Bleary-eyed, in the ever-earlier darkness of morning, after dutifully shutting off my phone alarm clock, I gathered myself for another day in the COVID-19 era, and scanned my personal email.
Surprisingly (and one email that really shouldn’t have), I saw my annual fees to WordPress.com were automatically paid. While there have been numerous opportunities to project my opinions outwardly here, it’s more generally been an anemic year for my blog as numerous things in my three-dimensional world conspire to retain my interest instead of my Indycar and racing musings to my tens of fans. Maximize the value of my annual expense, I did not.
In actuality, that number is likely to be in the single-digits by now. Pretty dismal showing after 10 years and 350 days of blogging.
Slacking on Indycar posting isn’t a new condition for this writer, but it has been amplified with the hodge-podge season of 2020 Indycar racing in combination with viral disease or other uncertainties. I certainly don’t envy being in either position of racing sanction or facility or team owner, for whom so often we armchair critics assail. At any rate, we all press on in hope of better times and safer futures around the corner.
As for the 2020 Indycar season, it could very well go down as one of the most underrated seasons in history. It’s perhaps forgivable to consider it a mere throwaway of a season, with the lack of fans in attendance, constantly-jumbled schedule, massive uncertainties of the crown jewel Indy 500, and general lack of any sort of rhythm and general purpose. Trying to maintain a balanced view toward things, we must resist to temptation to toss aside this season as wasted. 2020 will without doubt be notable for several reasons in the annals of Indycar history, with positives to be taken along with the glaring downside, but on balance I see it as a net positive.
What follows in this and three subsequent posts will be a summary review of the 2020 Indycar season.
- Penske Corporation completes the acquisition of the Hulman-George family businesses including IMS and Indycar which had been run by the Hulman-George family since Anton Hulman’s purchase of the Speedway in November 1945.
- John Andretti passes away from long cancer battle and is honored with a ceremonial lap around IMS in his funeral procession.
- The successful Road To Indy ladder is set to celebrate it’s 10th season.
- A spate of exciting new driver, new sponsor, and new venue announcements grows the anticipation for the 2020 season and the first of the Penske era.
- The aeroscreen becomes the focus of new testing for all teams in preparation for the new season. Increased cockpit temperatures are noted to be the primary focus for improvement prior to the season start.
- All momentum for the 2020 Indycar season slows dramatically as COVID-19 expands its reach, creating uncertainty for gatherings of people. Spring sporting events are a major concern for spread of the deadly virus, cancelling or postponing famed events such as the NCAA basketball tournament and The Masters.
- On the eve of the St. Pete race, March 13th, the Indycar series and the Road To Indy ladder series officially cancels all races through April due to virus concerns. The planned 2020 schedule begins to unravel and uncertainty in the Indycar community spreads rapidly, including the Indy 500.
- Indycar, in an attempt to provide fans, teams, sponsors, and a TV audience with some form of Indycar presence, shows welcome ingenuity by quickly establishing a mini-series of several Virtual Simulation races via iRacing, featuring actual Indycar and other top-flight drivers including fan-favorite and recovering-from-severe-spinal-injury Robert Wickens racing online. Sage Karam wins the inaugural event, run at the virtual Watkins Glen, the venue chosen through fan voting.
- It becomes clear that the risk and effects of dealing with the COVID-19 era won’t be ending anytime soon. More ingenuity will be required to not lose this season.
- More virtual racing and real-life schedule gymnastics dominate the calendar. A revised series schedule is released featuring double-headers at Iowa and Laguna-Seca, and a brand new event – The Harvest GP at IMS.
- Indycar and its partners impress with their quick responses and fortitude in not abandoning the season altogether.
- Virtual racing continues at Barber, Michigan, Motegi, Circuit of the Americas, and lastly at IMS kicking off the most unusual Month of May.
Coming in the next post, a very strange and surreal Month of May.