Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Q&A With Jack Arute

16th And Georgetown: How do you like your new position as VERSUS "pit stratigest"?

Jack Arute: It has been something that I have discussed with ABC & ESPN for several years. When VERSUS took over the bulk of the IndyCar coverage, they were very receptive to the concept. They have supported the spot and have worked hard to develop it as we continue our coverage. It is something that really needed to be included in IndyCar coverage because so many winning decisions are made on pit road.

16th And Georgetown: What track on previous open wheel schedules do you mis the most?

Jack Arute: I always enjoyed the trip to Australia. The Aussies love their racing and they always put on a great event.

16th And Georgetown: If you could go back and pit report any race in the 100 years since the inagural Indy 500, which would it be?

Jack Arute: Why not the first one! Just think. To have been part of an event that has endured for almost 100 years. Now that would have been something.

16th And Georgetown: You served as Vice President for Charlotte Motor Speedway in 1980. If you were president of IMS for a day, what are some of the first changes you would make?

Jack Arute: I would continue on the path that they have created. I might consider coming up with some sort of 21st Century "Snake Pit" because so many young people are first exposed to the 500 and to IndyCar by partying in the "Snake Pit". I think I would also expand the Victory Lane area. The current location is a bit crowded.
16th And Georgetown: Any plans for another Book?

Jack Arute: Maybe some day. I’m presently working on a College Football Book that traces the heritage of the top 25 College Football Traditions. Texas A&M's 12th Man, The dotting of the "i" by the Ohio State Buckeye Band, etc.

16th And Georgetown: You have interviewed some of the greatest drivers in the world while in Victory Lane on Memorial Day weekend, does any one post-race interview stick out over the rest?

Jack Arute: Two. The first was Al Unser Jr's first win when he tearfull told me "Jack you just don't know what Indy means to me." I did know. Al and I were good friends (still are in fact) and we had talked a lot about his winning the 500.

The second was when Bobby Rahal won the Indy 500. The circumstances were not ideal, from the rain delay and postponement to his pass of Kevin Cogan and then his long time car owner, friend and benefactor, Jim Trueman's terminal illness. If you look closely at the Victory Lane photos you can see just how frail Jim was at the time. He held on to my neck to stand up and I can still feel his grasp whenever I think about it. When the interview was done, Jim whispered to me "I can go now" and shortly afterwards he indeed did succumb to his cancer.


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