Disciple of INDYCAR Weblog

May 24, 2011

A Part of The 100th Anniversary Indianapolis 500 Has Lost Some Purity In A Vulgar Way

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 2:54 am

On Sunday morning before Bump Day began one of the troubled permanent Andretti Autosport drivers, Marco Andretti, was interviewed on WTHR-TV about the plight of his team and their mostly outside looking in status. Marco essentially stated they were lost and had no idea how they were going to find necessary speed. He also wondered ‘how Foyt cars can run 226 and easily make the race but we can’t.’

Late Sunday afternoon after two downpours and Danica still outside looking in the weather cleared. Suddenly Danica bumped her way in. It appeared during Danica’s bump back in that Andretti drivers on the bubble, Marco and Ryan Hunter-Reay, were safe because no one else was really close on speed including teammate Mike Conway. It all changed once Alex Lloyd suddenly found enough to bump Marco. That left one last chance for Marco less than a minute before the gun. The only problem was he would have to bump Ryan Hunter-Reay. Magically, he did.

That left Ryan Hunter-Reay and his full sponsorship from DHL and Sun Drop outside the starting field of 33. On Monday A.J. Foyt and Michael Andretti made contact. By the end of the day the 41 ride had been sold out from under the guy who put it into the race, former polesitter Bruno Junqueira. That is the second time that has happened to him, and to his credit he is taking it in stride.

A.J. Foyt positioned the sale as an old school team-helping-team gesture that was done because he had been financing the 41 effort out of his pocket. While many understand the business aspect of the deal they also recognize its sleaziness. It is, for all intents and purposes, an assault on the basic integrity of the sport. The gun fired at 6pm, and that is when then the audio stopped in the musical chairs of Indy Car. The lineup was set. Or so we thought.

The addition by wallet of Ryan Hunter-Reay will not diminish the quality of the event but the presence of the 41 with different sponsors, driver and a crew who did not qualify for it will leave a stench. The deal is pathetically lame.



  1. True.

    Comment by IcyFog — May 24, 2011 @ 3:20 am | Reply

  2. Here is what we need to see:

    Regardless of the verdict of car owners, no owner who buys his way into the Indy 500, no owner or driver who entertains proposals or promises to sell a ride in the Indy 500 to someone who did not qualify, no driver that sits in a conference with a bunch of crooked owners and drivers where the ways and means of buying a drivers ride in the Indy 500 who did not qualify are discussed, and does not promptly admit the sleaziness and lack of integrity of the of the move, will ever race in the Indy 500.

    Comment by Bob F. — May 24, 2011 @ 12:44 pm | Reply

  3. Well, that just burst my bubble. I’ve just lost all respect for Michael Andretti, and he was one of my favorite people in IndyCar.

    Comment by DOUG — May 24, 2011 @ 4:28 pm | Reply

    • Andretti? Not so much. I can understand what he did; he was trying to protect his DHL/Sundrop sponsorship. I disagree with the buying of the seat AFTER he failed to qualify; if he had realized that the car was slow to begin with, went to AJ Sunday morning and said, I want to buy the car, use your setups, put my guy in it to make the show, what would it cost, I’d have been okay with it. On the Andretti side, it’s the timing.

      My loss of respect is for Foyt. And it’s complete. No matter how you spin it, AJ Foyt sold Bruno Junqueira’s seat out from under him. Took the money, and sold him out. Qualifying for the 500 has always been go fast or go home. Junqy went fast, now he’s going home, because his landlord took the money and screwed him over.

      It leaves me wondering two things. D’ya think Rick Mears or Al Senior is doing anything next weekend? And what’s the going exchange rate for thirty pieces of silver? ‘Cause in the world of Indy Tradition, I’m pretty sure the ‘J’ in AJ now stands for Judas.

      Comment by Steven Kornya — May 24, 2011 @ 7:54 pm | Reply

  4. I agree with you, Steve. It took two to broker that “Judas” deal, and A. J. was that other. I don’t know why they thought Bruno would do a lesser job in the ‘500 than Ryan, after all, he qualified well, so he apparently hasn’t lost his touch. I guess it’s politics and cash, just like anything else. I turned sixty-four yesterday, and I can sure remember when things were different. Sad.

    Comment by DOUG — May 25, 2011 @ 3:59 pm | Reply

  5. While I feel terrible for Bruno, who I saw dining with his family on a recent Sunday down on Lincoln Road, Michael Andretti was placed in a no-win situation and had to buy Junky’s ride to save the DHL sponsorship and keep his team afloat….of course, Mike should have figured out how to get the best people and equipment in place after all of these years and all of the big money he has taken in from Go Daddy, Venom, etc. but you can’t fault an owner for moving quickly to secure a ride for his driver…A.J., on the other hand, represents one of the last in the line of IRL bootlickers who staunchly supported TG’s failed vision while his own team has floundered over the years….has A.J.’s team won a race since Penske, Ganassi and the other top CART teams took over the IRL in 2003? A. J. and his team are back markers in need of cash and I have no issue with A. J. taking the money and keeping his team going another month.

    Comment by Neil Rubin — May 25, 2011 @ 5:13 pm | Reply

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