There was a time when I looked forward to driving 3 hours one way from Chicago to Indy for Bump Day. I went because I loved the competition.
Bump Day was for the hard luck cases-the teams hoping the sixth engine they've installed will be the one that will get them in the field, the team hoping the car that was crashed earlier in the month had been put back together in good enough shape to make the show, the team hoping that their car was not one year too many out of date, the team that struck a deal the night before for a car to replace a wrecked machine. If it wasn't the hard luck cases, it was the second week efforts. These were the deals put together after the first weekend of qualifications when back ups went up for sale and an owner was willing take a gamble. We all know the stories. I won't repeat any as examples.
Come race day I looked at the grid and knew that these were the efforts that went through hell's half acre to make the show. They were the 33 survivors of four days of time trials over two weeks and there was a dozen or more efforts that had to pack up and go home to lick their wounds.
Now? The field will not be the result of competition. It's not the survivors. It's the 33 that managed to get an engine lease, nothing more.
Just about now is when Turn 13 chimes and tells me that I should like it anyway because it's the fastest most exciting oval racing blah blah blah. And someone else will say I should like it because that's all we can afford (I never could understand why we can't afford less expensive alternatives).
Well guess what? I don't
have to like it.
Indy has always meant competition to me, whether it's competition between the hard luck teams on Bump Day to competition between the big boys on Pole Day. It was competition between small engine shops and between multi national auto makers. Indy had always meant open competition on the track, not a race to see who can get an engine lease.
Sorry T13 and anyone else who will try to convince me that I should like whatever is offered to me. I know what Indy meant to me. It doesn't mean that anymore. When it returns to what Indy meant, then convince me I should like it again.