Before the beginning of the 2017 IndyCar season, I published an op-ed called, Marco Needs Mentoring? Marco Needs a Dayjob. I explained why it was WAY past due for Marco Andretti to continue participation in the top North American open-wheel series — and how he was the poster child for “the Lucky Sperm Club.” It got a lot of attention, both positive and negative, but hey, that’s how I earn a living and feed my kids. Consider that Marco has won two races – out of 193 starts! He did post a top-6 this year at Texas. Of course only seven cars finished the race, as the guys running up front took themselves out.
Several days after that story published, I found a dead crow on the side of the road. I took it home with me, packed it up neatly in a zip-lock bag and put it in my freezer — just in case I had to grill it up and eat it. So far, several races into the 2017 IndyCar season, and all I can do with that dead bird is pound nails. Thanks Marco! Noticeably though, the wife and kids are not too happy with the dead bird next to the chicken nuggets in the freezer, but they have a loose understanding of their father’s resolve, and somehow look past it.
Considering all of the Kathy Griffin and Ted Nugent news in the mass media in the past few weeks, perhaps the haters (and I seem to have developed a few — thanks for reading!) can be self-justified calling me an “agitator” or even bat-s**t-crazy. However, in my opinion, I think I might be looking more like a truth teller. Some time has passed since that original harsh assessment of Marco’s failing racing career, and having now observed it for even longer into the youngest Andretti’s eleventh season, it is time to create a hashtag: #RetireMarco. For that matter, there is another that I have created that may be worthy for some kind of motivation for the third-generation driver: #EatTheCrow.
I am not big on hashtags, but what I am big on is seeing the best drivers racing in the country’s top series. The lucky-sperm t-shirt bearer really needs to vacate the seat, as he is undoubtedly beyond hope. Of course we all know he won’t. What else has he got to do? I guess he can wander around his 15,000 square foot Nazareth, Pennsylvania mansion pondering how blessed he is to have the last name that God bestowed on him — without any of the ambition, drive, or skill of his ancestors. He can go shopping with his estimated $20MM bank account, he could probably cut the lawn on his riding tractor and pretend that he is the fastest guy on the property, but I am sure has has migrant landscapers to take care of that too.
The funniest thing I have heard in the past couple of years, which is clearly the brain-child of some PR person at Andretti: “Driver Slumber Parties.” Are you kidding me? Perhaps this is cute for a few current IndyCar drivers who seemingly cry every time they have to go three wide into a corner at a fast oval… Now imagine this: a “slumber party” back in the day, with A.J. Foyt, Dan Gurney, Parnelli Jones, Johnny Rutherford, and the Allison Brothers? It would (A) probably be a drunk-fest that ended in a fist fight; and (B) never happen on God’s Green Earth! Just picture A.J. even uttering the words “Slumber Party”… Makes me laugh….The idea of a slumber party in the old days probably had something to do with pit-tootsies… Ahh, racing in the Twenty-First century…
#RetireMarco is a hashtag most of us can largely agree upon. There are so many skilled drivers, who given the opportunity seat that Marco monopolizes, would run at the front, finish races and most likely post some wins. Andretti Autosport has the means to the winner’s circle – though this year has been a little sparse – aside from Takuma Sato at the Indy 500. Ryan Hunter-Reay and Alexander Rossi are racers, and we WILL ultimately see victories yet this year from those two. If Marco somehow manages it, I will be putting a dry-rub on my dead bird, slow cooking it on the Weber Kettle and eating it with sautéed vegetables, and in the words of Hannibal the Cannibal, “a nice chianti”. Do you think the Andretti Winery would send a few bottles?
Now, fun rant over, but here’s the kicker, and with all due respect: What Marco needs to do, if I end up not eating the crow by season’s end, is retire gracefully. In the wake of a growing number of voices, this would certainly be for the best. Certainly, if he gets the hankering, there are still rides available in Spec Miata and Vintage Racing, where he can go and be worshipped by retired rich guys. Chances are, they will even spring for dinner around the grill outside of the Prevost. Heck, it might give me the opportunity to trade some paint with him…I will hold up my end of this bargain and will do a Facebook Live of my meal. You have my word on this!
Now, will Marco take my challenge? I am certain there are those out there that might take great pleasure in watching me eat it. After all, I had quite an audience for Road America Bratwurst — and that is a culinary treat! An inedible bird from an Edgar Allan Poe ditty, not so much…I can only imagine the seething audience on the internet that pounces on every public slip of ordinary people, to take a minute to watch a motoring scribe eat crow “live in concert.”
So what will it be? Re-post this story with either the hashtag #EatTheCrow or #RetireMarco. Choose your side! But choose wisely…