Whether by choice or force, it appears that Tony George is no longer calling the shots. (One of course questions whether he’s really been calling any shots of late anyway… personally I don’t think he has)
Sure the easy thing to do right now would be to cheer or taunt or sling mud and insults, but to what end? What would be the point? Does it change the past? No…
I got tired of the whole “our side-their side” thing long ago, and was relieved in a way upon unification that I no longer had to choose and explain and validate. It was exhausting.
One has to think that Tony George, the man, unburdened by the titles President & CEO, is also feeling a sense of relief tonight.
Much the same way those of us that work in racing sometimes long for the days when we we’re ‘just fans’, when we went to the track ignorant of the insider gossip & news, and just enjoyed the racing, unaware of the ugly underbelly of the industry, it will be interesting to see Tony ease into the fulltime roll of just team owner.
There is a picture one of our photographers took of Tony in Texas (which I used in our story tonight) I remember when I saw it being mezmerized by it. It was Tony George, almost unrecognizable. Relaxed, sitting on the ground, headphones on. Gone was the buttoned down shirt and dress pants, in it’s place a t-shirt, jeans and a casualness. He looked unfettered and relaxed. Like a great weight had been lifted from him.
I get that there are many, in particular those who refused to accept, let alone embrace last years unification, who are still wearing giant chips on their shoulders. They are celebrating tonight. Dancing, shouting, jubilant at what they foresee as the final nail in the coffin, the death of the IRL.
Good for them. I hope they find some satisfaction in their revelry.
I, for one, don’t find any joy in this.
Instead I worry for the sport I love.
Was I happy with unification? no. It broke my heart to lose Champ Car. But the thought of losing American open wheel all together breaks my heart even more. So I was, and still am, willing to put the past behind and look to the future, to finding some common ground between IndyCar and Champ Car, taking the best of what they both had to offer and moving forward.
If IndyCar fades away, there is no magic bullet. No phoenix will rise from the ashes this time. For a while, if we’re lucky, the junior formulas (if they survive) will feed the European series. Hell, even that’s a clusterfuck.
This is not the time for divisive behavior. This is the time we need to rally. To fix this. To move forward. Lest we risk losing it all forever.