-Let's start with get well soon wishes to Charlie Kimball after his Mid-Ohio testing crash yesterday. It sounds as if he'll still be able to make the Mid-Ohio race next weekend, but we'll have to see. If you've chatted with CK at any length, it'd be hard not to have a lot of respect for the way he approaches racing and his sophomore season in IndyCar.
-Speaking of Mid-Ohio, I'm really hoping to make it over there for next Sunday's IndyCar race. Right now, pencil me in as probable...
-When we discuss the schedule for next year, I have to admit I'd be fine having Pocono and Kentucky added back in. Kentucky was one of my favorite races, and was always a joy to attend. I'd prefer a night race there once again, but I'll take what I can get. If you add those two ovals, plus Houston and potentially one more course, I think things would seem pretty healthy for the moment.
I want to touch more on this later, but if we're going to add a Pocono or Kentucky back, the Series needs to do everything it can on its end to ensure the promoter is keeping their end of the bargain. In many ways, we are in a place where I can't see many second chances for failed tracks. Milwaukee received at least one more year--let's hope we can have that same sort of success with our 2013 additions or returns.
-If you aren't a regular reader of Eric Hall's anotherindycarblog, make sure you check out his article from yesterday. He's got the right of it, from where I sit. We have so much to be thankful for this year in IndyCar, it seems silly to spend any time on elaborate "fixes" that have little basis in financial reality. Sometimes, taking a minute to consider the lilies can't hurt.
-On that point, one of the best things for me as a fan is sharing IndyCar with others, be it my wife, kids, buddies from work, or old friends. Is there anything that approaches seeing that glint in the eye when they finally "get it?" I'll leave the "deep thoughts" and manifestos to others. I want to get friends and family to the track, watch racing, and generally enjoy everything we have. Complaining about bad news online (in the light of not offering any valid solutions) doesn't fix anything, and it doesn't help anything one bit. The simple, enjoyable act of taking someone to their first race or a day of qualifications or testing can.
When I look back on my life, I don't want to note how I spent 2008-2028 (inclusive) complaining about TV ratings on Twitter. I'd like to think I'd be remembering hanging out at the track, watching awesome racing, and just talking IndyCar with friends and family.
I'm reminded of a quote from the American poet and critic Randall Jarrell, who wrote "the people who live in a golden age usually go around complaining how yellow everything looks". We've got some great racing going now, to go along with some great challenges. This can be a golden age for fans, if they'd simply allow it to be.
-One more thought on Edmonton from last week's trip: The more I think back to the level of competition apparent in the Star Mazda ranks, the more certain I am that at least 3-4 prospects in this current class will make a serious name for themselves in time. Watching the talent apparent in guys like Jack Hawksworth, Petri Suvanto, Martin Scuncio, Sage Karam, Stefan Rzadzinski, and the incredibly hard-luck Connor De Phillippi, there's such a mix of American and international talent on display.
In any case, if you love open wheel racing, do your best to catch at least one Star Mazda race this year (or their scheduled October test at Indy). These guys are legitimate prospects, and put on a heck of a show. They were one of the highlights of an already-incredible Edmonton weekend.
-Finally, Mark Wilkinson of New Track Record is taking another spin in the Social Media Garage at Indianapolis Motor Speedway this weekend for the Grand-Am and NASCAR races at the Brickyard. He'll be documenting all the animal sacrifices and other marked depravity we all know goes into a NASCAR weekend. That, or he'll be checking out an awesome Grand-Am event and making his usual sharp commentary as a fish out of water. If I were you, I'd check it out just to be sure.