As a diehard CCWS fan, at the start of 2008 I decided to drive 800 miles after getting off of work on Saturday afternoon to see the race at Kansas Speedway on Sunday afternoon. I wasn't anti oval; I had been to the Michigan 500 during the CART days, but I had made fun of the 100% throttle 1.5 mile ovals in the past, but decided hey, if I'm going to embrace unification, this is it. I remember being really excited to see a 25+ car field for the first time in years! I saw the appeal of that form of racing even though the formula wasn't my favorite ( I remember Viso doing some pretty wild outside passes in the HVM car that day). The rest of the year, I went on to get Penthouse seats at Indy in May and also went to Belle Isle and Mid Ohio as well. In the years following, I have been to Indy multiple times, Belle Isle, Kentucky Speedway, Watkins Glen (Wilson's DCR win, Mid Ohio x2, and Milwaukee. I badly want to get to Iowa in the future.
Long story short, I wish I could have seen past the politics and went to some IRL races during the split. For example, I regret missing possibly the last MIS Indycar race...I wish I would have seen the Andretti vs Hornish finish at Indy, etc. Being an AOWR fan during the split was like being a religious fanatic for me. I felt alot of anger towards TG, and I felt like I was "cheating" on Champ Car by even watching the IRL on TV. After the merger, I went through the stages of grief , and begin to realize it was for the better.