Sunday, December 6, 2009

Putting a Face to the Name

When you hear the word IndyCar, what single person do you picture? Danica... Tony George... Roger Penske... Helio? The truth is that, depending on the individual, it could be any number of drivers, car owners, or officials you visualize.

The series is in desperate need of one recognizable figure to be the face of IndyCar and bridge the gap from series to fan. Someone that appears prominently at every press conference, in television interviews, and at race events. In short, IndyCar needs a front-man.

Not a new concept, to be sure, but what is new is a viable solution. He’s already closely involved with the series, on the track every weekend, and has three ‘500’ championships under his belt. Helio, you ask? A fair deduction, but no. Consider this the first vote for J.R. as ICS ambassador.

As an old-schooler, there’s no doubt it’s wonderful to have Johnny Rutherford still involved with the sport, wheeling the pace car every weekend but, in my mind, he’s destined for greater things and can truly help put IndyCar back on the racing map.

He’s a champion in every respect: articulate, relevant, and passionate. He loves the sport we hold dear and, in this writer’s opinion, he’s the only individual that’s got the chops.

Certainly, at 71, Johnny would, likely, not want to take on such a position for the long term, but securing him for a just year or two to get the proverbial ball rolling and mentor a suitable successor would be a stroke of genius by the series’ decision makers.

IndyCar has an important need and the perfect solution is already on the payroll. What do you say, John?


Motorsport's Big Dog Throws US a Bone

It’s no wonder that with the United States’ lack of recent success in Formula One and seemingly contentious relationship with the same that many have given up all hope of revisiting the glory days of decades ago when Mario Andretti won his world championship. It’s more than understandable. Cheever, Sullivan, Michael, and Scott Speed were bitter disappointments, but I, for one, still hold out some measure of optimism.

No matter the circumstances behind their tests or scant likelihood Alex Rossi or J.R. Hildebrand could actually secure F1 drives, it was still a personal delight to see them representing the Stars and Stripes on the international stage. I wish them the absolute best in their quests to make it in the sport.

Granted, given the current state of affairs, witnessing an American winning Formula One races or a championship again may seem utterly implausible, but my take? As long as we still have a horse in the race, let’s root him on.