BLOG: Say 'hello' to the new guy

Greetings Pop Off Valve readers. I wanted to say thanks to Tony Johns for letting me play a small role on his blog, and to let you know a bit about me. Don't worry, I won't bite and I've had (most of) my shots.

I come by my lack of knowledge on IndyCar racing honestly. As a youngster in northern Illinois in the late 60s I was interested in NASCAR, mostly because that's what my Dad was into. Like so many fathers, mine worked hard and missed more than a few family meals because of it, so getting to spend time with him on weekends often meant NASCAR on the radio or TV.

The only exception to stock-car racing that I can remember was the Indianapolis 500. Probably no surprise, but my favorite drivers in those days were often the guys who raced both Daytona and Indy - AJ Foyt, Al and Bobby Unser, Mario Andretti, Gary Bettenhausen, and Gordon Johncock among others.

My all-time favorite IndyCar driver back then was Bobby Unser, and on my wall I had a photo of him in the 1968 Indy 500-winning No. 3 Eagle Offenhauser.

In my own version of "Field of Dreams," I abandoned racing for a long time once I got into those turbulent teenage years. I would try to catch the Daytona 500 each year, mostly just so I would have something to talk to my Dad about, but that was it.

* * *

Flash forward more time than I care to remember and I once again started following racing as part of my job at a newspaper in the Pacific Northwest. There was a NASCAR home track near the paper and the racing beat was open due to a resignation, so I put my hand up and started a blog called Trackside.

The blog started with local racing, late-models and figure-eights at Evergreen Speedway in Monroe, Wash., and Sprint Cars at Skagit Speedway in Alger, but for me that was just the foot in the door.

Soon I was also writing about NASCAR, and then I began to get questions from readers about IndyCar, Atlantics (remember them?), F1 and NHRA, so I started watching them and making some tentative comments about those racing series as well.

I'm kind of a goal-oriented individual, so before my second year doing the blog I decided to get smarter about drag racing and the NHRA so I wouldn't embarrass myself when the Pacific Northwest Nationals rolled into the Seattle area that summer.

My time with the newspaper ended after that year but had there been a third go-round my goal was to learn more about IndyCar. So, in a way, it should be no surprise that I came into contact with Tony Johns and Pop Off Valve.

* * *

So what can the readers of Pop Off Valve expect from me? For one, I'm going to make some mistakes and will probably be somewhat tentative with my opinions until I know more about IndyCar racing.

You should know I've never been afraid to admit I'm wrong, or to listen to a cogent, well-reasoned opposing argument (Ed: Smart of you to gloss over the times readers said "you're stupid" or worse), so don't hesitate to let me know your thoughts.

Second, I'm probably going to work from a NASCAR frame of reference, so feel free to correct me when I refer to a strategist as a crew chief. In fact, I'm thinking my next post may be a comparison of IndyCar and NASCAR from the fenders-and-hoods perspective.

Finally, you should expect stuff like that "Editor" aside two paragraphs up. I like to have some fun with my writing, including pop-culture references, the occasional nautical reference (Ed: 20+ years in the Navy and you can't quit, can you?) and other bits and pieces from my mind, so consider this your warning.

Happy to be here.

(Actual editor's note: We're glad you're here too, Scott!)

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