Uncensored CART Commentary|
by Ed Donath
Sons and Grandsons
"I sat back and watched Dad, and I think he really missed that he's not directly involved with racing after
he's out of the seat," said Michael Andretti at the recent press conference where he officially announced his
intention to become part owner of the outfit that currently employs him — Team Green.
"I started thinking, ‘You know, I just don't want to stay involved but I want to be actively involved with
the sport.’ So, a couple of years ago already, I started thinking when I am retired, I'd really like to stay
involved in ownership. So that's where the thought process started. As Barry [Green] said, we started talking
the end of last year; I brought it up to him. It started as a casual conversation and it turned into this…"
Of course, the this that Andretti’s casual conversation turned into — whether Mikey meant for it to pan out
this way or not — will be a nearly year-long period of speculation that will revolve not so much around how
Andretti the Younger will spend his retirement years, but whether CART will go bust as a result of a surge to
power, glory and popularity of the rival Indy Racing League.
Such an ascendancy of the IRL would certainly be credited, for the most part, to the migration of such
open-wheel racing notables as Michael Andretti, Roger Penske and his team of former CART superstars and the
dreaded two-headed Japanese monster, Hon-Toy. The latter easily devoured its would-be nemesis Infinissan
telepathically without even flexing a muscle.
So, will Andretti really be jumping ship…other than to run himself and/or another driver at Indy?
"My heart is with CART. I love CART. I love the series. I love the format. But the question is: ‘Is it too
late?’ I cannot answer that. I don't have a crystal ball."
Nor do any of us peons on the sidelines have crystal balls, Mikey. Nonetheless, most of us — especially
if we ever found ourselves in the unlikely and enviable position of not really needing the money — would opt
to do precisely what we profess to love.
Unfortunately, no one resembles that “do what thou professeth to love” remark any better than the guy
responsible for this whole mess — the inheritor of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The grandson has made a
cottage industry, if not a career, out of doing it his way in the name of love for open-wheel racing with
the copious amounts of cash he noticed lying around the house one morning.
That is not to say that Michael Andretti was also born with a silver spoon around his neck. He has literally
risked life and limb 299 times in our beloved speed sport in order to follow — admirably — in the footsteps of
dear old Dad. All the more reason for Michael to now do whatever is possible for as long as possible to help
perpetuate what will ultimately be not only his birthright but his and Mario’s legacy.
“I think CART at the moment is in a very important time,” Michael opined. “It's a critical time right now
and the jury's out on whether it's going to be positive or negative. I think we have to wait and see. I think
Pook has been working on a lot of very positive things. Now we have to wait and see how they play out.”
CART President/CEO Christopher R. Pook responds: “Michael and the Andretti family have been an integral part
of Champ Car racing history, and we intend to do everything that we can to aid Michael in his new venture. We
value Michael's presence in the CART FedEx Championship Series as well as that of Team KOOL Green and we hope
that we can continue what has been a very strong relationship."
It sounds like Grandpa will be pulling out all the stops to convince the Andrettis and Greens to stick
around and grow older with him. But so will the infamous grandson on the other side of town. No one needs
a crystal ball to accurately predict that part of the saga.
Copyright © 2002 by Ed Donath and Deep Throttle. All Rights Reserved.
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