Thursday, August 18, 2011

Celebrate What Ya Got

It's been a week, hasn't it?

We had the chaotic finish at New Hampshire, the delay of aero kits until 2013, Tony Kanaan and engineer Mike Cannon parting ways, and ESPN reporting for the 17th time in the past year that Danica Patrick is headed to NASCAR next season (insert sarcastic "really?" here). In short, it's been the sort of week that raises tempers, invites vitriol, and sees a metric ton of hyperbole employed (see what I did there?).

I have to alternately thank and curse by blogging amigo Tony Johns at Pop Off Valve; he pretty much nailed the article I wanted to try and write about some of the fan unrest we're seeing. I will, however, add a few of my own thoughts:

I think sometimes we get so caught up in the moment, we see every controversy or issue as the Worst Thing Ever, forgetting that open wheel racing in America (heck, racing in general) has never been short of controversy, rough finishes, or setbacks (how soon the 1981 Indy 500, the '82 Cogan crash, the first US 500, Eddie Sachs being slugged by Parnelli at the 1963 awards banquet, and so many more rough spots are forgotten!).

Passion's a great thing. If fans didn't care about the New Hampshire finish, that'd be a bad sign in and of itself. But I think it can be taken too far. There's nothing wrong with wearing your heart on your sleeve, but you've got to look at the good with the bad.

We've got a new generation pouring into this series, talent like James Hinchcliffe, Graham Rahal, and JR Hildebrand. We just had a once-in-a-lifetime Indy 500, and we can look forward for some track records to fall with the new engine and car next year. We can still go to races and see legendary names like Foyt, Andretti, Rahal, Rutherford, and Mears. We've got great prospects in the pipeline like Josef Newgarden and Connor De Phillippi.

Honestly, we're just supremely blessed to have what we have. The Indiana State Fair tragedy of this past week really hit hard with me. Suddenly, arguing over aero kits or Danica leaving seemed pretty secondary.

I remember being deployed overseas, homesick, miserable, as far away from Indianapolis as was geographically possible, and thinking of how much I missed growing up with the 500 in the background. I was an Indy native, and it really took having it removed from my life for awhile before I appreciated what I had.

Let IndyCar hear you and your opinions, but realize you only get to see so many races, so many seasons along the way. There's something to be said for having a thankful heart, an appreciation for the good things, and the long view of history. I don't always do that, but I'm going to try harder than ever to ensure I keep it in mind.

IndyCar can be rocky, but that doesn't mean it doesn't also rock. We are blessed in so many ways--let's not lose sight of the roses among the thorns.

OK, to make up for the preachiness, here's a totally awesome video of TK knocking over an outhouse, just in case you missed it the first time:


  1. Thanks for the perspective! Passionate fans are passionate, for sure, but in the grand scheme of things, racing (and sport in general) is still just a diversion from the things that truly matter most.

  2. Great take, Zachary.