IndyCar had a big media blitz yesterday, sending drivers to 17 cities around the country to tout this weekend's 500. This post isn't a blitz, just a few media-related items that I have come across in the last couple of days.
*Bob Jenkins! Sad news comes in two forms on this one, in that Bob is stepping away from the microphone after this weekend in order to take care of his wife, Pam, who reportedly is battling brain cancer. Prayers to the Jenkins family, and best wishes to Bob. He and his wife have been married for 42 years, which is awesome in and of itself.
(Edit! Bob has clarified that he is going to continue his duties through the end of the year.)
If you have been following racing in almost any form over the last 25 years, you have heard Bob call a race. He has a passion and enthusiasm that is hard to match, and I like it. He was the MC for the qualifying draw Friday night and turned it into a really fun event.
He loves racing and loves his job, and I know of a lot of other folks that have been in the media that long who are jaded and sad. While we have all teased Bob for some of his mis-steps on the air over the last couple of seasons, he is an institution and a Hall of Famer.
While I haven't seen any formal announcement and plans for future telecasts, I'm sure details will be forthcoming.
*ESPN is sending its A team to the 500 this weekend, as Ed Hinton, Terry Blount and John Oreovicz will be in the house. Most of the time Hinton and Blount are on the NASCAR beat but it will be good to have them back at the speedway. Oreo, of course, is a good IndyCar writer.
Blount wrote an awesome piece about Dan Wheldon on ESPN's website today. Very emotional read. I wish people would write like this more often because those are usually the best stories. This will be his 20th consecutive 500, a nice streak. If you like the story, send Terry an e-mail or catch him on Twitter (@terryblountESPN). I e-mailed him earlier and got a nice reply. Writer tip: sometimes we wonder if people like what we write. If you find something that moves you, send a quick note or tweet to that writer, they will definitely appreciate it since it doesn't seem to happen all that often!
I'm not always the biggest fan of Hinton and we had an e-mail showdown last year that I now regret, but he does great work when there is a good story to be told. His long series about open wheel's issues into the mid-90s is a fascinating read, and I used to like his list that came out every Memorial Day of the top 10 drivers in the world. I'd love to do a list like that but won't touch that subject with a 10-foot pole!
*Jenna Fryer is no longer a fan. I shouldn't say that, but this article is pretty brutal. I know that it is an opinion piece, and she is entitled to that, but to close it with a sentence like "So from the outside, it sure looks like a mess for IndyCar." is a little misguided. Look, I'm not one of these people that thinks that the month of May is reserved for kitties and rainbows, and when I see an issue I'll address it. In fact I addressed the Lotus issue yesterday. But this wole "drama" thing is played out.
I had a long retort written but took it out. I'm just going to leave it at this: people see (and perceive) what they want to see. If she (and others) believe the series is full of drama, there is nothing I can say to change their mind.
What I will say is that Fryer did some great -- and objective -- writing in the aftermath of Dan Wheldon's death, and was one of the first to get Randy Bernard on record after the tragedy. That's what I guess is so disappointing, she is a better writer than one who resorted to that hit piece. I may disagree with what someone might write, but when it is factual and well thought out and reasoned, I'll respect their opinion.
*On a lighter note. I'm going to shill for a couple of things here. First, if you haven't made it to the Social Media Garage yet, get there! I think for a maiden voyage it was a pretty good effort from the IMS folks, and it is worth the time to stop in. I'm trying to organize a 9:30 tweetup so if that comes together I will provide more details. Either way, stop in and have fun with us before the race. And did I mention it's in the shade?
Second, when I picked up my race tickets yesterday (a friend of a friend still orders tickets but never goes) they told me they had two more they hadn't found buyers for. They are in the SW Vista and are the pair to my pair, if that makes sense! $85 face and you get to watch the race with me and my 16-year-old son Matt. Is that a great deal or what? I get nothing out of it, just trying to help out my peeps.
*One more thing. Does Donald Davidson have an e-mail address? I ran into a fellow the other day who said he drove at the Speedway in 1948 but I didn't see his name in the box score. Perhaps he was a relief driver or didn't qualify? I would love to find out so if someone could get me in touch with Donald that would be tremendous.