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Hey, Count The Chickens, Not The Eggs

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  • Hey, Count The Chickens, Not The Eggs

    I read a lot of posts worrying about the lack of "name" drivers in
    open wheel racing, I began wondering just what is a "name" driver.

    Just for fun I picked the Mario Andretti and decided to see where he "came" from ---- boy I wish I had bet a dollar on him and let it ride in 1964.

    Mario's first USAC Championship ride was at Trenton, April 14, 1964, he finished 11th, 8 laps behind the winner, a guy named Foyt.

    Next it was Langhorne and out little Italian friend did better, he finished 8th and only 5 laps in back of the same guy.

    Back to Treton for the second time and it was a bad day. Mario slipped to 11th again but this time he was 16 laps down on guess who?

    Then Andretti thought he would try the dirt Springfield, it was 6th place finish but only 1 lap down on --- you guessed it.

    Next day on to Milwaukee and the paved miled and Lady Fortune smiled on Mario, he finished 3rd, but still 4 aps down on some guy named Jones.

    So it was back to the dirt, this time DuQuoin and Mario crashed on lap 43, his first championship dnf.

    On to the Hoosier Hundred and a 10th place finish, but only 3 laps down to that Foyt guy again.

    Back to Trenton for third time and Mario crashed on lap 54 watched as that Foyt guy had mechanical trouble and the Jones boy won again.

    On the drit again, this time at Sacramento, and the best Andretti could do was an 8th place but only 1 lap behind the winner, oh not him again.

    Mario"s season came to disappointing end in Phoenix when mechanical problems in his Dean Van Lines roadster sidelined hi on lap 29 and Lloyd Ruby came homw the winner.

    I'll bet no one sitting in the grandstands at Phoenix that day would have bet a dime they just watched future World's Driving Champion, Indianapolis 500 winner, Daytona 500 winner and a guy whom would be named Co-Driver of The Century finish his
    rookie year as a Championship driver.

    Somewhere, maybe driving a CART race, an IRL race, a NASCAR race, an SCCA race, a sprint car or maybe a go cart some kid, with a burning desire may become the next Ruby, Jones Foyt or even Andretti.
    Dick Ralstin www.dickralstin.com

    Satisfaction guaranteed or your Monkee returned

  • #2
    Nice post Dick..the game can certainly use another Lloyd Ruby. Many don't realize how good he really was.

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    • #3
      A real "name" has to be earned, not just hyped by the public relations types (of course not you, Mr. Ralstin). And you make a good point when you tell about the young Mario breaking into racing. Most people who saw him race probably asked "Who is this guy?". That's the same question that people ask today when some Brazilian or European shows up at the Indianapolis 500. The casual fan will never have a clue where someone came from. You hear a lot of people on Trackforum saying that the IRL needs to bring up nothing but dirt track sprint car drivers to run in the series. Just like your story about Mario I guarantee that the same people who don't know where the Brazilians come from wouldn't know where the dirt track drivers come from either. The majority of people are only interested in the bigger races. You will never see 90% of them at a sprint car race. Long before there were large numbers of foreign drivers showing up I can remember having to explain some new sprint car driver's background to an otherwise knowledgeable fan. And NASCAR has taken the whole "name" concept to a new level. They have a great touring and television road show that is full of "names." Many of the biggest of these are well past their prime and are not as good as many younger drivers who will never get a chance to drive in Winston Cup. But they have a "name" and so they keep the Frances, their sponsors, and the fans happy. At least, there have been a lot of younger and more capable drivers recently starting to get a chance in NASCAR. But even among the younger drivers there is a "hype" factor. Matt Kenseth is currently leading the NWC points and will likely win the championship but Dale Earnhardt, Jr. is a much bigger "name." Just what has Dale done except to win some questionable restrictor plate races at two tracks? And just where did he pay his dues? None of this matters because NASCAR and Budweiser will see to it that the Earnhardt legacy stays alive so that all can prosper. In spite of all of the booing of Jeff Gordon by the Earnhardt family fans it can truly be said that Jeff earned his "name." But most of these loyal fans don't have a clue about Jeff Gordon's past prowess in sprints and midgets. They only know what they have been fed by the NASCAR television public relations machine. Most of the "names" of today's racing have been created by NASCAR. Unfortunately, there may be lots of better drivers out there racing each week who will never be in a position to ever get a chance to make a name for themselves.

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      • #4
        Indyrjc....I am trying to think of an appropriate way to express my thoughts about your post....and I can only think about two words that apply..."HOW TRUE"...great post ...thanks...

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        • #5
          Enjoyed that, Ralstin..Thanx A Million!


          Originally posted by calinoff
          Indyrjc....I am trying to think of an appropriate way to express my thoughts about your post....and I can only think about two words that apply..."HOW TRUE"...great post ...thanks...

          What Len said....

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