfly site!