In the second book of James Fenimore Cooper’s 5 novels comprising The Leatherstocking Tales, the character of Uncas is known as the last full-blooded member of the Mohican tribe of Native Americans who becomes allied within other tribes through marriage and also becomes a valued ally of the British forces in their skirmishes with the French over land in what is now known as Connecticut of the American colonies. Eventually as we know, the Mohicans as well as the other ancient tribes of America were killed off or assimilated into the new world.
With the recent news about the financial contractions of the CFH Racing team in this Racer.com article, it revealed to me that team owners Carpenter and Sarah Fisher remain the last active team/driver link to the Midgets and Sprint Car connection to Indycars. The last few of the once native and productive link from the small tracks of USAC to the top level Indycars.
It pains me to see this ‘last Mohican team’, backs to the wall, with massive odds against them, fight to survive. Their brightest driving talent, Josef Newgarden, will also perhaps struggle with results from a team struggling to merely pay the wages.
Much has been made of that once direct pipeline to the biggest race in the world having been essentially severed with the competitive malfeasance of USAC and the advent of CART. The glory days of running sprints, midgets, and Champ Cars (Indycars) is only a memory for those old enough to also recall a time when Indycars first sprouted wings or when Richard Milhouse Nixon occupied the office that many candidates currently seek. I’m loathe to admit that I am old enough to recall those things and yet I’m merely at the tail end of that generation.
Indycar, and the last vestige of it’s Golden era connection to the mighty USAC river of talent that rushed forth with names like Vukovich, Ward, Foyt, Bettenhausen, Rathmann, Jones, McCluskey, McElreath, Kinser, Kenyon, Leonard, Johncock, Rutherford, Unser, et. al., is on the verge of being just a tiny stream that finally dries up.
For me, I’m honestly sad to see it come to this, but on the day that USAC and CART finally and terminally agreed to disagree, I suppose this day had to come. Many have spoken about the fear of a significant drop in attention to this sport after this season. Perhaps fitting that the grand 100th Indianapolis 500 mile race may be the last that actually includes that long link to the past.
So when considering someone to cheer for this year, I challenge the fans not to change your support from your favorite as before, but let’s also keep a positive thought and cheer for ol’ number 67 – Josef Newgarden – and his team owner, the last of the Mohicans, Sarah Fisher.
Edit: and just hours after posting the above article, it was publicly announced that Sarah Fisher’s and Wink Hartman’s ownership in the CFH racing team has been absorbed into Ed Carpenter Racing effective immediately. Newgarden will drive the Number 21 and Carpenter the Number 20 for ECR for 2016.
Fare thee well Sarah. We’ll miss you and the 67 in Indycar.