Don’t Believe Everything He Says


By Susan Phillips 

Note from George: It’s been a while since my wife, Susan, posted anything on here. I mentioned that to her over Father’s Day weekend. Whenever she writes something here I don’t tell her what to say, nor do I make her change anything that I don’t agree with. Today is one of those times when I don’t agree with everything she has written, but I’m happy for the break and she can post whatever she wants. – GP

I know that everyone is looking forward to all of the IndyCar racing that will be coming at us over the next few weekends in July, but no one is as excited about it as I am. It’s not because I’m the biggest race fan out there—but I will enjoy watching them. It’s because George will finally get back to what makes him happy in the summer.

I know he claims that he didn’t go through any May withdrawals, but don’t believe him. I cannot tell you how many times I went through our den in May, only to see him sitting in his easy chair watching some grainy You Tube video of some race 40-50 years ago. What should have been race weekend, he spent pressure-washing and staining a fence, but each night of Memorial Day weekend was spent watching old races on You Tube.

Since he’s been good about taking on major household projects on weekends during this off time, I let him have his time in May for his video “therapy” and gave up my TV binge-watching of shows that he considers crap—but he was as addicted as I was to watch all three seasons of Ozark back in April.

He would never admit it, but this down time for IndyCar has really gotten to him. When Texas ran, he did nothing that day besides focus on the race. He watched practice and qualifying and then the race all day long. He showered between practice and qualifying and we ordered a pizza that got here just before the pre-race show started. Then he got up early Sunday morning to write his Oilpressure article on the race. That weekend was when he seemed more like himself than he has since the St. Pete race was cancelled.

It’s good that he never spent one single day working from home. His job is considered essential and he worked full days every day, sometimes even 12-hour days. That’s good, because I was pulled off the road by my job for about 6-7 weeks, so I was home every day. I think if we had both been home together all that time, we may have killed each other.

The uncertainty about the rest of the season is driving him crazy!! He’ll never admit it, but when they announced no fans for the Grand Prix weekend, it was real blow to him. The thought that we would be in Indy just a few weeks after Memorial Day gave him a boost. He was already talking about going to Dawson’s, Charlie Brown’s and the gift shop at the track. He was still hoping that his IndyCar hard card would allow him to be onsite to cover the race, but that was shot down earlier this week.

We are still going forward with our plans for Road America. George is scared to death that the other shoe is going to drop and that something will be announced at the last minute that prevents us from being at the track. If that happens, we’re going anyway.

When they changed the date, we were lucky that no one acted very quickly on rebooking hotels. We usually stay in either Sheboygan or Fond du Lac, when we go to Road America. Sheboygan is about 25 miles from the track, while Fond du Lac is about 35 miles. We were able to get in a resort hotel in Elkhart Lake, overlooking the lake where I can use some of my hotel points. It’s only 3 miles to the track. If we are not allowed to attend, we’re still going. We have a nice place to stay and we’ll just use it as a relaxing long weekend. But I know that would kill George.

What’s really eating him up is when he sees something on Facebook where someone says that the Indy 500 won’t run with fans. He has been saying all along that it will run with fans in August. He’s not just sticking his neck out and hoping it’s true. He really and truly believes it. Most people (even his close friends) disagree with him, but he is adamant about it. He presents a very convincing argument that I couldn’t begin to remember, but it makes sense.

For his sake and mine, I hope it does run in August and that we get to go. He doesn’t want it to be pushed into October, because he thinks too much can happen by then to prevent it from running at all. If the virus prevents the Indy 500 from running or prevents us from attending, I dread the rest of the year—especially if there’s no football this fall.

I’m not suggesting that he’ll start throwing things or get violent if the race doesn’t run or if we don’t get to go; but he will not be pleasant to live with. Since we reconnected after our college days almost twenty years ago, I know how much he lives for his month of May. When it was taken away, he tried to be positive and act like it was no big deal to postpone it a few months—but I know him. I know how lost he felt in May and I also know how much the uncertainty is eating away at him.

George is a planner. I’ve never known anyone who hates being in limbo more than he does. If I tell him we are having chicken for dinner and then at the last minute tell him we’re having spaghetti, it drives him nuts because he has spent all day setting his stomach for chicken. If he can’t stand having plans change on that level, imagine what he is going through not knowing if the Indy 500 will even run, or if we will be there.

He maintains for me that he is 100% confident that we will be going. I think if he had doubts, he would at least confide those doubts with me—he’s pretty open like that with me. I have to admit, I’m not quite as optimistic as he is. I think it has a good chance of running, but I’ll allow some doubt to creep in and think there is a chance it won’t. If that happens, he’ll be absolutely devastated. It won’t be because he’ll have everyone else telling him “I told you so”. Instead, it will be because something he is so passionate about will have been postponed and ultimately taken away.

He’s mentally tough—possibly the toughest (and most stubborn) I’ve ever met—and he’ll eventually get over it. But it will take a while and it won’t be pleasant while he does.

12 Responses to “Don’t Believe Everything He Says”

  1. Our thoughts are with you during this tough time Susan. 😄

  2. Big Mac Says:

    I wish there was a fourth option in the poll: running with fans, but in significantly reduced numbers. Technically, that’s running with fans, but I don’t think that running the “500” with (just to make up a number) 30,000 fans is what George has in mind by “running with fans.” As I’ve been saying for some time now, I wouldn’t find running with a significantly limited number of fans too surprising, and that now seems to be the most likely option. As we know, Iowa plans to run with limited numbers of fans, but just how limited is not clear. We got some more info yesterday, when New Hampshire Motor Speedway announced that they’re going to run their Aug. 2 NASCAR event at 35 percent of capacity. They also say that they’re going to maintain “social distancing in the grandstands.” I don’t see how to maintain six feet of distance in all directions while operating at 35 percent, but we will see.

  3. James T Suel Says:

    Well I think from what you have told us, George has handled no month may well. Iam doing my best to keep believing the 500 will run in August. The news of rising cases of covit19 does not help. For me this was the first month of may without the speedway since 1960 my first. I also have watched every 500 from the past I can find. I have all the programs from 1946 on and have reread most of them. When ever it runs there will be fans!!

  4. The thought that George was disappointed because he “spent all day setting his stomach for chicken” made me laugh.

    I also hope they run the 500 with fans, but I’m not optimistic that any sports will complete a season this year.

  5. S0CSeven Says:

    I feel that Indy will open with full fan access but:

    Young people who feel they are immune to the virus will go. They probably feel that even if they get the virus it’ll go away like a bad cold.
    The elderly (like me) figure that if we get the virus we’re dead so we’ll have to have a really long think about going and probably opt to stay home.

    Social distancing made easy.

  6. And we have late-breaking news:

    So they’re planning to run at 50% of capacity. Again, it will be interesting to see how they plan to do that.

  7. billytheskink Says:

    I’m rooting for the 500 to run with fans for your and George’s sake as well. Looks like they have some new ideas on running at reduced capacity.

    I’ve had plans for 4 races cancelled or postponed by COVID-19 and I’m not handling that as well as I’d like. Again, there are more important things here, but it is hard to pretend like this is anything but terribly un-fun.

  8. Susan, sort of the same here.

    my wife is working from home, too.
    i have worked from home since 2015.

    if i die this year, Corona didn’t do it.

  9. Bruce B Says:

    does George have any knowledge of practice/qualifying days? fans allowed? Will there be guaranteed spots for the regulars? are we qualifying 33 cars predetermined for 33 spots. This year is an anomaly so anything is possible…..

  10. Yannick Says:

    Please make sure to check beforehand if bloggers are allowed in the media center this year, as only a reduced number of people may be allowed in there as well, and the pros, well, they will have to work their jobs there.

    I’m glad you and George are OK. Here’s hoping the same goes for the other 2 people who have regularly appeared on over the years, John McL and Paul Dalbey.

    All the best.

  11. If you got in to Siebkens or the Osthaus you are pretty lucky and should go regardless .

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: