Indianapolis 500 Preview

Life can throw curveballs sometimes. I didn’t really go into much detail about it, but Susan did not do well at IMS for Qualifications last weekend. Her health has deteriorated since January and has been in a steep decline since April. Her problem is fatigue and now weakness. She overdid it on Fast Friday and stayed at the hotel all day Saturday. She sat in the media center all day Sunday, mostly with her head on her desk.

Added to the problem is that she has not been a good patient. For whatever reason, she has been reluctant to call her doctors. She thought she could push through whatever was going on and it would go away. We have had more than one heated discussion on that topic.

It all came to a head on Monday night. She was so weak that she could not even walk to the bathroom without my help. Tuesday, I took her to the ER and they admitted her to the hospital. They did a battery of tests on her and found a lot of things that should have been treated a month earlier. She is anemic, she had a currently unidentified infection, continuously high fever, her electrolytes are completely out of whack and her autoimmune disorder (Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis – a by-product of her chemo in 2020) is attacking her liver. They also did a liver biopsy on Thursday. As I type this from her hospital room on Thursday night, we are hopeful that she will be discharged Friday morning.

The good news is that she is feeling much better. She was already feeling 100% better, but they gave her a blood transfusion on Thursday afternoon and she now feels like she could run a marathon. That might be a slight exaggeration, but she no longer looks like the frail person that was admitted on Tuesday.

On that fearful day, I was certain there was no way she could go to the Indianapolis 500 this weekend. I wasn’t even sure if I was going. When I suggested that I might stay home, she yelled at me and insisted I go. She said she would never forgive herself if her staying home to rest up, prevented me from going. This is why other men are jealous of my marriage. So I was planning on driving up to Indianapolis – alone.

But as life throws curveballs, it can also throw a changeup. She has improved so much that what was unthinkable earlier this week, now looks likely. Her doctor has given her the OK to go, so long as she doesn’t over do things. Of course, that’s assuming she is discharged on Friday. If so, we will hop in the car and head north. It’s good that rain is in the forecast for Friday. I think there is a good chance the Friday practice won’t even run. So we will roll into town sometime Friday night and won’t feel like we missed out on track activity. Even if we do, so what?

UPDATE: At 11:00 AM CDT (Friday)…Mrs. Oilpressure was told she is being released this afternoon. We will be in Indianapolis tonight!

FURTHER UPDATE:  Susan was discharged at 2:00 pm CDT on Friday. An hour later, her doctor called while we were at Walgreen’s getting her prescriptions filled. They said her pathology report had shown she has an abscess in her liver that required constant observation. We needed to take her back to the hospital and re-admit her. As predicted, Susan said she would be (ticked-off) if I didn’t go. So we went home, got my luggage that was already packed, repacked her bag and took her to the hospital. Of course, it was an hour and a half before she got into her room. I stayed with her until she was settled into her room and met her nurses. I then hit the road and rolled into Indianapolis around midnight Friday night.

Susan feels much better, and is not happy to be back in there, just after they discharged her. Had she looked like she did on Tuesday, I probably would not have gone. But I know she’s much better, so I obeyed her wishes and came on up. Some will think that’s horrible on my part, but they don’t know Susan.

With all that being said, there is a race to be run this weekend.

It has been said by me and many others that last weekend was a strange qualifying weekend. Consequently, it is a strange starting grid for Sunday’s 106th Running of the Indianapolis 500. The front row is no surprise, except that it is now the fastest front row in the history of this race. In fact, there are no real surprises in the first four rows. No car is in those first twelve spots, as a fluke.

It’s Row Five where things get interesting. I don’t think many people would have put Josef Newgarden starting in the middle of Row Five, nor do I think many had rookie David Malukas of Dale Coyne Racing out-qualifying Newgarden by one spot. I have to say that JR Hildebrand starting in the middle of Row Six is a present surprise. That’s not a knock on Hildebrand, it’s just the reality of any driver in the third car at AJ Foyt Enterprises.

I would expect all of Row Seven to be disappointed to be starting back there. Rookie Callum Ilott has shown well all season. Alexander Rossi was slated to start seventeenth, but he withdrew his time and will start twentieth. Graham Rahal out-qualified his teammates, but that’s not saying much. They were the two slowest qualified cars in the field, just in front of the “No Time” car of Stefan Wilson on the last row.

Row Nine is one for the books. I can’t remember that much talent in such fast cars, that far back in the grid. Colton Herta sits on the inside of of Row Nine. Many considered him a threat for the pole and an early favorite to win the race. He can still do it, but it’ll be a lot harder back there. Scott McLaughlin’s fast start to the season may slow down, if the second-year driver can’t navigate his way to the front. Dropping from fifteenth to twenty-sixth, after withdrawing his qualifying time in order to make a second run may haunt him on Sunday. Four-time winner Helio Castroneves sits on the outside of Row Nine.

What will be the signature moment of this Indianapolis 500? Each of them has one. Last year’s was the winning pass of Helio Castroneves on Alex Palou, and his climbing the fence as he joined the four-time winner’s club. I could be wrong, but I think Helio’s Drive for Five may have to wait at least one more year. He has not had the speed this month that many expected. Will that carry over to Sunday, or will he find new life on Race Day?

If you watched One Take Only on this site, back almost three weeks ago (Monday May 9); you heard me pick Scott Dixon to win Sunday’s race. My logic then was that Dixon was quietly operating under the radar, but no one was really paying attention to him. With Alex Palou winning the championship last year and leading the points heading into the GMR Grand Prix – Dixon was no longer in the Chip Ganassi Racing spotlight.

After setting the second-fastest qualifying time in history on Sunday, no one is ignoring Scott Dixon. I think the way he lost last year’s race, by an early ill-timed yellow, still stings. Plus, as he nears the end of his outstanding career – he knows his legacy demands him to be a multiple winner of the Indianapolis 500. I think on Sunday, it all comes together for him. So my prediction is that Scott Dixon will win the 2022 Indianapolis 500. We’ll see.

George Phillips

Please Note: Normally, I post throughout Race Weekend for the Indianapolis 500. We already know that we will not be at the track on Friday. Legends Day has been curtailed to almost nothing. My brother and I will go to the museum on Saturday, but that will be all we do and there is really no reason to post about that.

If Susan is semi-normal on Sunday, I will post here sometime Sunday morning and again after the race. If I post nothing, you’ll know I’m busy taking care of her. If you follow me on Twitter at @Oilpressureblog, I will relay how things are going with her. If things are going well, give her a follow also at @MrsOilpressure.

9 Responses to “Indianapolis 500 Preview”

  1. OliverW Says:

    I’m glad Susan yelled at you to go as that shows some strength still there. Please don’t overdo it Susan. Otherwise I hope you both have a great weekend. I can’t wait !

  2. SkipinSC Says:

    After Susan’s Facebook post Wednesday, Kathy and I were both concerned as to her health, though she really didn’t disclose much . Please know that our thoughts and prayers are with the two of you, regardless. Hopefully, you can enjoy your trip to Indy, but please do not overdo it.

  3. Thinking of you both today and this weekend, and hoping for a fast discharge for Susan today. I hope we still get a chance to meet up and say “hi”, at some point.

  4. Much love to you and Susan. Hoping that she is released today and you can both head to the place you love so much.

  5. So thankful Susan is feeling so much better. Look forward to seeing you both! Take it easy Susan.

  6. billytheskink Says:

    Very glad to hear that Susan is feeling better and getting taken care of. You all have a good time at the race and safe travels this weekend. I know you’ll make sure Susan doesn’t over-do it, George.

    In recent years a contender who started mid-pack seems to emerge in the last 50-60 laps. I’ll be curious to see if that happens again this year. I’m rooting for Rahal as usual. Let’s keep all of the wheels on this year, please…

  7. That’s great news to hear about Susan bouncing back. Have a great time at the race on Sunday.

  8. I am so relieved that Susan is doing better. Enjoy your weekend. I look forward to your postings about the race.

  9. Yannick Says:

    All the best to both of you and a good recovery for Susan.

    And a good ad safe race for everybody at the track.

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