Where did the time go? It’s difficult to comprehend how the swiftness with which the last three weeks have passed.
It’s hard to believe that yet another Indy 500 has come and gone. It’s even harder to believe that the Fan Force United team was able to be a part of it. As of May 1st, our plan for the month of May was to run Armaan Ebrahim and Emerson Newton-John in the Freedom 100, and to join the masses in watching the Indy 500 from the stands. The Indianapolis 500 was certainly on the radar screen, as it is the goal on which sights are set, but not for this year. My what a dramatic turn in the team’s fortune. A conversation that led to a phone call, which led to an email and another phone call, which ultimately led to the little Fan Force United team making the big leap to the big cars to prepare and run a car for the legendary Jean Alesi, forever changed the complexion of this racing team and its principals. Things can never again be the same. The Indianapolis 500 has been tasted. It’s glory has been sampled. Indy has now entered the metaphorical bloodstream of the Fan Force United team, and once Indy is in the blood, it creates a condition that can never be reversed – not that we would have it any other way.
In the moments following the end of our race, in a time that was naturally accompanied by disappointment, and in which it would have been quite simple to be overtaken by frustration or anger, team co-owner Tyce Carlson offered his thoughts that remind us all of the journey just taken, saying “We’re very appreciative of what Lotus, FP Journe, and the IndyCar Series allowed us to do. Going into the month, we had plans to run the Freedom 100, so to get the opportunity to not only participate in the Indy 500, but to be what felt like a big part of the story this year, and to actually grid a car for the Indy 500, put us at least a year ahead of what we had planned. Now we know what it takes, and now we just need to go back to the drawing board so that we are better prepared to take full advantage of being a part of this incredible event. We’re not going to give up on our dream of winning the Indy 500, and we’ll be back either late this year or next year for sure.”
We went in as dreamers and we exit as dreamers. As almost all were abandoning Lotus, and as others were offering reasons why they could not put a credible effort on track for Jean Alesi given the time constraints, we raised our hands, seized upon the opportunity to join with the underdog, and said that we could do it. We knew going in that it was unlikely that we would be able to be competitive, given the well-known limitations of our engine, but this mattered not. Here was a chance to show what our team could do, and we did. Here was a chance to make the most of the situation, and we did. We acquitted ourselves quite well, as did our highly esteemed and capable driver, and no one can point to any part of team, our crew, or our effort, and suggest that we did not honor the Indianapolis 500 and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, that we were in over our heads, or that we did not deserve to be there. It is always a very good thing to be able to prove that one belongs, and the general consensus of the garage area and those inside the sport is that given adequate horsepower, the Fan Force United team and Jean Alesi would have been more than competitive on race day.
We now ask our fans to turn their attention and support to our primary effort this year, which is our Indy Lights program with Armaan Ebrahim, as we continue to campaign the #24 JK Tyre machine with an eye towards what we believe to be a tremendous future with a very talented and determined driver. As we now put the 2012 Indianapolis 500 behind us, and carry with us the memories of the great spectacle, Armaan and the team will be on track this weekend in Detroit, working hard to return to the IndyCar series and the Indy 500, and to bring another rookie to Indy in due time.
Before we wrap things up here, Tyce (Carlson), Chris (Williams), Scott (Williamson), and Jason (Peters) would like to acknowledge the tremendous effort put forth by all involved, and to individually thank each and every member of this team that was so instrumental in bringing a dream to reality and setting us on a new course that will certainly lead us back to Indy. So to Ted Bitting, Tim Wardrop, Mike Colliver, Ian Brown, Brad Brewer, Owen Snyder, Greg Beck, Tim Shank, Joe Vallone, Tracy Hash, Dave Metcalfe, Claudio Novoa, Mike Battersby, Mike Capicek, John Hines, John Colbert, Glenn O’Connor, Robert Lynch, Steve Turner, Trevor Mitchner, and Mike Fink (that should be everyone), we say “thank you.” To Claudio, Olivier, John, Anne, and everybody with Lotus, we say “thank you.” To Andreas and everyone at Dallara, we say “thank you.” To Al, Joe, and the hard-working folks at Firestone, we say “thank you.” To the IndyCar series administration and staff, we say “thank you.” To the IndyCar series technical staff, we say “thank you” (and we really mean it!). To the entirety of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway organization and the Hulman-George family, we say “thank you.” To all those that provided media coverage of our team, our story, and this great race, we say “thank you.” To our sponsors (FP Journe, AMG-Tim Donahue, Breeden Legal-Matt Breeden, Keco Coatings, West Point Financial, and Jonathan Byrd’s), we say “thank you.” To Jean Alesi, we offer a very heartfelt and honored “thank you.” Finally, and most importantly, to our Fan Force, we offer our most humble and appreciative “thank you,” and we hope that we can continue to earn and honor your encouragement, your loyalty, your well-wishes, and your unwavering support.
See you at the races!
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