Gossage back to old (promotional) self


By Dave Lewandowski

FORT WORTH, Texas – Carb Day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Eddie Gossage is renewing acquaintances in the media center.

“You look good as new,” a longtime motorsports writer interjects. The Texas Motor Speedway president replies with a wide smile and hearty handshake. “Thank you; I feel good.”

A year earlier, even Gossage — a consummate promoter and showman – couldn’t put a positive face on his health. The Big C was brewing in his body, which was impacting his dutifully active business and family-centric life.

“A year ago, I was sitting in a meeting (at the Speedway) and remember feeling horrible,” he says. “I could barely keep my head up and sit in the chair. I had been through chemo treatments in the spring, but I was headed the next day (following the June 6 IZOD IndyCar Series race at his place) for a very significant treatment that laid me out for a month.”

Home may be where the heart is, but his mind was elsewhere. He took a leave of absence until August, and made his first public appearance at the racetrack in September.

“When I think back to last summer and being sick and not being at work and being at home, fortunately all my treatment was out-patient, but it was really significant,” he says.

“I remember getting ready for bed and telling my wife that I needed a new battery in my watch; it’s about 15 or 20 minutes slow. And this went on for two or three weeks because I couldn’t leave the house. I started getting better and I said, ‘Hey, honey, did you get me a battery for my watch?’It’s keeping time again. She said, ‘I didn’t tell you that you don’t have a battery in your watch. It’s motion driven. You weren’t moving enough to keep it wound.’ That’s how sick I was during that time.”

Recuperation rolled into health stability and an easing back into work. He says the cancer is in “complete remission.”

“The things I remember are being at home with my wife and having time with her, which was wonderful, exercising and doing the things you have to do to do your treatment properly,” he says. “It’s kind of funny. God blocks out the bad things.”

This weekend, Gossage will moderate the second of two fan forums (the first was last week at Indianapolis) relating to the next generation of IZOD IndyCar Series car. He’ll renew acquaintances in the media center, pump the flesh with guests and sponsors, and be in Victory Circle to present the Firestone 550K winner with the six-shooters to fire.

He’ll smile a lot, but it won’t be forced.

“People say, ‘You look at (the cancer) as a blessing?’ and I do,” he says. “You find out who your friends are, who cares for you. It’s not like I have to make amends for all the wrongs I’ve done in my life. I have my priorities I think in the right places, but you do find out some things and they’re good things.

“I was (at Indianapolis) and that was proof to myself that I’m doing good. I’m just really blessed.”

source http://www.indycar.com

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