Sunday, April 10, 2016


A column in Sunday's Arizona Republic caught my eye. The writer, Karina Bland, told of how she received an actual hand-written letter from a reader. And how she showed it to disbelieving co-workers and how special it was because it wasn't another E-mail. It was a real ink-on-paper letter.

I could not help but make this connection: In the days immediately after the recent IndyCar event at Phoenix Raceway, I sent hand-written thank-you cards to six people for their special help. Six for that one race. In recent times the only personal note of this type I've received from anyone in motorsports has come from Anthony Vestal of NHRA. Yes, I noticed, and appreciated the gesture. Just thought I'd let you know . . . 

POWER PLAYERS for the week of  April 10: This week's 10 most influential
people in the Business and Politics of Motorsports, as selected by long-time journalist/publicist and industry insider Michael Knight. 

  1. Kyle Busch -- How could it be anyone else? Four NASCAR national series wins in eight days. 

  2. David Wilson -- Toyota Racing Development president has the biggest smile among his manufacturer rivals in NASCAR these days.

  3Joe Gibbs -- Yes, Matt Kenseth has had plenty of frustration so far this season, but Coach Gibbs' team is the one getting it done in NASCAR right now. 

  4. Jim Michaelian -- This weekend marks another chapter in the amazing success story that is the Long Beach Grand Prix. As the LBGP president well knows, there's a garage area full of those who tried and failed to duplicate that success.

  5. Jeff Gordon and Darrell Waltrip -- This is the Fox Sprint Cup telecast I've been waiting for. Two champions who knew how to get it done at Bristol. Now TV booth teammates, they will have short laps to offer what likely will be differing opinions. Don't doubt there will be a Number 1 and a Number 2 expert analyst post-Bristol

  7. Nico Rosberg -- Can he beat Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton for the third straight Grand Prix this season?

  8. Marcus Smith -- The Speedway Motorsports' track boss unveils his huge video screen hanging over the Bristol infield.

  9. Mario Andretti -- Says "no" to halos for open-cockpit cars and wants all cars to use the same type of aero kit for the Indianapolis 500, saying that's what's needed to make the 100th running full of the dramatic entertainment people want. And expect.

 10. Al Unser Jr. -- "King of the Beach" on the Long Beach streets is the pre-race favorite for the last-ever Toyota Pro-Celebrity race.

more next week . . . ]