INDIANAPOLIS — What a roller coaster ride of emotions that my mind has been through the last few days. That is the best description of how my feelings and my mind has went through since Thursday. That was the day that my dreams were shattered, you know.
It was the afternoon that I got the devastating news that I wasn’t going to be able to cover the 104th Running of the Indianapolis 500 in person. I wasn’t alone at least. The company of misery was great. That’s why I wrote that heartfelt post that night. I knew that 99-percent of us in this world of ours, weren’t going to be able to walk or drive through those gates at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this month to witness another year of history. Your pain, I felt it. Reality set in.
I was done.
While I said that I could cover the race at home, that option was on the table, I just felt like if I did, I would do the fans, the teams, the drivers, track and my family a disservice. It wasn’t going to feel right to put my whole heart into this, so all those posts that I had already wrote and more to come, was just going to get scrapped.
I detailed that then. Without being at an IndyCar race this season at all and likely not all year now, the personal interaction with these teams, drivers and tracks was gone. How could I give you the fans, the best accurate coverage but with my hub being my living room, not a media center or press box?
The news came around 4:30 p.m. ET. The post was published at 9:30 p.m. ET. Then, as I was getting ready to lay my disappointed head on my pillow for the last time of a heartbreaking day at 11 p.m. ET, my whole world changed.
I received a couple of messages that blew me away. I will leave who those messages were from as well as the contents of the messages private, between the people and I, because I’m not one to kiss and tell. But, lets just say that they have a very large influence and say in this great series that we love and felt like I needed to be there.
Just before 11 a.m. ET on Friday, the news cycle did a 180 from 4:30 p.m. the day prior. I received an email that I was now confirmed to be at Indy not just for race day, but for every day. With me living less than 40 minutes from that great track, I’ll now be there everyday starting on Wednesday morning covering the “Greatest Specatacle in Racing” and everything leading up to it.
Blew me away. Those great people that felt my coverage valuable and needed to be there meant more to me than anything else in my professional career. It was humbling to say the least. I am forever in debt to them. It also should show you all that this series has the best interest in you, the fans, that they care that my voice can represent you in the biggest sporting event in the world.
I know now that I will have the most pressure on me in my entire journalism career over these next two weeks to give you all the content that you deserve, but also be the voice of you. I do truly feel like I can do that best than most of those big sites because we have that connection that they may not have with you. I’m a race fan at heart. While I have no fandom to any certain driver, I checked that at the door in 2011, I care so deeply for racing and can relate to how each race fan feels and what they’d want.
Why I feel the pressure is, the stands will be empty and I want to do an accurate job of portraying what’s going on inside of those gates at 16th and Georgetown over the next two weeks, but know my voice won’t be as loud because I don’t want to be that ‘look at me and how lucky I am to be here’ guy. That’s not why I’m there. I feel terrible that I’m there and you’re not. I know it hurts and the pain you feel and I’ll be cognizant of that.
But, the same coverage that you’ve always had for past Month of May’s here, I’ll bring it. I’ll bring it better than I’ve ever brought with a subdued tone to not rub it in. I’m there for you. If not for you and all of your support, I wouldn’t be who I am today.
So, I thank you. I thank IndyCar. I’m beaming with joy and can’t wait for you to read what I have in store.
For the 32nd time in the 34 years of my life, the last nine being in the media center, I’ll be at the Indy 500!