The Field of 33

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There has been a disturbing trend in the IndyCar blogosphere over the past several years. When I started this site almost ten years ago, there were so many IndyCar blogs that there was no way to keep up with them. Some were obviously better than others, but the choices were endless. Some were so funny that they were considered sarcastic masterpieces. Others were very professional looking websites that had a slew of contributors behind the scenes.

Many were like this site – kind of simple and only one person’s opinion.

I got to know many of my fellow bloggers. When I started blogging in May of 2009, I assumed that the other bloggers viewed each other as “the competition”. It wasn’t until Bill Zahren of Pressdog.com and Jeff Iannucci of MyNameIsIRL.com and later OneLapDown.com gave me shout-outs on their respective sites and told their readers to check out “the new guy over at Oilpressure.com” that I realized that being an IndyCar blogger was more of a fraternity and we were all in this thing together. The shout-outs that those two gave me in the early summer of 2009 did more than anything to kick-start this site, and I will always be grateful to them for steering readers in my direction. I soon began to actively promote several of the new bloggers in much the same way, as a way to pay it forward.

When I first stepped foot into the IMS Media Center during Qualifying Weekend in May of 2010, all of the bloggers I had been exchanging e-mails with for the past year came over to meet the “new guy”. Roy Hobbson of The Silent Pagoda took me around and introduced me to everyone I needed to know. All of the bloggers were assigned seats near the front, which I thought was a little odd. Those seemed like the choice seats in the Media Center, not where they would put the lowly bloggers. The bloggers occupied about three to four rows and I was assigned to what I thought was one of the best seats in the entire 400+ seat Media Center – on the end at a corner where any driver would walk past.

It was on this day that I also met Paul Dalbey, one of the bloggers from PlanetIRL.com. He made a point to come over to me and introduce himself. I knew the name from their website, but really knew little about him. I shook his hand and went on about my business.

It was good to finally place faces with all of these names. Like any gathering of various personalities, I liked some of my fellow bloggers better than others. Hobbson and I immediately connected, probably because we were so different. There was about a twenty-year difference in our ages, and while my site pretty well played it straight – his was outrageously funny. Pressdog and I met, and it struck me how different his persona was from what he showed on his site. I had pictured a gruff and outspoken individual with an intimidating air about him. Instead, he was actually small in stature and very soft-spoken and reserved.

After that weekend in 2010 and the subsequent race weekend – I had established some friendships and we communicated regularly on Twitter. Being a blogger was fun. Not only did I get access to places at race tracks I would never have dreamed of, but I had a new set of friends that all shared my passion – IndyCar racing.

Later that fall, Paul Dalbey and a couple of others formed what I thought was one of the best IndyCar sites out there – MoreFrontWing.com.

But sometime after the Centennial Celebration was over following the 2011 Indianapolis 500 – many of my new-found friends stopped blogging for a variety of reasons. Some just got bored with it all. The most common reason was the huge time commitment required to running even the simplest of sites. Some went through divorces or other life-changing events, while others were given ultimatums by their spouse to either give up their blogging hobby or their marriage could end. Worst of all, there were hardly any new bloggers stepping in to take their place.

One by one, they either announced that they were giving up blogging or they just slowly faded away into inactive sites that went untouched for years. 2014 saw two of the most iconic sites abandoned – Pressdog and More Front Wing. I was beginning to feel like the last man standing. My readership was still increasing every year, but to be totally honest – I think it was because of the attrition in the blogosphere rather than because this site was so good.

There were still a few bloggers around – like GroundedEffects.com and NewTrackRecord.com, but even they were not very regular anymore. One new site came on board a couple of years ago and is now known as The Pit Window. It is done by longtime reader and commenter Mike Silver. It is always a good read and if you haven’t been there, check it out in my blogroll to the right.

So why am I giving you this self-absorbed history of the rise and fall of the IndyCar blogosphere? Because there is finally some good news to share. Not only are we getting a nice new addition to the IndyCar bloggers, but it is one that is coming out of a four-plus year self-imposed retirement – my good friend Paul Dalbey.

It wasn’t long after meeting Paul during that 2010 Qualifying weekend that we each figured out that not only did we share a passion for IndyCar racing and the Indianapolis 500 in particular; but we also loved delving into the history of the sport. In conversations and e-mails, we also realized that we were very much alike – meaning that we are both very set in our ways and proud of it. There is a twenty-two year difference in our ages, but it’s easy to forget. Either I come across as young for my age (doubtful) or he comes across as much more of an old fogy than his young age of thirty-eight would imply (most likely).

By the 2011 Indianapolis 500, Paul and I had already become good friends. When Susan and I got married at IMS in 2012, we asked him to be our photographer. During weekends in May, Susan and I dine with Paul and his father. Paul and his wife Kelli have been to visit our house in Nashville on numerous occasions, and Susan and I have visited their home in Illinois. Paul and I have even traveled together to race tracks on “guy’s weekends” when Susan could not go.

Since More Front Wing went dormant in October of 2014, I have welcomed him here to guest-blog whenever there was something he wanted to get off of his chest pertaining to IndyCar. He has been flirting with the idea of returning to the IndyCar blogosphere for well over a year, and the itch must have gotten too great for him. Today, he has launched his new IndyCar blog and for the first time in his ten-plus year blogging career – he is going completely solo.

So now that you’ve finished reading this, go check out Paul’s new site, The Field of 33, at fieldof33.com. I will let him tell you about his new site, but one thing to know – Paul always had excellent podcasts associated with his sites, and that will continue. But just because there is another choice for IndyCar blogs, please remember – I’m still here too.

George Phillips

6 Responses to “The Field of 33”

  1. Thanks for the shout out. It’s great to have Paul back. I’ve missed his insights. Heading right over to his new site..

  2. BrandonWright77 Says:

    Excellent news! This blog is a favorite of mine because it gives personal insight and opinion, not just regurgitated news that all of the mainstream sites post. So having Paul back to give more of that personal insight and opinion is great news.

    Now if only we could get George to be a regular guest on this podcast of Paul’s…that would be required listening.

  3. billytheskink Says:

    Good news everybody!

  4. Chris Lukens Says:

    Good to see him back and I’ve added his site to my fav’s list.
    Now, if only we could get Pressdog back.

  5. I thank you for blogging, George.

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