barely registering actually…
It is hard to believe that we are 2.5 days away from the season opener of the reunification of American Open Wheel racing.
Despite the best efforts of the many spin doctors, the general consensus on both sides of the now fallen fence is “whoopdee fucking do…”
While I agree in principle that the unification had to happen sooner rather than later, and am in the same camp as those who believe both sides would have come to a demoralizing end mid to late season, this…? Well, this is just a mess.
Open wheel racing has been gutted, and the underbelly is exposed and oozing ugly, petty, sinister stories. I think that is the part that is bothering me the most at this point.
No, I’m not that naive. Over the years the closer and closer to the inside I got, the more aware I became of the dark side of the sport. At times I became disillusioned, but for the most part there was enough “good” to allow me to overlook the bad and just enjoy.
Right now? Not much good going on.
Those of us who are forging forward, be it on teams, at events, in the series, in the media… we’re exhausted. Mentally, physically, emotionally, drained. Instead of properly and thoroughly preparing for the season ahead, we are throwing it together in a “make due” sort of way, hoping it will all sort itself out somehow once the season is underway. We’re swimming upstream, against the tide.
To make matters worse we’re not all pulling in the same direction.
The series, while unified, is still divided. In a “best case” scenario, all of the Champ Car teams would have made the transition. But, for reasons which we may never get full understanding of or truthful answers about, that did not happen. And judging by the lawsuits and in some cases silence, it likely never will.
The fanbase is as fractured as ever, but now instead of two sides there are 3 or 4 or more! The dyed in the wool IRListas, the fanatic Champ Car fans, the fans of the split & discord itself, the casual followers who likely have no idea what is going on, the “wait & see’rs”, & it seems the most hated of all, the ones like myself, that are willing to give it a chance and accept what has happened for better or worse and try to find the silver lining. (really, other than just walking away, what choice do we have at this point?)
Hell, even the the website I write for is split. All three teams (N.American, Dutch & German) have had editors drop out. The ones that remain are in a “work to rule” state of mind. (“I’ll write about it but I won’t enjoy it damnit!”)
This has left the three managing editors (a role I recently had to take over on the N. American side) working triple overtime to pick up the slack. (too bad there is no compensation cause I’d certainly be making some nice coin with the hours I’m putting in!) This wouldn’t be a big issue except for the fact that we were essentially a Champ Car only website which now requires a major overhaul to cover the unified series. We (the 3 sites) released our “mission statements” simultaneously tonight, announcing our intentions to embrace the unified series, and pleading for patience while we get the site up to speed. It will be a work in progress, much like the unified series I guess. Perhaps once we’re into the season, the rest of the team will find their “happy place” again and jump back in with vigor.
For me personally, I’m sort of numb.
The legit site is sucking the writing life out of me right now in preparation for the season, so I haven’t really had too much time to sit and stew creatively and unabashedly here in blogland. My spare time (and not so spare time) has been spent sifting through articles and press releases and driver/team websites to update our site, and keep ahead of the constant barrage of news filing in.
Gotta hand it to the IndyCar folk I must say. The cars may suck and the tracks may suck and the engines may suck but the PR/Marketing dept is way ahead of the curve. That’s one of the things that Champ Car never quite mastered unfortunately.
Control the message, get ahead of the story. So simple a concept, and yet so elusive in it’s execution.
Mainly, when it comes right down to it, I guess… I’m sad.
I’m sad that I’m not beside myself with anticipation for this weekends race.
I’m sad that so many friends have lost their jobs, or their motivation, or their ‘fandom’.
I’m sad that people I have championed and supported have disappointed me so.
I’m sad for the loss of adrenaline pumped racing conversation I so enjoy.
Mostly though, I’m desperately sad for Paul (Tracy).
My heart breaks for him this weekend. To have your livelihood… your passion, held hostage out of pettiness. Disgraceful. It saddens and angers me in ways I can’t even find words for.
If anyone should be in a car this weekend, it is him.
The irony of course is that I get to watch the Season opener live on TSN. To my knowledge I wasn’t going to get to watch any races in Canada prior to the merge… Shallow victory that.
and with that… I close the lid on my laptop for a few hours and think happy thoughts