There is a lot of time to think when you take a red-eye flight. As most of you know it's tough to sleep sitting up although I've been known to sleep just about anywhere. I'm on my way to Detroit for a major press day before the St. Louis race on Memorial Weekend.
Wait a minute. Memorial Weekend, there's something very special about Memorial Weekend. How could a race car driver ever forget what happens on Memorial Weekend? The Indy 500 is happening on Sunday, and I won't be competing. I will be there in body and in spirit, I just won't be in a cockpit. Bummer.
The Indy 500 without Robby Gordon. Robby Gordon without the Indy 500. Talk about heartache. I've grown up my whole life wanting to win the Indy 500. I had a shot last year but a mis-sized fuel seal caused my day to go up in flames. Believe me, I've got the burn scars to prove it.
You've got to understand my feelings are driven by nothing more than passion and desire to win at the Brickyard. How many big time sporting events date back to 1911? I'll answer that for you, none. It's not that I'm excited about driving in St. Louis. I am chomping at the bit to get back into the cockpit after sitting out the CART event in Rio. But right after that race is over I will be on my way to 16th and Georgetown, even if it's just as a spectator.
There is only one emotion to describe our current situation. Sad. We should all be ashamed of ourselves for allowing this divide to tarnish the greatest spectacle in racing. The argument of the Indy 500 makes stars or the stars make the Indy 500 is not only ridiculous, it's stupid. It just shows no teamwork. There is no I in teamwork.
I am certainly not the smartest guy in racing. I've made my own mistakes. But what I know, is our sport, open wheel racing is suffering across the board. And in spite of our bad decisions, both series continue to grow, but not at the rate of NASCAR. The winner in this whole mess is NASCAR, without question. And while we continue to feud, the Winston Cup Train continues to roll.
There has to be a solution to allow open participation at the Indy 500. In my mind, putting all the egos aside, it's as simple as a consistent and comprehensive set of rules that govern open wheel racing at the "Indy, ChampCar" level. One engine formula. One chassis formula. Then allow the competitors and sponsors choose if they want to participate in any selected events either CART or the IRL. IRL Teams could then run at Long Beach if they wanted to and CART teams could not only run at Indy, but also at Orlando or Dallas, etc.
The engine formula would be developed by a council of representatives from Mercedes, Ford, Honda, Toyota, GM, Nissan. Wow. How about them apples. The chassis spec would be developed by a representative council of manufacturers from Swift, Lola, Penske, Gforce, Dallara, Reynard and Gurney. Wow again. The key to the whole thing is who presides over the council and to get to a decision quickly. Too much time is passing us by.
I have a lot of things, but one of the things that I don't have is time. I'm 29 and every year that goes by is another missed opportunity to win at Indy. Although many drivers may not let their opinions be known, I'm sure I speak for many of them. In fact, if you ask any current CART team about not being at Indy, I believe it pains them all. You can read the expression on their faces.
This is not about right or wrong. It's not about who did what to who. It's about fixing our current situation.
My plane ride is about over, marginal sleep as you might imagine. I was kinda hoping that this was really a dream, but unfortunately it is reality... at least today.
Here's to all of those people who can make a difference in our situation...
"If we can't find a way, We'll make one."