Speed of Lightning, Roar of Thunder

Posted by Iannucci | 8/08/2006 | 2 comments »
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As we wind towards the Danica! 300 – now the Danica! 300 featuring The Fisher Queen – I can’t help but notice the rising value of the IRL underdogs. While the league is marketing the points battle (is there anything more confusing?) among the Penske and Ganassi drivers, it stands to reason the best stories this week are from the drivers elsewhere in the standings.

Obviously I love the racing of the Indy Racing League, but one of the things that frustrates me is their inability to market the drivers. I don’t care how many times we see the “I Am Mindy” video, it does no good because it fails to say anything about the character of the drivers. Fans cheer for people, not paint or drumtracks.

So as the week wears on I hope the league can do a fine job of adding dimension to some already solid storylines about people. In an ironic twist, the three most interesting stories – not just to me, but to other race fans – involve three underdogs who have never won an IRL race.

• The Mirror Man is fifth in the points race on the basis of finishing in the top 3 (a.k.a. “a podium”) in five of the last seven races. Don’t underestimate this accomplishment as no other driver can make that claim over the same stretch. And though he remains winless, he is becoming a fan favorite because of his struggle for a victory. Check out the shirts on these guys.

• It’s not an argument Danica! is the most popular driver or that she gets press attention like no other, but if there was a week to play up her story this is the week to do it. For perhaps the first time in her IRL career she faces an expectation, and that is she had better at least be better than that other lady driver out there. With no free pass this week, her response will speak volumes to her fans and future teammates at AGR.

• How about the Fisher Queen, the Mother of all IRL Stories this week and the biggest underdog of all? No one estimated she would have so many fans remaining in the league, and now she returns to a struggling team with little recent experience near 200 MPH. She may be battling Marty Roth and Jeff Bucknum all day Sunday, but if she can stay out of trouble she might be able to squeak into the Top 10. Seven cars failed to finish at Kentucky last year, so anything is possible.

While we’re speaking of Sarah, I’d like to personally thank Media Master Klint Briney, Dreyer & Reinbold, and whoever it was who linked my entry entitled “Gone Fishing” on SarahFisher.com. All the traffic from Fisher Fans made yesterday the most visited day ever for “My Name Is IRL”, and I as much as anyone can attest to the power of the Fisher Queen.

2 comments

  1. MoneyCJ // August 08, 2006 10:28 AM  

    Excellent observations...Sunday will be a very exciting day, for sure...

  2. pressdog // August 08, 2006 11:26 AM  

    I'm super-psyched for KY. Go Fisher Queen!