Sunday, May 29, 2011


As I've been telling you about, here are links to the 100th Indy 500 package Mark Armijo and I wrote for Sunday's Arizona Republic. If you have any interest in Arizona racing or Indy 500 winners, please take a few minutes to give this a read. Mark and I put a lot of work into it. Thanks.

The stunt jump was anti-climatic. The historic cars paraded to applause. The celebrities were introduced. The Secretary of Homeland Security, who as governor of Arizona wouldn't secure the AZ-Mexico border, stopped by briefly to profile. The IMS Corp., Izod, and most team and sponsor PR people, didn't do PR. (For the record, I told Randy Bernard to his face last Thursday what I've written here: That the IMS Corp. employs and enables one of the five worst PR departments in all of professional sports.) The local media cheerleaders gushed. As noted here yesterday, the much-debated double-wide restart rule was quietly changed less than 24 hours before the start, a bone tossed to the drivers and yet another example that Randy ("The Fans Want It!") Bernard is trying to be all things to all people.

(Let's call that what it is: Mission Impossible.)

Jim Nabors sang (although the PA system missed the first little bit.) The media center Internet connection kept dropping like Will Power on three wheels. There were more people in the stands than anytime since the split, at least as far as I could observe.

And then they waved the green flag for the centennial Indianapolis 500.

And the drivers showed who was in charge. They essentially said "bleep you" to the series' officials and spread out for the start, despite all the talk about going back to the old, traditional, three-wide, 11-rows lined up at the starting line. Ditto on the first try at a double-wide restart. I'm tempted not to blame them. But Bernard, Brian Barnhart, etc. should take that for what is was: A shot across their bow, in the name of what they considered safety. What was Brian going to do? Black flag the whole field?

What would Formula One stewards have done? Or, NASCAR race control?

[ more next week . . . ]