Thursday, March 27, 2014

2014 Here we….GOOOOOO!!!!!!!

This has been an awful winter, especially for folks in the North. So much snow, I swear if my employer offered to transfer me to Botswana I’d seriously consider it. However, the weather is slowly turning warm, and Spring has begrudgingly arrived.

There have been lots of exciting changes to IndyCar in this off-season; I’d like to take a few paragraphs to comment on some of the bigger news flashes. As you will find with me, I will always give credit where credit is due:

Farewell, Dario. You’ll be missed.

I guess you could say I’m a partial Dario fan. I certainly don’t hate the guy; he was a fine driver, great ambassador of our sport, and of course a four-time series champ and three-time Indy 500 champion. Big time props to you, sir.

My heart broke at the news of his retirement. I watched every second of that wreck live, and although the medical person in me knew his life was not in jeopardy based on how the safety crews were working on him, I could tell he was really hurt. Love him or hate him, he’s a human being, and personally I’m glad he’s okay.

Concussions are no joke in today’s modern sports, so for his career to be completely over based on a concussion tells me the magnitude of his injuries. We hear stories from the past of drivers driving with all sorts of injuries; I guess I’m glad we’re beyond such risk. Dario will continue to represent IndyCar from outside the cockpit and his life will not be at risk.

I wish you the very best, Mr. Franchitti.

The Carpenter-Conway Connection.

This partnership blew me away. I’m not in the paddock, everything I learn about IndyCar comes off the internet, so I had no idea this was coming. Talk about brilliant. Mr. Road Course teams up with Mr. Oval, because they’re both rubbish at the other.  I think there’s a slim possibility this could be one of those partnerships that we look back on years from now and are still just as amazed. Regardless, this will get much needed points and funding for Mr. Carpenter’s team, and will allow them to move forward more aggressively. Carpenter is always competitive on ovals and we saw what Conway did in his few events last year.

Briscoe to Ganassi

I remember having dinner with my cousin when the news that Ryan Briscoe had signed with Ganassi. She’s an avid fan like me, and we’d been discussing what Chip was going to do with the sudden retirement of Dario, TK, etc. We talked about Tagliani, and even dreamed foolishly about Pippa Mann getting a shot with a smaller team because Bourdais, Savaadra, Simon, whomever sneaked into the Target team.
And then the announcement. We were stunned, simply because we had both forgotten about Ryan Briscoe being a free-agent. Yeah, Tagliani is decent, as are the other drivers mentioned, but really, Ryan Briscoe is in another category. Hell, he won the Indianapolis 500 pole. He won with Penske, hell, he drove for Penske. I remember saying it was a shame Penske had to let Briscoe go after 2012, when he won two races and claimed a 500 pole.

This is a fantastic pickup for Ganassi. He’ll be solid, and really knows what it takes to be on an upper echelon team.

And then Verizon

What can I say about the new title sponsor. This is a phenomenal deal. Verizon is pretty much the biggest cellular carrier in the United States, not to mention their FiOS product for fiber optic home internet and television is on its own planet. I’m certain Verizon wouldn't put their name on a product that was garbage and what both parties can do for one another will be amazing to watch. I look forward to more connectivity, and more access.

So here comes the start of our season. I’m ready, and I hope the racing is fast, entertaining, competitive and above all else, safe. IndyCar almost died, but now it looks like the pieces are in the right place to really make a jump in the number of events and the number of fans.

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