“Reunited, and it feels so good!” NOT!

Peaches and Herb had a hit record many years ago when I was a kid entitled Reunited and It Feels So Good. I grew up in a lakeside resort town in southern Ohio, and the jukebox in one of the dance halls at the lake used to blare out that song. I got to the point where I was sick of hearing it. I heard it again recently on the radio, and, this time, what came to my mind (after all those pleasant memories of girl watching on the beach in back of my parents’ house) was the recent reunification of the Indy Racing League and the rival Champ Car circuit.

Along with the local resort, the beach bunnies, the Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Browns, ball card collecting, DC comics, and my collection of Civil War toy soldiers, my other big passion as a kid was open wheel racing. I rooted for Johnny Rutherford (“Lonestar J.R.”), Al Unser Sr. (my favorite driver of all time), and Mario Andretti. I used to root against A. J. Foyt, Jr., Tom Sneva, and Gordon Johncock. Indy cars were a passion, and I even made a cardboard Indianapolis Motor Speedway to play with my Hot Wheels. Matchbox, and Johnny Lightning cars. I even made up rules for qualifications and actual races.

Years later, I enjoyed playing the Avalon Hill USAC Indy 500 racing game, which was eerily similar to my larger home-made cardboard game from my youth. I still have the collector cards that came with this AH classic game. For me, Indy car racing dropped off my radar not long after the retirements of Danny Sullivan, Bobby Rahal, Rick Mears, Al Sr., Arie Luyendyk, and other notables. Sure, I really enjoyed Al Under Jr. and Michael Andretti, but not long afterwards, the series split and I couldn’t get into the likes of Buddy Rice, Buddy Lazier, Eddie Cheever, Paul Tracy, and Nigel  Mansell. I gradually became (gasp!) a fan of NASCAR.

Now, the series is reunited, but honestly, it doesn’t feel so good yet. While the warring and bickering is over, the damage may be irreparable. I don’t know if Indy racing will ever be the same again.

Servio, Power, Patrick, Kanaan, Dixon, Wheldon — OK, I guess, but I miss Al and Bobby, Mario, Gordon, and even crusty old A. J.  Only time will tell if the popularity comes back. Perhaps a win by Danica Patrick might restore some of the media attention?

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2 thoughts on ““Reunited, and it feels so good!” NOT!

  1. Darrel Rodger

    WOW – does that game bring back some early college day memories.

    I remember picking this game up very cheap from my local Game Store years ago and did a 10 race season with some friends of mine during our summer break.

    Still, I have to say, it runs a second place to the Formula DE season I participated in. The different F1 tracks just made for a more interesting racing season, than the Indy oval track did.

    Cheers
    Darrel Rodger

  2. Dan Marshall

    Scott–unbelievable! From New Orleans, I enjoyed road tripping with my best friend (Joe Cruse) and his family to see numerous 500s from 1984 – 1997. My driver was Rutherford and Joe loved Ongais and Brabham (talk about names from the past). The split has definitely hurt the sport, but we’ve continued to support by now bringing our wives/children when we can.

    Anyway, as kids/teens, Joe and I (and Joe’s brother John) painted these 33 plastic USAC cars in the colors of the drivers from the program lineup, and enjoyed racing the “series” on the oval AND on road courses we “designed” on poster board (including Elkhart Lake and Portland). We also had a points system to win the championship.

    Thanks for bringing back more wonderful memories. Dan Marshall

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