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Posted by Iannucci | 11/09/2007 | 3 comments »
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Now that all that tedious indecision is behind him, of course Sam Hornish Jr finally qualified for a Cup race - right here in my backyard. Topping it off, so did Jacques Villenueve and Juan Pablo Montoya, which means yours truly (along with P2) will be so fortunate as to see not one, not two, but three former Indy 500 winners in a top-level stock car race on Sunday.

AVONDALE, Ariz. - When the green flag waves for Sunday's Checker Auto Parts 500, it will be the first time that three Indy 500 winners will be in the field for a NASCAR Cup race.

But let's not rename the event the Race of Northern Aggression just yet.

(MORE from FOXSports.com)
"Race of Nothern Aggression"? Wow, who thought Lee Spencer could write a second sentence more upsetting than the first?

Seriously though, now that Sam has made his departure official I'd like to say for the record that I wish him the best. If this is what he wants to do - whatever the reason - then may he go forth and represent well. I'm not happy to see him go and I think he deserves all of the mockery we've given him for "thinking" for so long (at least Dario was concise), but I'm not going to forget the fine racing he's provided for so many years.

Puting this in perspective, if Sam wanted to take up motorcycle racing, would anyone else be as offended? It's obvious a lot of this bitnerness fans have expressed has to do with the N-word, and the inferiority complex a lot of open-wheel fans seem to be carrying around. And with good reason since it's a no-win situation for us - if Sam sucks then it looks bad for our guys (and girls), and if he does well it may encourage others to follow.

So if you want to be angry at him then by all means go right ahead. You have every right as a paying customer to boo. But if that's where the cash, err, challenge is for Sam and it's Okey Dokey with the company that employs him, then personally I will accept it, maybe make fun of it more than a little, and otherwise spend Sunday waving goodbye to one of the greatest high-side passers ever to strap into a fenderless vehicle.

That is, when I'm not explaining to P2 about those interesting words Tony Stewart is using over the scanner.

Oh, by the way - congratulations also to Patrick Carpentier for easily qualifying for his first Cup race. After spending the last couple of years in Canadian stock car racing, he may end up being the most successful former open-wheel driver of the bunch. Believe it.

3 comments

  1. Anonymous // November 11, 2007 11:43 AM  

    Personally I think that Sam he am has made the blunder of his life moving to tin tops but that is simply my opinion. I also think that it will come as a great surprise to Juan Pablo Montoya that he has been heaped into the group known as the nothern aggressors. I am not sure what it takes to become a senior NASCAR reporter at Fox, but Ms Spencer would probably do well to reserve comment on all open wheelers performance and which sponsors they are bringing with them until at least mid season next year. Keeping in mind that most of the open wheelers have not only brought more cash to the race, but have also been qualifying mid field or better in their respective leagues (which means they are consistantly qualifying better than about half of the rest of field every week)... And yes, even guys like M. Waltrip and K. Petty (you know,the Kings kid) have sponsors paying big bucks for them not to qualify or to qualify 37th or 42nd too....

  2. Bash // November 11, 2007 9:12 PM  

    So, "Sam he be" is 100% in for tin. What you bet the next thing he said after "I'm in" was, "Crystal, please make me some fried chicken, mashed potatoes with loads of real butter and gravy and two dozen biscuits." Just remember you gotta fit through a window, Sammy, but enjoy your food again! (Oh, and good luck. Seriously. We'll miss you in the IRL, but I wish you well.)

  3. Eric // November 12, 2007 12:04 PM  

    Because I am soooooo bored with the lack of non N-word races to watch, the thought that no other NASCAR race has had 3 Indy 500 winners caught my attention. With the number of one off Daytona 500 attempts by Parnelli Jones, Foyt, Andretti, and the like I was sure that this had happened before. After about 30 minutes of searching the NASCAR web site I found the 1976 National 500, where Johnny Rutherford ('74 winner) finished 31st, Foyt ('61 first win) finished 38th, and Gordon Johncock ('73 winner) finished 39th.