This Could Be The Longest Off-Season Yet

By Susan Phillips

The IndyCar season has only been over for six weeks and already, things are starting to get restless in my house. With the Vols football season a disaster and the Titans up one week and down the next, my husband George has already turned his attention back to racing. I knew this was the case this past Monday night when he chose to listen to “Trackside” instead of watching Monday Night Football.

Obviously, there has been a lot to talk about in the IndyCar world. Sometimes at this time of year, George struggles to come up with topics for this site and even solicits suggestions from me. That has not been the case this fall. Instead of asking me for ideas, he has been coming to tell me what I consider to be obscure news.

I’m sorry, I really don’t care whether the pits stay open or not. Nor do I have much interest in Hinch’s new teammate. I am very busy at this time of year. I enjoy attending and watching races, but now that the season is over I have many other things crowding my brain to worry about Ed Jones being in Tony Kanaan’s old car next year.

Before Jones was signed, he would tell me that the second car for Chip Ganassi was still empty, I suppose I would look at him with a blank stare, or one that didn’t meet his approval. He would ask “What? You don’t care?”

It’s not that I didn’t care, it’s just that next season is still several months away. I don’t have the energy to worry about who might have been Scott Dixon’s teammate or who won’t be Kanaan’s teammate at Foyt. George might spend twenty minutes telling me why Conor Daly was the best choice. Now that he knows it won’t be Daly, he keeps griping about it. It’s like he’s arguing with himself. He would do better telling it to his dog, Maley. At least Maley will look at him lovingly as he talks. I just ignore him while I continue to do reports for work.

I think the anticipation of the new car for next season has George really excited for this time of year. When I’ve actually listened to him and not tuned him out, I’ve heard his hopes that the new car will make the racing a lot better at tracks that have been boring…at least, to me.

We had a really good time at Gateway in August, but it had nothing to do with the actual race. That was the most boring race I’ve attended in person and I’ve been to almost as many as George has in the last 15 years. He swears to me that the new car will make the racing a lot better at tracks like Gateway.

But to be totally blunt…I think he is more excited about the look of the new car than how it will race, but he would never admit it. I think the fact that it looks more like a car from the early 90’s makes it that much more appealing to him. When he talks about IndyCar racing in the 90’s, he speaks in an almost reverent tone. I know that his two favorite decades of IndyCar racing were the 60’s and 90’s. Why that is, I don’t know. Maybe some of you can explain it to me. Since I was not in his life in either of those decades, they are mostly unfamiliar to me.

I never followed this sport until he and I reconnected in 2001 (although I was a guest in Bill Elliott’s pit when NASCAR raced at the Nashville Fairgrounds in 1984, if that counts for anything). But from what I can tell, the racing of today is a lot better than it was 15 years ago. If the new car makes it better, I’m all for it.

I was out of town last Tuesday night. But did that stop him from sending me You Tube links of Hinchcliffe and Dixon testing the new car at Texas? No. I really had no interest in looking at them, but I knew I would be quizzed on them later so I gave them a quick look. Don’t tell him, but I really can’t tell much difference between the old car and the new car. But he keeps using the word “sleek” so I’ll go with that.

I suppose the boring NFL season and the horrible Tennessee Vols season is taking its toll on him, but I’ve never seen him this antsy about IndyCar this early in the off-season. Normally, he doesn’t get this way until after New Year’s. I guess the actual racing keeps him so occupied during the spring and summer that he doesn’t really worry about all these little side stories. If he does, he doesn’t worry me with it.

But this fall has been different. He is worrying me to death with every story and rumor he hears about IndyCar. It’s driving me insane! I’m hoping the Titan’s fortunes improve over the next month or so. Otherwise, it’s going to be my longest off-season yet.

8 Responses to “This Could Be The Longest Off-Season Yet”

  1. You must meet my dear wife Diane sometime. You two would really hit it off….. 🙂

  2. I think I am more antsy this year for these reasons:

    The NFL has turned into a political mess so I am not really watching it as much, why be so stressed out by something that is supposed to take your mind off such things?

    NASCAR, well, everyone was excited about the finish this week, I think it’s just a contrived mess.

    The NHRA, I usually enjoy it but yesterday John Force took a blatant dive for a teammate and it made me mad, which takes me back to the theory of why watch something that makes you mad or stressed out?

    So Indycar is about all I have that doesn’t stress me, frustrate me or make me mad….

    Oh I forgot baseball, I love baseball but these World Series games are on so late, reasonable fans who work can’t possibly watch them sadly….

  3. Dale Christenson Says:

    Ah, yes Susan, welcome to being the wife of an Indy Car fan. We, like the drivers, are wired a little bit different, and as winter approaches, we are in real need of a speed fix. This too shall pass!

  4. It has been said that for a marriage to succeed you should keep your eyes wide open before marriage and half closed afterward. In your case with George, perhaps you can apply the same reasoning to your ears. Just keep them half closed during the off season. Get some country and western music ear buds.

    An alternative would be to go on and on about every minute detail of the country and western music scene hour by hour, day by day, until he raises the checkered flag of surrender.

  5. DZ-groundedeffects Says:

    I hear the hockey in Nashville is pretty good. Also maybe a good winter to go catch a few up-and-coming musical artists. I hear the music scene in Nashville is pretty good also. 🙂

    If you don’t mind, here are a few suggested Nashville-based/frequent artists:
    Nov 4 – The Strumbellas – Cannery Ballroom
    Nov 15 – Reverend Payton’s Big Damn Band – The High Watt
    Nov 19 – Lilly Hiatt – Exit/In
    Mar 1 – Mindy Abair & Boneshakers – City Winery

    Those are just a few I’ve seen that I think you might like, but I’m with you – my teams are floundering mostly and it will be a looooong off-season.

  6. Thanks Susan for making me smile broadly. I think I must be in a funk because I am not antsy at all. I am bummed that the season is over. I will confess that I have been watching clips of the various races that I recorded. Just trying to savor the last few bits of 2017. The only thing I am missing is the special on the championship that aired on NBCSN. My DVR decided I only need the first 18 minutes.

    I guess it would be a sacrilege if I said here that there is more to life than racing. I am trying to make more time for those special people in my life. Well at least until March and the season opener. (Smile)

  7. My wife and I attended a BOA band competition in Indianapolis two Saturday’s ago at Lucas Oil Stadium. Because our daughter’s band played early (just past 8:30 a.m.), we drove up very early from Cincinnati and attended the first session which lasted until 10:30.

    Her mistake was asking “What should we do next?” Within fifteen minutes we were at IMS. As we got close I heard the unmistakable sound of races cars on the track. Anyone who has driven up to IMS with cars running on the track knows that magnificent sound as it resonates out on 16th street. We parked by the museum and I raced over to the viewing mound. As it turned out, Indy Lights and Mazda Road to Indy were doing an all day practice session on the IMS road course. Several times during the morning there were 19 cars on the track. As nice as the new Indy cars look, the Indy Lights car may still be even better.

    My wife pretty much stayed in the car as I stood there and took in the experience of race cars at Indy. To have seen race cars running in Indy in October might just help me get though the winter and to the spring and the beginning of the season.

    We stayed until the drivers broke for lunch about 1:30. Now I did make this up to my wife by promising her a nice lunch. She asked me if I had any suggestions. So over we went to Dawson’s on Main.

    Yep, she thinks I’m a little bit nuts too. Oh, my daughter’s band finished tenth, their best ever!

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