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DATE News (chronologically)
01/17/11
irl
IndyCar: A reader remembers, and hopes  A reader writes, Dear AR1.com, Over the holidays I found myself pondering all that has transpired in American Open Wheeled racing in recent years.  Thankfully, the long war over the spilt of IndyCar racing had ended...and yet it seemed that the end of the war was, in fact, the beginning of a new battle and that battle has been to restore IndyCar racing to where it once was.  To that end, Randy Bernard has certainly answered the call to battle and finally, strides are being made toward the goal of returning IndyCar racing to the forefront of American motorsports.

I wanted to remind myself of how it used to be...back when Indycars were the preeminent form of American motorsport.  There was a day when, in the typical American sports page, "racing" did not automatically mean "Nascar".  IndyCar used to be really big and thanks to the Internet, one has to look no further than YouTube to see that there was a time when the stands were full, the grids lined with respected and familiar names, and the machines that we being raced were exciting, varied and well sponsored.  The television package that season saw the first seven events of the year on a major network (ABC and CBS) as the first race of that season to be on ESPN was not until Portland which was round eight.

The season that I am referring to is 1995 and for anyone who is unaware of how it used to be...I would recommend viewing the races, in order, as I did, starting with Miami.  The racing was just plain fantastic.  The broadcasts were first rate.  If one is unfamiliar with how good CART used to be...just take a look.  Miami ( a full house, exciting race) was followed by Surfers (the '95 race was an absolute classic).  The ovals, Phoenix, Nazareth and Indy were excellent.  The crowds were huge as each of the venues appeared to be standing room only.  There was a ton of passing, even in Detroit and Long Beach (the  Long Beach circuit used back then turned right for turn one and that lay out was much better than the current one).

Another realization I had from re watching these events was how great the battles were among the big names .  Al Unser Jr.,  Michael Andretti and Paul Tracy were all at the top of their game. If one is not familiar with how good Robbie Gordon, Scott Pruett and Jimmy Vassar were back in the day...I suggest you just watch them battle with Villeneuve, Fabi, both Fittipaldis and Gugelmin...not to mention de Ferran and Fernandez...two rookies that season who really made an impact.  Re watch the '95 Indy 500 to see Pruett and Scott Goodyear battle...the laps leading up to the final caution for Pruett's crash....when he was "all in" and going for it,  were in a word,  fantastic.  It is truly the moment when IndyCar was the best....and it is where we, as fans, hope that the series will one day return. (although the officiating during the '95  500 was certainly alarming)

We all know what happened later that year when Tony George made his "unfortunate" decision to form the IRL.  Instead of reliving what went wrong...relive when it was all right....choose any of those races from the 1995 season and see how it used to be and lets hope that we can be back to where we once belonged. J. Callanan
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