Giving Thanks

There's a lot to be thankful for in the IndyCar Series, this year and beyond.

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Giving Thanks
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It's that time of year when we take more opportunities to fondly reflect on the significant events and people in our lives, for a display of gratitude that can warm our weathered souls during the cold winter months. The past month has been a busy one for the Verizon IndyCar Series, with purposeful beginnings and poignant endings dominating the motorsport news headlines.


Racing fans around the world, who tune in every year to watch the Indianapolis 500 in May, will no longer hear the same enthusiastic command for the drivers to "start their engines." That's because Mari Hulman George, the woman who became famous for those traditional four words, passed away on November 3rd at the age of 83.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway Chairman of the Board Emeritus was her official title, but many people---within the racing community and outside of it---have paid their respects by sharing personal memories of a woman who went far above and beyond any formal responsibilities. She loved IMS and helped make it into the world-class facility it is today. She loved racing and treated everyone, regardless of race or gender, equally. She genuinely loved helping others, and her various charitable foundations is a testament to that.

Long before the online social media obsession, Mari Hulman George gained a tremendous amount of followers for doing what she loves, sharing that love with many others, and doing it humbly. Her achievements in life will undoubtedly be an inspiration for generations to come.


IndyCar fans around the world can be thankful for the formation of IndyCar Media, which will be responsible for securing international licensing deals and controlling the way television coverage is distributed in various countries. The series has helped support its global expansion, throughout the year, by uploading classic race broadcasts and current race replays to its social media channels for free.

For those who have been following the series for decades, there is renewed hope that we could see a return to circuits outside of the United States. With an upcoming visit by Mark Miles, CEO of Hulman and Company, to Surfers Paradise in Australia, the possibility of a return to the Gold Coast is becoming even more tantalizing. A recent announcement by Marcelo Crivella, mayor of Rio de Janeiro, of a planned street circuit race in 2020 has so far been denied by representatives at IndyCar.


The McLaren-IndyCar project has been reborn from the fiery ashes of internet speculation. The official announcement confirmed that Fernando Alonso will be the lead driver for their return to the Indy 500 in 2019.

While many racing fans are thankful that they'll still get to see Alonso in an open-cockpit car, after he leaves F1 at the end of this season, there are still many details that have yet to be released regarding their efforts. Bob Fernley, formerly of Force India, will be at the helm and gives further credence to a more consistent McLaren team presence in IndyCar, rather than a one race collaboration with a more established competing team.


The extent of Robert Wickens' injuries and length of rehabilitation has been made clearer by none other than the man himself. Wickens is sharing his determined journey to walk again on his social media pages, and we are all very thankful that we get to witness his progression. What makes us even happier is the fact that the Canadian driver has apparently lost none of his trademark positivity and playfulness! Strengthening the muscles in his legs, so he can get back behind the wheel of a racecar again, is almost as impressive as the mental and emotional strength it must take to find humor in such a challenging condition. He continues to be an inspiration for all (able-bodied and physically challenged), and we continue to wish him a speedy recovery!

His absence has opened the door for Marcus Ericsson to leave F1 and join the IndyCar Series with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports in 2019, alongside James Hinchcliffe. Ericsson will likely find that he needs to be as quick with his witty responses as he does with his driving next year.


We should all be very thankful for the opportunity to witness two open-wheel aces, from different series, win their 5th titles in the same year!

The argument can be made that ScottDixon (38 years old) and Lewis Hamilton (33) have raised their illustrious bars of achievement even higher this year. Their dominating victories and measured consistency has probably made it look pretty easy to the uninformed. The rest know just how special their accomplishments are.

Perhaps it's the consistency of the personnel around them, the confidence that comes from experience, or the tranquility of life outside of racing that has helped them see the bigger picture all season long and devote their efforts entirely to that singular goal.

Both men have a very good chance of adding a 6th championship to their trophy cabinets in the near future, but they are well aware that the competition is growing in number and also in their determination to beat them.

We can all be very thankful for that too!

Thanks for reading and Happy Thanksgiving to all who plan to celebrate this week!

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