Keeping it Off The Wall

A departing diplomat
Ed Donath
June 16, 2000

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Regardless of what you may have thought about Andrew Craig, newly resigned CEO of CART, you have to feel somewhat saddened by his departure. Personally, I always thought Craig to be the consummate diplomat in his chief public role as series spokesman. My only philosophical disagreement with Craig was over the ineffectual, self-degrading manner in which he participated in reunification "negotiations" with Tony George in 1999. 

In plain English, Craig allowed the Inheritor to use him like a doormat. I will never understand his subsequent cheer leading regarding the gap in the 2000 CART schedule that enabled Chip Ganassi - and anyone else - to stage an Indy one-off.

But plain English - the King's English, at that - was always Craig's forte. His pronouncements on major and minor subjects and decisions alike were always crisp, official sounding and straight to the point. He never wavered, either, when the follow-up questions were asked.

Of late, when I have seen Andrew Craig in person, I have commented to close associates about the change in his appearance. He has not looked healthy to me (I am an intuitively linked fellow 51-year-old) and my question to myself has been: is Craig "sick" or is the multi-directional pressure and pulling of the CART Board and its stockholders aging this poor chap before his time?

How many successful programs would Andrew Craig have implemented had he been able to act independently? We'll never know. We can all congratulate the departing Andrew Craig for helping our beloved speed sport to become a truly global entity. We must credit him for his efforts in assisting the CART Corporation to become well funded by virtue of its public ownership. 

Regardless of what you may have thought about Andrew Craig you can acknowledge that he has been a true diplomat. My guess is that in the end he was just too diplomatic for his own good. 

"Feel the speed", Andrew Craig - Godspeed.

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