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Saturday, May 24, 2014 8:00 PM

Metcalfe's Musings

By JIM METCALFE

dhiMEDIA Sports Editor

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I remember when the Indianapolis 500 was The Race in American autosports in my - ahem; cough, cough - slightly younger days.

It kind of went the way of the do-do as I got a teeny, tiny bit older because of a civil war within the organization by yahoos that couldn’t keep their immense egos in check.

It’s nice to see it begin to come back because the IRL straightened itself out and racers like Danica Patrick gave it a needed boost.

Which is a perfect segueway to this item I saw the other day.

It has to do with a former — maybe current? - racer named Sam Schmidt.

He raced for three years in IndyCar in the late 1990s, during the aforementioned (to borrow a phrase from Mr. Dave Boninsegna!) civil war, before wrecking in 2000 and becoming a quadriplegic.

That is a sad part of the story because he was a popular driver in those days — much needed to keep the enterprise at least with a chance to stay afloat as the likes of the legendary A.J. Foyt and Rick Mears were either leaving the scene or had already done so.

The good part is — you’ve heard the saying “you can never keep a good man down?”

This man wouldn’t stay down.

He stayed inside racing, becoming a car owner.

He returned to the oval there in a specially-modified car built for his needs.

If you want to get into the how this is so, you can look on the Internet and type in Sam Schmidt. It’s way too technical — I sure as hecklydarn don’t understand it! — to present it to you, my dear 11,345 readers, so I suggest you read it for yourself.

I am sure many of you car and tech enthusiasts will eat it up. I do find it fascinating!

And I didn’t know that the famed oval was actually built for such innovations to take place.

Who knows, this might be a full-time gig!

Read on, my friends!

——-

In the same vein, NASCAR driver Kurt Busch is going to try for the Indy 500/Coca-Cola 600 Sunday.

I don’t know what you think of him — it seems you either love him or despise him — but I wish him luck.

This might be the best thing that could happen to racing in both ventures.

It’s a good story and if he pull it off, it might lead to some others trying to do the same in years to come.

We could see a good, old-fashioned rivalry that always seems to give a jolt in the arm.

Kind of like “Bragging Rights.”

———

I almost missed this one: the death of and funeral for former Dolphins and Colts QB Earl Morrall from that famed 1973 Perfect Team.

He wasn’t remember for being one of the all-time greats but he was remembered for the kind of guy he was.

Rest in Peace.

———-

I just wonder if this Atkinson will have to go through “re-education” to play in the National Football League.

Remember George Atkinson, the former Oakland/Los Angeles/Who Knows Where Raider safety who was one of the most feared players in the 1970s and 80s?

Well, his grandson, George Atkinson III signed with the Raiders as an undrafted free agent.

For him, being a free agent gave him the chance to play for the team he wanted to since he was a child — the Raaaaiiiiiders.

He turned down several to sign there.

However, I don’t see him making the same mark.

One, the league has changed immensely, so those types of hits are verboten.

Two, he is a running back and return man, so he won’t be bashing people out of the secondary.

I guess he isn’t nearly as fierce as his ancestor but still, it’s “in the blood”, isn’t it? He might need to be hypnotized so he doesn’t “revert” back!

Your eyes are getting sleepy …

 

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