AP Writer Is Not Impressed With Alonso Racing At Indy. Mario Andretti And I Disagree.

Yesterday we reported Christian Horner didn’t agree with McLaren letting Fernando Alonso race in the Indy 500. Associated Press writer Jenna Fryer isn’t a fan either. Fryer covers American motorsports for the Associated Press.

“SO WHAT THAT ALONSO IS RACING THE INDY 500?”, Fryer titled one of her recent articles.

You can read the entire article here.

Apparently a 2-time Formula 1 World Champion has decided to skip the premier F1 race in favor of the 500 means nothing? Fryer suggested big name American drivers such as Tony Stewart, Danica Patrick or Jordan and Ricky Taylor would have created more buzz and been better for the sport of IndyCar. Fair enough, personally I’d love to see Stewart or Taylor race at Indy. Stewart is one of my favorite drivers and Jordan Taylor is just about the most awesome human racing right now.

Seriously, if you are not following Jordan Taylor on his various social medias you need to. You will not be disappointed.

Fryer continued, “Alonso is a highly decorated driver who was once at the top of Formula One. IndyCar has plenty of international drivers, so adding the Spaniard for the 500 isn’t unusual in that respect. But his F1 titles came long ago, in 2005 and 2006, and he has yet to score a point in three races this year with McLaren.

“I’ve never raced with so little power in my life,” Alonso reportedly said on his radio during Sunday’s race in Bahrain.

Big news, Alo; You get one of those Honda engines for the Indy 500, too.”

This is the point where she looses me and shows a profound misunderstanding of Formula 1. Alonso hasn’t scored points because his car, specifically the power unit, is a rampaging dumpster fire of awful. Alonso nearly scored points in the first 2 races before reliability woes struck him down. Make no mistake there are very few drivers that could flirt with points in the McLaren-Honda this season. The fact that Alonso managed to do so displays his supreme talent as a driver.

Secondly, nobody calls him Alo, nobody. That is like calling Lewis Hamilton H-Ton, though maybe we should. Lastly, “You get one of those Honda engines for the Indy 500, too.” Memo to Ms. Fryer, no he doesn’t. Yes the Indy engine will have a Honda badge on it but it is worlds apart from its F1 distant cousin. The Indy engine is larger in displacement while the F1 engine utilizes high performance hybrid technology. To insinuate that they are the same, words fail me. You figure someone who COVERS MOTORSPORT for her job would at least Google Formula 1. Maybe check it out, see whats going on. Maybe glance at the engines a bit.

McLaren and Alonso will be racing as a part of the Andretti Autosport armada at Indy.

“IndyCar has some nice momentum right now, but the idea of importing Alonso does little for long-term growth. Unless, of course, the idea is to coax more open-wheel drivers in F1 turf to take the road to IndyCar.” Fryer said.

THAT IS EXACTLY THE IDEA!!! Formula 1 is the pinnacle, the top of the mountain the best of the best in the motorsports world. All you have to do is look around at the drivers in Indy and Sportscars and you’ll see a crowd of drivers who’s F1 dream is over. Mark Webber switched to LMP1 after F1, Rubens Barrichello went to IndyCar after his career in F1 was over. IndyCar operates on a global scale, they gain huge notoriety world-wide when former F1 stars spend the twilight of their racing careers in a IndyCar.

The entire tenor of the article ticks me off. Fernando Alonso and McLaren racing at Indy is a HUGE deal. Despite what Jenna Fryer says from inside her fantasy American bubble.

But maybe you think I’m being too harsh. Maybe Fryer is being a good patriot, waving the stars and stripes for the typical American race fan. Maybe she’s trying to say in a round about and terrible way that this is America, this is the Indy 500, we don’t need no foreign aid to make it great! Maybe I am the atypical American who loves global motorsport and the normal fan cares only for the domestic series. Maybe she has a point. It is at times like this I like to consult my motorsport spirit animal, Mario Andretti.

Andretti told “I really resent the fact that the story is giving the impression that this is just a publicity stunt. Don’t get me wrong, it is great publicity for IndyCar, but that is just a by-product of a totally legitimate and valid attempt by a great champion, Fernando Alonso, to try and win the second part of the Triple Crown.

Quite honestly, I think she (Fryer) owes Alonso an apology, because the initial motivation for this whole thing came from him; he wants to do it, and would never do it just to help any series gain publicity or to gain publicity for himself. He doesn’t need it.”

He’s doing this as a pure racer and follows a great tradition of some of the best F1 drivers trying to win Indy – some succeeded, some didn’t – and I find it reassuring that Indy still carries that aura, a feather in the cap, as it were.

Fernando may not have this opportunity again while he’s at the top of his game,” he said. “He’s not retired from F1, he’s not some kinda has-been or reject who can’t find an F1 ride. This has arisen at the right time because he’s still one of the very best.”

Pretty cut and dry and I completely agree with all of it. In fact I sincerely doubt I could have said it any better. Then again that’s why he’s a legend and I’m not. Mario also said that his son Michael and McLaren CEO Zak Brown would never agree to this if they didn’t all believe Fernando would be a serious contender.

I combed through some of Jenna Fryer’s other material and she really is a talented writer. She just swung and missed on this one.

Source: AP &

Written by Chad Kennedy

Chad burst from the womb wearing a racing suit and a helmet. Chad's passion for cars is in his very DNA. His father was a gear head and passed on the tradition through owning such classics as a '66 Mustang and a '59 Corvette all while taking him to various race tracks in the area. Chad likes to wrench on his rides whenever possible, forgoing the stealership. Chad is an avid motorsports fan with particular interest in endurance/sports car racing. When not online writing for Shifting Lanes, you can find him working at the local golf course teaching people how to swing or hooning a golf cart at impossible speeds.


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