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."Race of Nothern Aggression"? Wow, who thought Lee Spencer could write a second sentence more upsetting than the first?
But let's not rename the event the Race of Northern Aggression just yet.
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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.