With it being Thanksgiving week, it's only fitting to pass out a few thanks in the open-wheel world:
Thanks to Sam Schmidt, who announced last week he will forgo fielding an Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires team and focus on the Verizon IndyCar Series full-time. All Sam's Indy Lights teams did was win 74 races, 82 poles and seven titles. Beyond that, it's impossible to overstate the significance his team had on the development of young drivers, not only on the ones he tutored, but those striving to beat him. Not bad for a guy who once appeared as a contestant on the game show "Press Your Luck!" No whammies!
Thanks should also go to Michael Andretti, whose organization has produced eight championships throughout all four levels of the Mazda Road to Indy and the Verizon IndyCar series, as well as tireless passion and investment in the health of the events of the series. Trust me, Andretti is hardly slowing down.
Conor Daly and Carlos Munoz are thankful for A.J. Foyt and rightly so. Super Tex is allowing both young drivers an opportunity and, thanks in part to team president Larry Foyt, it's a good stable for both to be in. You think the Foyts are thankful for ABC Supply? The Wisconsin-based company is entering its 13th season as Foyt's primary team sponsor. Nearly a third of the years the company has been in existence, it has been with A.J. It's the longest consecutive sponsorship in INDYCAR. Just think, if they had a third car they'd have a chance to go A-B-C ... 1-2-3. OK, I'll see my way out.
I'm heading to Austin, Texas, this weekend. Never been. I hear it’s a great town. It's an unusual circumstance. One of my lifelong best friends passed away in July and his car is still in Austin. A buddy and I are flying down to drive it back up for his folks. I'm looking forward to it. Open Texas road, some good tunes and a lifetime of stories to share during the drive. In my eyes, it's the ultimate way to reflect and pay tribute.
During the drive, I'll be thankful Texas has Buc-ee’s convenience stores and gas stations. Have you been? It's like Disney World meets Wal-Mart. Pure Query euphoria. I didn't mind the June rain delays at Texas Motor Speedway; there was a Buc-ee’s across the street from the track. OK, having a race that weekend would have been nice, too.
Worst new experiment in candy bars? Snickers peanut butter. Don't mess with a winner. Plus, Reese’s owns that market.
Speaking of Texas, can anyone explain how the “stars at night are big and bright” in the Lone Star State? I've asked many a Texan and it still keeps me up at night.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. Please be thankful for all who are able to make it to your table. And, just maybe, offer your table to someone who may not have one.
Talk to ya next week.
Veteran broadcaster Jake Query is a member of the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network team and will offer his musings Tuesdays on IndyCar.com.