Disciple of INDYCAR Weblog

June 27, 2008

Grumpy Old Men

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 1:59 pm

It might be a good idea from time to time to point out blatant hypocrisy among those who refer to themselves as ‘fans’ where it exists, isolating it in its various forms. One of my favorites tumble forth from the fingertips of mostly bitter, crotchety old men whose ideas of perfect racing are lodged in the late 1950s and much of the 1960s.  



Their redundant whining generally involves front-engined roadsters, contains elements of ‘run what you brung’ (usually aboard a flatbed trailer towed with a pickup truck), the notion that real racing involves gunning it down a straightaway then lifting in a corner (presumably to ‘make the driver a bigger part of the equation’). These haggard fellows are steadfastly lodged in that era as if it still matters.


Here is a news flash:  It is 2008. How about orienting yourselves in the correct decade? Few have as much fondness and great memories of that period of time as I do. That is when I became a big fan. Other than at nostalgia events and a few parade laps at racing events today, however, I am most happy to leave that era where it belongs. In my memory and in museums. 



The sport evolves. One facet of Indy Racing evolution occurred with the founding of the Indy Racing League. From around 1997 to the early part of the current decade, Indy Racing featured a phase that included drivers who would have never gotten an opportunity otherwise in unique equipment that could actually be worked on the old fashioned way. Small teams won. A.J. Foyt’s team, the ‘Petty Enterprises’ of Indy Racing, even won the Indianapolis 500. While the arrogant cart brigade was busy boycotting, the modern ‘shade tree mechanic’ phase of Indy Racing caught the aging eyes and ears of a few of these wobbly almost retirees.


I enjoyed watching Billy Boat and Davey Hamilton and Greg Ray and Jim Guthrie and that bunch as much as the next guy. It seems sad those types of drivers are forced by myopic, euro-centric owners to find other avenues to pursue. What I am not, however, is bitter. I enjoy the racing. A lot. Current owners have always listened to my suggestions about available talent. That works a lot better than moaning in cyberspace.


The preceding explanatory digression is necessary to set the stage to describe the brand of lying, hypocritical poor sportsmanship that is the subject of this post.  Most people who are actual racing fans either accept what they watch simply because they like and/or enjoy it, or they shift their interests to something they actually like and enjoy; e.g., NASCAR. I get it. The engines are in the front. They are slower. They lift in corners. They give the illusion of having a ‘shade tree mechanic’ orientation. The template for their entire format from start to finish is rooted in Indy Car racing. Fine. Enjoy it. I cannot begrudge anyone for doing so. I attempt to watch it a lot too even though there are moments I would rather ingest raw jalapeño peppers stuffed with shards of broken glass so that I could get an uncomfortable feeling from two different orifices.


The critical question remains that if the old men in question have decided they dislike Indy Racing so much that they prefer NASCAR (or others, like USAC) and NOT Indy Racing to the point of claiming not watching it ‘anymore,’ why, in the name of God Almighty, would they spend so much time in so many outlets for so many consecutive years telling anyone gullible or masochistic enough to pay attention to such frequently stated hysterical meanderings how much they hate the product and no longer watch it?


I have the answer. They are liars. Hypocritical liars. If these wrinkled prunes possessed even one ounce of sportsmanship, they would be content to have made their point once or twice, then simply enjoy and discuss what they actually prefer. But no. These clowns are worse than a bunch of fat old ladies gossiping at a quilting bee.


On a completely unrelated note, best wishes to Bryan Herta. The long time AGR and open wheel driver, most recently the chief AGR ALMS pilot, got fired yesterday. The timing sort of stinks, and everyone understands what happens when no winning occurs for a year and a half. Bryan is one of the good guys. Smart. Intense behind the wheel. If he is not ready to give up the behind the wheel part I hope he finds a good ride. If this event represents one door closing and another opening, my career suggestion for the guy would be Scott Goodyear’s replacement next year (hopefully on NBC). He does a great job on the weekly AGR show on XM.


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