In my youth, I was a huge fan of the Indianapolis 500. I devoured the newspapers and magazines for information on drivers, their stats, wins and losses. During my middle school years I would make up a type written test for some of the teachers and a few friends to test their knowledge of the previous day’s race. I even aspired to be a race driver but was shot down immediately by the parental units as “you need money for that”.
I lost enthusiasm for the race as I grew into my adult years. Working to take care of the family and supporting those who needed support required that I work. In the age before instant information, before the internet, it was hard to dig up information on the race. You had to listen to the radio at the right time to hear stats, plan your TV viewing for the evening new. There wasn’t enough time for me to stay up to speed with the indy cars and work full time and take care of the house and cars.
By this time, drivers like Rick Mears and the Penske team were winning too many races. Their arrogance on and off the track caused me to cringe, thinking how could someone so prosperous and successful be such an ass hole. In the early and middle 1990s Penske was all that was talked about.
Foreign drivers who also came with their arrogance, hired by Penske, to dominate the race caused me to slide further in contempt for the race.
The feud between the IRL and CART gave me hope that maybe the race of my youth could come back, when it excited me and I could pronounce the names of the drivers. That was short lived, however. Penske now owns everything.
Even though I was born in, grew up in and currently reside in central Indiana, I attended only a few races in my life time. My last race was in 1996, the first year the race was run under the IRL.
When I heard that Penske bought the track, I died inside. Now that a foreign born driver climbs into the Four Time Winners Club, I have absolutely no enthusiasm for the race.