2 more sleeps and the anticipation is…

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


12 responses to “2 more sleeps and the anticipation is…

  1. Worse news… N/H/L is down to one car because Graham wrecked his only Dallara in testing…

  2. yup… just wrote up the story for ccw.net

    It does strike me as awfully odd that one of the better funded teams is crying ‘no parts/no time’, when crews like HVM and Coyne are somehow getting it done… just sayin is all.

  3. HVM and Coyne aren’t wrecking their cars… 😉 But I don’t think I’d want Graham running his first oval at Homestead when a flatter oval at Kansas would be less of a hazard…

  4. Kinda weird with the “wait and see” nature of the season opener. I guess I’m more curious than exited. This time last year, I could hardly contain myself in anticipation of the LV race. It beats following NASCAR I suppose. A positive spin is that there won’t be month-and-a-half breaks between races.

  5. Hey Meesh… nice and warm here in Homestead.
    Got to the track late today but there is a lot of, how shall we out this… anticpaaaaaaaaaaaaa…. yawning (with apologies to Frank N Furter). Just back from dinner with the crew and all are waiting to see what sort of crowd shows up for the first race of reunifications (will it be more that two – one from each camp?)

    And Saturday calls for thunderstorms. At least I’ll be working because the Daytona Prototypes aren’t afraid of a bit of rain.

    Did I mention it was warm here today. still 70F – -22C for you northlanders – and it’s only 11:30 pm. These PR gigs are a pain (hehehe).

  6. Yaumb: Bruno did stuff his car into the tires the other day. I seem to remember reading the damage kept him off track for a good portion of one of the test days. Who knows though. Perhaps it’s not the lack of parts, but the lack of specific parts.

    Roger: I hear ya! Fuck, last year at this time I was on top of the world. Vegas baby. One of the best moments of my year. (Cleveland being the #1!!)
    Very true on the “bright side” Once this machine gets going, it’s non-stop till the end of the summer. Which would be great if the cars weren’t pieces of shite! LOL! It’s going to be so weird having to write about about racing during the Month of May after so many years of twiddling our thumbs…

    CJ: Har har…
    Actually, it was nice and warm here today too! A balmy 5C. Didn’t even need my mittens!

    I’ll be curious to see who/what shows up myself. If you’re not too busy schmoozing, drop me a note with some of the real tidbits. The shiny turd polishing tidbits are wearing me down.

    I thought you guys raced on Friday… ? (runs to look at schedule again)

    Did I mention you’re a pain?!!?!?
    Just remember us little people when you branch out and start staffing….

  7. AOWR is gonna have to work hard to get me back. I’m not gonna avoid it out of spite, I just need to be excited again. There’s nothing there that makes me wanna jump in my car and make the 10 minute drive down to Homestead. My co-worker on the other hand is peeing her pants in excitement. “OMG, Sarah Fisher’s crew stays in my friend’s hotel and they get us free pit passes every year”! Yeah, you and everybody else who attends. Oh, and my favorite, “Another friend is a pilot for Tony George”! I had to bite my tongue to keep from telling her how her pilot friend could have fixed this mess a couple of years ago.

  8. good morning from Homestead. Please send me a note to my regular email. Had an issue importing my addresses to the laptop.

    I will feed you info later in the day.

    We race saturday at 3… those other cars are on track at 8

  9. LOL on the pilot thing SoFloChamp!! too funny. You’re friend will be disappointed this year as Ms. Fisher isn’t running. Guess she’ll have to go by a slurpee at 7-11 to get a free ticket…

  10. “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.”

    Well, that’s fitting. Isn’t that what the two series did?

    As for last year I will gladly testify to Meesh’s excitement in Vegas. She was crazy like a jack rabbit drunk off of Red Bull. Cleveland saw a more mellow Meesh. PT won! That’s got to be at least one of the reasons for Cleveland topping the list.

    As for the IRL and CCWS, the true merger won’t happen for another two years. Right now it’s they’re working to get to that point in time. I agree with what many are saying. The IRL cars, the IRL product does nothing to excite me. Yeah, they’re open wheel cars, but they’re not what they should be. The beginning of the racing season has been odd as much of my attention has shifted to the TC-less F1 circus. I am very excited for each F1 race, not so much so for the IRL. I think the cars should be closer to F1 cars like what CART was. Oh man, did I just regress to the old days? That’s going to get me into trouble.

    That article Curt Cavin wrote was interesting. It seems that TG is aware of the issues with progressing without making wide sweeping changes. He even threw out the idea of renaming the series to the old Indy Car World Series. There is still much to be done and hopefully they have identified all of the changes that truly need to take place in order for this new era to move forward smoothly. I will watch this interim period with interest, and I will hope that when the full merger takes place that the product is the proper one. IRL, you’re on the clock.

  11. Whether it’s IRL or Champcar, it is what it is and I’m looking forward to it. Now I may be snoozing 30 laps into it as the Champcar-ians are getting lapped(did you see they were at best 4 mph off the pace? FK, it’s going to be a long spring). Maybe they’ll have better luck on the street/road circuits than the roundy round.
    I miss the smells and sounds at the track, yes even the crapwagon sounds better than nothing.

  12. You can basically write off the Champ Car teams at most of the ovals except Indy (that month of practice sure looks a lot better now, doesn’t it?). There’s too much specialized bodywork (see: Penske, Ganassi) that goes into making a good speedway car that the CC teams simply don’t have time to develop. But I’m guessing at the roadies/streets they’ll be much more competitive.

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