Ever since Emerson Fittipaldi emerged victorious from Al Unser Jr’s game of “chicken” at Indy in 1989, race fans have come to realize that no matter how enjoyable Brazilian drivers are with their helmets off they are all freaking demons on the track. All of them. Just ask Little Al.
Like rabbits these Brazilians have multiplied in the IndyCar series, and now we have three solid drivers who compete in every race. These guys vary in personality, from the ebullient and gregarious Helio Castroneves, to the impish prankster Tony Kanaan, to the laid back cool of Vitor Meira. All very likeable, all very skilled.
However, recent events have had folks up in arms at the aggressive driving of all three, noting that they are showing no love towards their fellow countrymen by each attempting stock-car like moves towards one another. They may be from south of the Equator, but this is North America and we’re going to settle it our way. My friends, now that we have an off week it’s time to lock them in a cage and decide who is the Baddest Brazilian of All.
Height: 5’ 8”
Weight: 147 lbs
Record: 94 starts, 12 wins (2001, 2002 Indianapolis 500 champion)
Special Skills: Helio plays a lot of tennis, especially against women. Ahem. He also owns a stock car team in Brazil, which kinda offsets the tennis. Sorta.
Aggression: At Kentucky, Helio nearly bumped race leader Tony Kanaan into the wall despite being a lap down.
Allies: Danica Patrick, whom he singled out as never causing him any problems on the track. She may be small, but we know she can take on Dan Wheldon.
Other Enemies: Ed Carpenter, who twice had racing incidents with Castroneves in 2006 that ultimately contributed to his third place finish in the series championship.
Height: 5’ 5”
Weight: 147 lbs
Record: 78 starts, 11 wins (2004 IndyCar Series champion)
Special Skills: “An accomplished triathlete, Kanaan has completed half-Ironman events.” He also likes to play with pies.
Aggression: Last year at the season finale at Chicagoland Tony nearly drove Helio Castroneves onto the grass and off the podium
Allies: Dan Wheldon, his former AGR teammate with whom is so often seen exchanging congratulations in Victory Lane it’s confusing as to which one of the two actually won the race
Other Enemies: Kanaan was speared by Dario Franchitti at St Petersburg, had a pit incident with Danica Patrick at Kansas, and flipped Marco Andretti upside-down at Mid Ohio...and those are his teammates! He’s also had recent issues with Sam Hornish Jr, so “most popular driver” is going to be his award this year.
Height: 5’ 7”
Weight: 141 lbs
Record: 73 starts, 0 wins (ICS record holder for futility)
Special Skills: Meira is also a triathelete and avid cyclist, having the stamina of an Iditarod sled dog
Aggression: At Michigan Vitor pinched down on Helio Castroneves, sending them both into the outside wall
Allies: Come on, EVERYONE loves Vitor.
Other Enemies: Brian Barnhart, who’s Timing and Scoring minions lapsed in Texas, costing Meira an extra lap and a possible win.
Let’s go out to Marty Reid, Scott Goodyear, and Jack Arute for the call.
Marty: It’s a hot today here in Miami and the tempers are even hotter inside. Welcome everyone to the My Name Is IRL Brazilian Cage Match, where we the action will be as fast and furious as IndyCar driving. Right Scott?
Scott: That’s right, Marty. We have three fine drivers of varying accomplishments, but today isn’t about racing – it’s one thing to race against a fellow Brazilian, but it’s quite another to smash his face to mincemeat.
Marty: That sounds like great fun, Scott. We do have a quick announcement before we start. It appears Brian Barnhart has indicated that Vitor Meira be disqualified for an unspecified reason. Let’s go to Jack Arute who’s following this story closely.
Jack: Marty, the “Iron Hand of Justice” as he is known online is currently apologizing the Panther Racing team for having to disqualify Meira. He said he’s very sorry but if Vitor actually won something he’s been told by other league officials the world would tilt off its axis. Now as you can see from this egg I’m holding, the axis of the world...
Marty: Thanks, Jack. We’ll get more on that egg later. It appears the bell is ringing and this fight is on. We are...green?
Marty: And it appears Tony Kanaan has taken the early lead, slapping Helio upside the head just like he slapped Sam Hornish Jr at Watkins Glen. They are lock step.
Scott: It’s one thing to slap Helio on the side of the head, but it’s quite another to knock him down.
Marty: Helio appears to be retreating, no he’s climbing the fencing of the cage! He perfected this maneuver during his many victories, oh…airborne! Helio Castronves has jumped on to Tony Kanaan, but TK is so short we can’t tell if he’s actually fallen or not! And now we are holding station once again as the drivers battle.
Scott: If I’m seeing this correctly I think Kanaan may be reaching for a pie very soon.
Marty: And indeed he is, as Kanaan is throwing pies at Castroneves at a frantic pace. But Helio is having none of that for desert today, as he deflects the flying confections with his Baby Borg Warners. He’s got one in each hand and he’s not afraid to use them. Once again we are lock step.
Scott: This has got to be demoralizing to Tony. It’s one thing to win an IndyCar championship, but quite another to win the Indy 500.
Marty: You’d know a thing or two about that, wouldn’t you?
Scott: Shut up, lock step boy!
Marty: Well, it’s getting hot up here and hotter in the cage, as Helio is using his amazing powers of loquaciousness now. It looks like he’s talking so much he may be deafening Kanaan. Tony is also shielding his eyes from Helio’s blinding smile.
Scott: Whatever. Are we holding station yet?
Marty: Helio! With a tennis racquet to nose! Oh the humanity! But wait – it doesn’t faze Kanaan. Kanaan is back on the attack as Helio appears to have lost his voice.
Scott: We could only hope the same happens to you.
Marty: Huh? Jack Arute has more.
Jack: Guys, it appears Helio has burst a larynx valve. As you can see from this cutaway model of the human throat...
Marty and Scott: Ewwwwww!
Jack: ...back to you.
Marty: What? It’s over? Something has happened and Tony Kanaan appears to be the winner.
Scott: As we look at the replay, we can see that Tony used a hip check similar to the one he applied to Marco Andretti at Mid Ohio. Once Helio was flipped over this cage match was called.
Marty: Indeed it was, Scott. It appears Dan Wheldon is pushing Jaime Camara out of the way to congratulate Tony. But what’s this! Danica Patrick! With a folding chair over Dan! He’s down!
Scott: Even though Danica is a female she has improved her fighting skills greatly. You can see she has learned a lot from her new teammates this year.
Marty: It’s bedlam outside the ring as now all of the AGR teammates have appeared and are fighting amongst themselves! What is going on?
Maybe we need another cage match to find out. Meanwhile, the winner: Tony Kanaan. You can’t stop the nose – you can only get out of the way.
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