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Keeping It Off the Wall
by Ed Donath

A Fleeting Thought

Cumberland, TN—In 1996 I made a promise – and put it in writing – that from that moment forward I would never support the Inheritor of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in any manner. Never again would I pay any attention to his dumbed-down IRL or the Indy 500 that I had adored since my childhood and had attended for decades. Some 26 years later, I'm one of the CART devotees who made the promise in 1996 and actually kept it.

After attending the post-split US 500 I turned my commentary writing from socio-political editorials to CART subject matter and began submitting pro-CART/anti-IRL Keeping It Off The Wall rants to websites like 7thgear, Autoracing1 and Deep Throttle. The late Chris Economaki put a few of my longer CART essays into his National Speed Sport News and Jeremy Shaw, then editor of the Racer Magazine spin-off Champ Car, gave me a tiny column.

When I was surfing through TV channels on a Sunday afternoon and accidentally landed on an Earl broadcast I'd hit the NEXT CHANNEL button as quickly as possible. My quick channel-change prowess later paid off when Barack Obama lectures were all over TV every day.

When you get to be my age, fleeting thoughts pop into your head. Much of what you think about is fleeting because short-term memory declines with age. Well, today I had a fleeting thought about attending an Indycar Series race in Nashville, Tennessee which is only an hour or so from our home if you stand on the gas hard enough.

For nearly 40 years I lived in the Catskill Mountains in upstate New York. I rarely missed attending CART races that were "close" to home -- the closest CART race venue to my home was the temporary circuit at the Meadowlands complex in New Jersey just across the river from New York City. Meadowlands only ran a few years. When it ended, the closest-to-home event was in Nazareth, PA nearly 4 hours from home.

Considerably longer road trips were frequently made to somewhat close events in Cleveland, Mid-Ohio, Michigan and Belle Isle, New Hampshire, Road America and, of course, Toronto.

My crazy fleeting thought about Nashville was that since the Inheritor has been out of the picture for years and Roger Penske – one of the founders of CART in 1979 – has taken over the series and the Speedway, and it's no longer called the IRL and since they will be bringing so much revenue into my adopted state, perhaps attending an open-wheel race closer to home than ever before would be therapeutic for an old methanol freak like me.

Like I said, it was a fleeting thought. I chose to stick to long-term CART memories and limit my open-wheel race watching to Youtube reruns from the good old days. By the way, octogenarian Roger Penske was about my age when he had the fleeting thought to buy out the Inheritor.

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