Editorialby Miguel Caparros
Memorial Day. In the United States this is the Official Start of Summer, graduation time, the Indy 500, car shows, weather permitting we all head down to the lake, the boardwalk, the beach, get together with friends and neighbors, barbecue, fireworks and observance for those that made the ultimate sacrifice so that the Land of the Free would remain so. In my life time it seems that we have always had our warriors somewhere in harms way.
I keep the pictures of my soldiers at arms in my working photo files so I come across them regularly. After I took this photo my path took me in a direction where I would never see or hear from them again. This week in searching for guest to have on the Radio Show tonight, Dave Williams one of our members and a photo contributor, introduced me to Virginia Pearson. Virginia runs a non profit organization Operation Sandbox GA. Their mission is to collect goods and other things, then ship them to our soldiers serving overseas. This is not a government support effort, the packages contents are all donated and the money for the postage has to be donate too. More so, this is one tough lady who is recuperating from a near death experience much worse than any of us could ever imagine. What ever strength she has remaining after getting up in the morning goes to raise money and send packages to the troops. She has been working with the motor cycle groups and dealers around the Atlanta area to organize a fund raising ride memorial day. Contact her on her facebook page Virginia Pearson. Let her know how much you appreciate her work for Operation Sandbox GA. or contact me at the web page.
David Farley is Wheels Events Mid America Regional Director. He grew up in the shadow of the Indianapolis Speed way and still lives close by Here is his report from yesterday and my responce to his posting.
Money Can Buy Everything........
Ah yes, it's May. The flowers are blooming in Indianapolis by the thousands, as will thousands of race fans attending the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500. The familiar names will be on hand, Andretti, Foyt, Castroneves, Penske, Ganassi, and the list goes on. There are plenty of Rookies in this years race, four women have made the field,(GO PIPPA!), and a host of former race winners and veterans alike. Bruno Junqueira, driving for four time winner A.J.Foyt, qualified very respectably on Saturday to secure his spot in this years race. Andretti driver Ryan Hunter- Reay was bumped out by his teammate Marco Andretti just as qualifying ended on Sunday. You felt bad for RHR but thats racing. But then came Monday. With a huge checkbook in hand, Michael Andretti approached Foyt with the intention of buying Junqueira's car and spot in the race for Hunter Reay. I don't know how much was offered, I would imagine it was more than 33rd place money, (maybe the Andrettis threw in some Wine from their California vineyards.) OK let me get this right. You are driving for the most iconic figure in Indy 500 history(Foyt), who is also the pace car driver for this years race. You qualify on the first day, which for the Foyt cars has been few a far between in the last few 500's. So Sunday, instead of worrying about trying to bump your way in, you can relax. You know your in the biggest race on the planet, and will be at the awards banquet the following Monday to collect your paycheck of well over one hundred thousand large. You wake up Monday and are told you've been bumped out of the race?!?, but how, I was in, you seen it, it was a great run. Look, I'm even shown in the Star newspaper, that;s my picture, me, Bruno, in row 7, what the heck is going on?!? Unfortunately for Bruno he doesn't have a couple hundred thousand smakers and 16 cases of wine laying around. So now Foyt is richer, Junqueira is poorer and back home in Florida, Andretti has another car in the show, and Hunter-Reay is now in the greatest spectacle in racing thanks to a rule that doesn't exist but should have been put in place years ago. This decision has become a bad taste in the mouth of Indy fans. Have you ever seen Rick Hendrick buy a spot for Jeff Gordon, or Jimmie Johnson? NO, because they do what good teams are supposed to do, QUALIFY.... If you don't qualify for Daytona, you pack up and go home, knowing that you gave it your best shot. And besides, this would never happen in NASCAR, they have morals.This is wrong, it's wrong for the integrity of the 500, it's wrong for Junqueira, it's wrong for the sport of Auto Racing. Buying your way into a race, and not just any race, it's like Paris Hilton buying her way in the American Idol top ten. So you see, money can buy virtually everything even a spot in the Indianapolis 500.
From Miguel Caparros
It is all business, this is no longer a gentleman sportsman making the show on skill, luck and a pile of cash! What really motivates this event is the corporate exposure and TV advertising opportunities that is all driven by money. Bruno may not have a no bump clause in his contract you can bet if I had been talented enough (and 1/2 foot shorter) I would have a no bump clause on my contract. Andretti was very motivated by money received and promises made to their sponsors. NASCAR has their dirty little secretes too, they are referred to as "hired guns", mostly in the two road races but also in the regular tour, there are times for whatever reason the regular driver can not get in the show. For last chance qualifying the hired gun has a BIG incentive to get into the show. Start the race pull in after one lap and go home with a fat check. All the regular driver has to do, is stay alive and get some points The car owner is happy, the driver is happy, the sponsors are happy and the hired gun is happy. I am not so sure Bruno is real happy.