This, then, is the blogosphere.
It is a Wild West of Internet literature that runs the gamut from drunken blatherings to impassioned opinionating to well-meaning advocacy to legitimate journalism... and a thousand other incarnations in between.
Pop Off Valve promises to be a little of all of that. (Well, except for the "drunken" part. I don't drink.)
I'm sure many of you are curious about this blog and what I plan to do with it. Read on. It could be the most interesting thing you do all day. (Okay, that's probably an exaggeration. But read on anyway.)
What is Pop Off Valve?
A pop-off valve is a relief mechanism on a turbocharged engine. It's basically a plate with a spring mechanism that responds to pressure within the engine manifold. Technically, it pops up, releasing the extra pressure with a loud "Pop!" The noise is loud enough for a race driver wearing a helmet, a balaclava and earplugs to hear over the sound of his engine.
That's the first reason why I picked the name "Pop Off Valve" for this blog. Bloggers are basically people who have so much to say that they have to resort to writing about it on the Internet to relieve the pressure inside them.
The second reason is because the site's acronym is "POV," which is also short for "point of view." The reasons this is important are twofold: first, my first blog back in 1997 was titled "Racing Point of View," so I consider it an homage. Second, I wanted to keep the words "point of view" in the forefront of everyone's mind as you read the posts on this blog. Journalism these days is such a complex morass of content that objective, fact-based reporting is virtually a thing of the past. The blogosphere barely pretends to consider objectivity and facts usually get lost or ignored in the process. Because of my background and my ambitions for this blog, objectivity is one of my holy grails - but no matter how fact-based I try to make my posts, they will always be my own "POV." Remember that.
Why IndyCar? Why now?
Some of you may be wondering why I am venturing into what is essentially a niche motorsport when all the big money (hah!) is being made in NASCAR.
While it is true that IndyCar has spent the better part of two decades at a low ebb in terms of its popularity, field depth, and innovation, this will not be the case forever. Too much is on the horizon for the world to ignore IndyCar racing for much longer.
Moreover, IndyCar racing is in my blood - and I mean that almost literally. I was born in Indianapolis the week of the Indy 500 and lived my first years a scant few blocks from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The Indy 500 has been the centerpiece of my sports world since my first birthday.
What can we expect from Pop Off Valve?
I'll make the same promises that hundreds of other bloggers have made before me and thousands more will make after: I am going to tell it "like it is." Which means, of course, that I'm going to interpret things as I see them. More often than not, I'll be wrong. Some folks will enjoy it, others will not. That's just the way this blogging thing goes.
The nice thing about SBNation, though, is that it allows you, the reader, to become an active participant in the creation of the community. Not only can you respond to blog posts - you can actually post links to news, images, events and so forth via the FanPosts and FanShots functions on every SBNation blog.
In other words, I may be the one making the most noise with my blog, but it's not a one-way conversation. You react, you comment, you call me on the carpet - you, the Pop Off Valve community, are creators of this blog in your own right. Hopefully, that will inspire you to contribute to and encourage the growth of this blog and make it a destination instead of a mildly-interesting curiosity on the side of the Information Superhighway.
One thing this blog will not be is a clearinghouse for rumors and gossip. That's the easy, lazy way to get lots of readers. I know of at least three people who have made a lot of money and gotten a lot of exposure doing that. I don't roll that way. I want people to read POV for what we write and not for what we whisper. That may keep our follower count down, but respect is more important to me than crowds.
So welcome to Pop Off Valve. Strap in, because it's going to get interesting!