Defender of IndyCar

Why Mario Andretti Pisses Me Off

There is no denying his legacy in a variety of disciplines, and he has been successful following his climb out of the cockpit. There are, however, two things that genuinely bother me about the guy. First, unlike his son Michael, he never pursued continued direct involvement in Indy Car, either as an owner or otherwise (although he is being paid to drive around in the Sinden two-seater). That separates him from other greats such as Foyt, Al Unser(s) and Rutherford. Even Rick Mears is still synonymous with Team Penske. Mario’s penchant for whining is not in any way diminished even though his direct lack of involvement in the operation of the sport has been minimal.

He may have chosen not to based simply on politics at the time of his driving retirement. That leads to the second fingernails on a chalkboard aspect of Mario. Whenever he opens his mouth about anything even remotely related to Indy Car he takes the same approach the average ignorant, hateful cart enthusiast does. This time the forum was an interview in Sports Illustrated by Brant James. Granted, most writers who get to interview legends either lob softballs or ask leading questions, and this interview contains some of that.

Mario: “I think the IndyCar series, as we know it, is definitely on the upswing, because it was brought to its knees and I don’t need to mention by whom. I think now that it’s unified, it has definitely taken off into the direction it needs to go and that it deserves. Izod is doing a tremendous job of promoting into mainstream America, and that’s where we belong. It’s not something new. It’s something that needs to be brought to the attention of the fans properly and without having two series competing to do the same thing.”

Oh, go ahead, Mario. Say it. ‘Tony George.’ All other equally ignorant knuckle dragging mouth breathers do. Just forget the collective arrogance of the cart contingent that made one stupid mistake after another before self immolating themselves. Twice. Oh, the sport is ‘unified?’ Who is the person responsible for that? I guess you don’t need to ‘mention by whom.’ I also move that the word ‘unified’ be eliminated from Indy Car. That word artificially elevates hooligans who willfully attempted to destroy the sport to a level they do not deserve. The asset sale proceeds Tony George picked up after champcar failed was nothing like the cart that existed in 1995. We all know that IZOD is doing a great job (and paying you a lot of money to boot), but there have not been two series for years. It is 2011. We reside in the 21st century. Join us.

Mario: “I think it’ll take time for fans to really follow some of the drivers. There have been some odd names because the series is very international. But I really think the series is picking up. It’s beginning to resonate. I think the fans will begin to look forward. Now, it’s a matter of time to rebuild something that was lost.”

Mario, what was lost was cart. Then champcar. Indy continued making stars during the ill-fated boycott of the arrogant. Do not confuse that loss with any perceived diminishment of Indy Car just because your boys failed to show. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the great race. It has not lost anything except in the deluded minds of people who either do not or refuse to get it.

Mario: Randy Bernard, to me, is doing a phenomenal job on so many fronts. He has learned tremendously over this past year. He is a very calculated individual. He’s patient in some ways but also very energetic in some others. He’s careful with his moves. The conversation I had with him in the beginning, I told him the worst thing he could do was try to reinvent the wheel. I think that resonated. I said ‘this is not a startup series. You’ve just got to remember to look back and learn from the formula that worked.’ That’s what we need to reinstate. We abandoned the product. I think he truly gets it. We’re fortunate he’s at the helm of this thing right now.”

Hang on a second, Mario. You encourage Randy Bernard not to reinvent the wheel, but you propose the solution to all real or perceived problems is to reinstate the cart model? That makes no sense. When anyone feels turning back the clock to solve anything is the way to go, I immediately get suspicious. No one abandoned the Indy Car product except cart idiots and fans who got turned off by the scorched earth cart created. Learn from the mistakes of the past for sure, but do not make them again. cart had its day. That evolutionary period ended. Move forward. I applaud Randy Bernard for compiling opinions from every constituency. A much smarter approach is to build the sport to heights never experienced before in any evolutionary period. We will never get there by trying to recreate 1995. The world is a much different place in the present day and the sport can be greater than it ever was before. It will not get there as long as former stars keep making snarky comments every time a mic is placed in front of them.

5 replies to “Why Mario Andretti Pisses Me Off

  1. Troy: It must hurt for you and your fellow bootlickers to see the sport moving on without your beloved Anton in charge.

    Editor’s Note: ‘Bootlickers?’ That’s mature. Actually, I don’t care who is in charge as long as the sport remains healthy, they run the 500 and IMS remains the center of the sport.

    Troy: Anton did not unify the sport out of kindness…..he was bleeding cash at an enourmous rate and needed the champcar teams. It was obviously too little, too late as he was tossed from the IMS headquarters a little over a year later.

    Editor’s Note: ‘Enourmous,’ eh? LOL. He bailed out the last holdouts and this is the thanks he gets? The problem with your kind is that you really have never had a clue about the institution of Indianapolis. You have my pity and often contempt. It would not be so bad if you could grow up just a bit.

    Troy: The problem with you and your ilk is you want the open wheel split told in only your terms. You cry anytime someone like Mario brings it up, but you love to tell it in your terms.

    Editor’s Note: There is only one truth. And that is that cart boycotted the 500, even after being invited in writing to use equipment they already had. Their arrogance killed them. Twice. Most of the most vociferous critics are among the most willfully ignorant people on the planet on this topic, but considering how many years Mario ran at Indy he should know better than to toe the hater company line. The split ended many years ago. Real race fans have moved forward. Stop living in the past and join the rest of us here in the present. Randy Bernard is doing a swell job forging a brand new path aligned with the times. Stop harping on some imagined utopia you believe you had. My favorite years were the mid-60s but we are not going back there, either.

  2. Ok granted I was very young when the split happened, but it’s time that all sides grow up and to the future. Who cares who did what to who the sport was damaged and is making a comeback and thats all that matters. I’m sick of all the IRL and CART haters. Its now INDYCAR and suck it. Viva la INDYCAR.

  3. It is very easy for you to print stuff in which u have no knowledge of.This man does more for this sport behind closed doors then any human being alive.You say he only does it because he gets paid you sir are an idiot.The Irl uses this man’s name because the American public still relates with him.He is an everyday man who was the beat ever at his job.At just under 71 years old he eats sleeps and breaths this sport that he loves so deeply.The difference is he doesn’t do it in front of the media.You should do a little more research b4 u make a fool out if yourself writing such an article.

    Editor’s Note: If he is as supportive as you say he is, when is he going to finally drop the ‘Tony George ruined everything’ crap every time he speaks in public? That does nothing to help the sport.

  4. Actually, Defender, I get the warm and fuzzies whenever “Bootlicker” Troy feels like he has to comment, punctuation errors, misspelled words and all. Every blog has to have its comic relief, and Troy’s it. As long as he gets a rise out of you, he won’t quit. But that’s your job to reply; it’s your blog.

  5. Hey Joet, tell us what Mario does behind closed doors since you’ve obviously been behind them with him. Compare what investment Mario has in the ICS other than his glory grabbing fame as opposed to son Michael who has an actively involved super team. I’ve been financially contributing to this sport for close to 50 years. Show me one dime from Mario’s pocket.

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