Business is business right? Who says that qualifications for the 100th anniversary of the Indianapolis 500 have to end on bump day? Well if you are in the Andretti Autosport camp who had two drivers fail to make the field, then qualifications do not stop until all of your cars are in the show. If your cars cannot do it on speed, then you bring out the biggest weapon of all….the wallet.
It was announced today that Ryan Hunter-Reay who was bumped at the last possible moment by Andretti Autosport teammate Marco Andretti, would in fact be in the Indianapolis 500 as a replacement for Bruno Bruno Junqueira. Rumor had been swirling all day that a deal was in the works to have Hunter-Reay take the seat, but it wasn’t until earlier this afternoon we would finally find out what we all feared. Bruno has officially been screwed twice in three years now. Lets take this for what it is and step back a second.
Who is not at fault:
no images were found– Obviously Junqueira is innocent as he is the one getting tossed for someone who did not make the race. His 19th starting spot that was earned on Pole Day is now nothing.
– Ryan Hunter-Reay is innocent all counts. The man is a stand up guy and is just the driver. He is not responsible for back room politics and illegal drug deals that go down between the team owners.
– INDYCAR is also innocent. While their reputation will take a shot for this, there is nothing in place like other major league sports to stop such transactions that are lopsided and wrong. I think going forward we must look at putting something in place to stop ride buying. This stuff does happen, but it is wrong each and every time it happens. I don’t care what results came from it. INDYCAR must now go to the drawing board as a governing body to stop such actions that are obviously not popular amongst its fan base (see Twitter).
Who IS at fault:
– Andretti Autosport (mainly Michael): To be honest, the qualifying effort by the Andretti team was laughable. How does the third best team in the series have two cars miss the race? You should never have been in that position. It is one thing if it happens once, but this is a growing trend the last couple years. I am tired of everyone saying TK was the teams saving grace as well. The man is super talented as a driver and can set up a car. However, there is nothing he can do to help AA. The problem lies in the lack luster engineering department and to a degree. For whatever reason, they cannot set up a car to save their lives at Indianapolis. As a result, Tom Anderson was shown the door today. The drivers are also at fault as they have input into the process also.
Further more, the way in which Andretti instantly ran for the checks and money supply is ridiculous. Your cars failed to make the show. That is the end of the story. Since when has it been ok to just wave money around after you fail to qualify? Why the heck do we even run qualifications? Just because it has happened previously does not make it right on any level. The move by Andretti today has left a black stain on this year’s race and completely undid the excitement and buzz generated by Bump Day results. But as always it takes two to tango.
– A.J. Foyt Racing: Not sure why I am writing this because I know that A.J. does not care. He is of the belief like most that opinions are like….well you know. However, this race team is guilty and have a part in staining this year’s race. The reason sighted for the sale of the car was financial difficulties. It has been reported that A.J. was funding the second car out of pocket. So my question is why were you fielding a second car period?!? If you cannot afford to run the car or if you are going to complain about having to spend the money, why even enter? The results are probably going to be the same as what we have currently and you have not thrown INDYCAR into disrepute. I understand folks that this is a business decision and I am sure Michael compensated A.J. rather well. The problem is, the manor in which you have done it is just plain wrong. It is very similar to making a deal with the mafia to keep your mom in her house because she can’t pay the mortgage. Just because you are doing it for the right reasons, does not make it right.
A.J. has always been very strong in his beliefs for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Indy 500. He is even this year’s pace car driver. He was voted the greatest of all time at the speedway. He has now however tossed those fundamental beliefs and values to the curb in favor of a nice paycheck. Dare I say sellout? I respect the hell out of A.J. as a driver and he is truly the greatest around the yard of bricks, but this brings his reputation of a 500 ethics protector into serious question.
The deal is done and there is nothing we the fans or anyone can do about it. It is sad that a series that created phenomenal buzz this weekend and got a nice shot of momentum has now tossed it all away because of…you guessed it, these dirty greedy team owners. Checks and balances must be put in place for the future as the team owners (these two for this and all of them for the 2012 aero) seem hell bent on nose diving Randy Bernard’s series into the ground.
Thumbnail courtesy of IMS
RHR Picture from Speedtv.com
Michael Andretti photo from Autoweek