Tuesday, December 14, 2010

An Early Christmas Present for JP and a Bittersweet Moment, All in a Single Press Release

Christmas came early today for JP. If you have followed this blog for a while, you know that one of the recurring themes of this blog has been to publically lobby for JR Hildebrand to land a full time ride in the series and today it happened. You know the news already, that JR will drive the #4 National Guard car for Panther next year. I couldn't be happier and frankly any fan of IndyCar should feel the same way. He's exactly what the series needs a little more of, a young Male American w/o a famous last name or step father. Someone that an average person can relate to.

The first time I ever talked to JR was in the autograph line at Milwaukee in 2009. I asked him fairly loudly "So when are we going to see YOU in one of the big cars?" Marco smirked and rolled his eyes, Brian Herrington and James Davison laughed loudly and patted JR on the back and JR got bashfull and perhaps even a little embarassed. I don't remember what he said at the time, but the humility in his body language said it all. That was the moment I knew he was the real thing, on the track and off. JR will do a GREAT Job with the Guard and be a great ambassador for the Series.

As happy as I am, it is a little bit of a bittersweet moment for me. As I have mentioned in a couple places, I have only come back to IndyCar racing within the past ~6 years. I abhorred the split and anything and anyone that had anything to do with it. From Johnny Rutherford and the Pennzoil Chapparal until the innaugural US500, I was an enthusiastic fan of the sport. After the duelling 500's I just walked disgustedly away.

When I came back to the sport, the first driver that sparked an interest for me was Dan Wheldon. Dan was young and in the ascent at the time. He was from Emberton England, and if you know my full name you will get the joke. Dan was a little different then, it was before the fancy haircuts, skinny jeans and teeth veneers. He was hungry and drove like it.

So now Dan and the veneers are out looking for a Job, that makes me a little sad. The driver who helped me regain an interest in the sport has been replaced by the driver who reignited my passion for it. I have made some twitter comments about Andretti insisting that they still plan to run a 4th car. I pondered that if Dan would run for a cost contained price, he would give Micheal a driver line up very comparable to what they had last year in experience and achievement, but a little easier on the team budget. I hope that this is how it works out for Dan. If not, Bobby over in Columbus couldn't possibly do any better for a two week program in May.

As for JR, I am hoping that Panther can get some T-Shirts printed ASAP and help save me from my Christmas shopping procrastination. Anyway, I thought I would go down memory lane and revisit some of JR's appearances in this virtual media Island. Enjoy...

JR and what could be IndyCar's next great generation...
The reason I played Powerball and Mega millions off and on for over a year
Satire and the way things ought to be...
An outstanding Idea for Sponsorship
The Very First JR Mention...

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