Thirty two names, thirty THREE cars. Too much emphasis is being placed on the magical number of 33. Traditions die hard and yet, they do have a way of being slightly altered. Recall when 34 cars started the Indy Racing League’s grand show in the not too distant past? I seem to recall that the sun did come up the next day! It also came up the day after that…..
I love tradition as much as the next guy does, but guess what? I love the racing that has taken place this year (and last) even more. Quick, tell me, how many cars started at St Pete? How many started at Barber, Long Beach and Sao Paulo? Granted, restrictions are placed on the number of entries when pit road requires the governing body to do so, but I do not see 33 cars on any of those entry lists. I would go so far as to say that even the 600 pound gorilla that is NASCAR is struggling to make 43 cars show up each and every week. One thing is certain; you will NEVER see a start and park entry in ANY Indy Car competition! I cannot think of a single driver that would even allow such shenanigans.
So, the whole thing boils down to ‘field fillers’ and do we or don’t we? Now, here is where we are going to differ a tad, so I am going to say this slowly; t h e r e a r e m a n y d r i v e r s n o t e m p l o y e d and F E W A R E F I E L D F I L L E R S.
If you want to insult a Pippa Mann, good luck with trying to classify her as a marginal driver. Take a shot at Townsend Bell (more on him in a minute). Do you really think that Buddy Lazier is not a good enough talent regardless of his being a former winner? Call him a field filler if you want. I call him by his title, Driver Coach last year to Jean Alesi. So, this year he gets to run the chassis that Jean ran last year with a lotus turd for an engine. Did you know that on Thursday, May 9th, KUBU or as we affectionately call him Kurt Busch, brother to Rowdy, will be attempting the full ‘O’ program? This was reported by Dave Furst via that all informative social platform, Twitter. I cannot wait to see how all of that pans out because he has been in an Indy car before and running a full rookie orientation program to set bench mark data is quite cool.
Which brings me to my point, best expressed by a direct quoting of the recent post by Zach Houghton on http://www.Indycaradvocate.com and you had best RUSH to add his link to your favs bar! My aquaintenance, Zachary always takes the high road and delivers an opinion that always makes sense. Regarding Mr. Townsend Bell, on May 8th Zach wrote, “In short, while I welcome Townsend Bell in the booth and hope he remains a big part of the team for the foreseeable future, I also appreciate his record at Indianapolis, and his well-deserved reputation as a fantastic one-off or part-timer there. Far from being a field-filler, Bell is a valuable add to this 500 list of hopefuls in terms of competition. He’s in a good spot; a veteran driver that can show up and be a welcome addition to a team. We’re to a point where we expect to see Bell each May, and at least throw him in the discussion. There’s no reason think he doesn’t have at least a few more Indy 500 runs in him, and I’m excited to see what he can do with them.”
Well said, Zach. My dark horse for the past several Indy 500’s has certainly included Townsend in the mix! I hope he turns out to be a great field filler….OOPS! A great competitor……my bad!
Take care, thanks for reading and of course, we will talk to you next time.