Two topics today:
First, Dario Franchitti. It is sad to see the guy retire, particularly given the circumstances. He is articulate and a great spokesperson for the series and the sport. Personally he was never one of my favorites and if nothing else it was sweet when someone like an Ed Carpenter would beat him. That said, Dario was fearless and tackled all challenges head on. He had the guts to excel on any type of course and was a complete driver. For that he has my respect.
He was also one of the few drivers with a reputation of his own despite being married to the actress and being an in-law in the Judd family. The only thing that consistently rubbed me the wrong way about him was the way he ran his mouth about things he did not like, such as 1.5 mile ovals. Unfortunately that is what happens when road racers currently usurping complete control of IndyCar impose their whims.
Still, Dario was afraid of nothing on the track. That is admirable. He is what a race driver should be. A great career path for him would be to get onto television. If he replaced Scott Goodyear at ABC the listenability of those broadcasts would increase exponentially. He probably has his pick of gigs.
Second topic: Ringers. Ed Carpenter announced he was stepping out of the cockpit on the roads and streets and giving the seat to Mike Conway, who does really well on them. On the one hand it is a smart move for Ed as an owner. The really creepy part of it as a fan is the notion that IndyCar will now officially have specialty drivers for certain types of courses and that blows the claim that IndyCar drivers are the most versatile right out of the water. Unless IndyCar officially creates an oval division and a non-oval decision that come together once a year in May and/or for the 500 milers (which would be a GREAT move if the current leadership was not as blind and stupid as they often appear from a common sense standpoint) this sets a sleazy precedent. I want drivers who are unafraid and talented enough to tackle the complete variety of circuits, not just the ones they are good at. The sport would be far more compelling with a bunch of Darios than a bunch of Conways.
Two things many fans are not looking forward to in 2014: No Dario and oval-timid road course ringers.