The IRL in the ICU | NevadaAppeal.com

The IRL in the ICU

Roger Diez
Nevada Appeal Motorsports Columnist

As you may have noticed, I’ve been absent from this space for nearly a month. This was not due, unfortunately, to the Lottery or Megabucks, but rather to a medical situation.

I have listened to and/or watched the Indy 500 from a variety of locations over the years, but this year was the first (and hopefully last) time from an Intensive Care Unit. By the way, the new Carson-Tahoe Regional Medical Center’s unit is not named after Olympic skier Picabo Street as has been rumored, and they don’t answer the phone, “Picabo ICU.” I also watched the Coca-Cola 600 from the ICU bed, so my Memorial Day weekend wasn’t all that much different than those in times past, except I couldn’t convince the nurses to insert a couple of beers into my feeding tube.

I have questioned the wisdom of the IRL in putting NASCAR retired champion Rusty Wallace on the Indy announce team, and after a 500 mile race long exposure to his commentary, I’m still of the same mind. Don’t get me wrong, I like Rusty, but his continuous “Golly Gee Whiz” demeanor, interspersed with inappropriate comparisons between Indy Cars and NASCAR stockers drives me right up a wall.

As for the race itself, it was probably a bit better than average since the CART/IRL split, and the sprint to the finish was nothing less than breathtaking. Sam Hornish, Jr. certainly deserved the win, but young Marco Andretti and dad Michael fought him to the wire. It appears that Marco, like Michael and grandpa Mario, has a bright future in open-wheel racing, at least for as long as open-wheel racing has a future in the U.S. Unfortunately, after a 33 car starting field at Indy, just half that number started the Milwaukee Mile in the Champ Car event the following Sunday.

I am home from the hospital now, but I’m facing a bit of a lengthy and tedious recovery period, so you won’t be seeing me at the local tracks in the immediate future. But if you have any news of local racers and their doings, please let me know and I’ll try to pass the info along to my readers.

Next weekend will mark my 10th anniversary of writing this column, and I hope to keep doing it for quite a while yet to come.