Where do many really good racers come from? One of the more amusing debates among racing fans in cyberspace is the origination of great drivers. There is usually a faction convinced that short track/dirt track sprint/midget/various forms of jalopies, etc., is the way to go. This is usually accompanied by taunts toward Indy Racing because the grassroots bunch works toward driving front engined ‘stock’ cars in NASCAR.
Major open wheel owners for years have turned toward foreign road racers as the answer. American drivers at the upper levels of Indy Car are few and far between.
Where would you look if you were an owner? I have begun to think owners should give a closer look to the desert for off road racers. When you look at even a short list of those who came up that way you begin to wonder. Rick Mears. Jimmie Johnson. Robby Gordon (who knows what may have happened had he not run his mouth so much?). The entire list is impressive.
I wish there was a way to get Indy Car or NASCAR pilots into venue-appropriate equipment so they could go dirt or off road a few times a year. I remember watching various Unsers bringing their Indy Car peers to Pikes Peak for the Hill Climb every year. That event is one of the least known, underrated motorsports events of the year. Everyone should take it in before the folks commonly referred to as tree huggers screw that up for everyone else.
On a related note, a film I cannot ever stop watching when it comes on one of the cable movie channels (and I also own it) is ‘Dust To Glory.’ Awesome. Put that on your list this month.