What's the story?

Posted by Iannucci | 5/24/2009 | 1 comments »
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Your humble host arrived just as the mortars were firing at IMS, and the media center is already buzzing with low talking chatter. Not a lot of shouting, since most of the folks in here are head down over their laptops and already churning out stories for the Indy 500.

One of the new arrivals here in Blogger Row "F" is Ben from Jalopnik, which is probably the coolest auto enthusiast site ever. Ben's not a big IndyCar fan, but he's looking for angles on stories. Of course, the first thing he asks me about is Danica and the N-word, since that seems to be a popular storyline. I think my exact qupte to him was, "if she's not in this race next year I'll eat my shoe." Bunnies and rainbows, and leather soles for lunch.

But I'm all about sharing, so I gave him some possible ideas for stories. Jalopnik has WAY more readers than My Name Is IRL so if I can help Ben find some storylines to keep his interest on race day then it will probably be my biggest contribution to racing all year. Anyhow, here's what I told him:

* Helio Castroneves is running the mother of all hot streaks. Pole, pitstop, and courtroom accomplishments are coming fast and furiously this month. Everyone knows Helio, make a few dancing jokes, and watch as he tries to get Roger Penske his um-teenth victory at The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.

* Scott Dixon is obviously the defending champion, but in a way so is his teammate Dario Franchitti, who took a year off to get wrecked in taxi cab races. First time ever having the last two Indy 500 champs on the same team. Ben asked if the team might favor one driver over the other, to which I assured him "This isn't F1 - it's every man for himself".

* Michael Andretti is co-owner for the team his son Marco drives for, but he's calling race strategy for Danica. Might be a little conflict, might not. At the very least it's a story about Danica that doesn't involve stock cars. Plus AGR is always good for a story, since it isn't always bunnies and rainbows over 500 miles.

* Alex "Pink" Lloyd is getting crazy mad airtime for wearing girly threads. You can make all the pink jokes you want, and Alex and the entire Sam Schmidt Motorsports team will laugh at everyone of them, but the fact is no driver in a one-off is getting anywhere near the coverage as Lloyd. Ben couldn't believe the drink was actually called "HER".

* There are three drivers who could become the youngest winner ever, and all of them are starting in the front 11. Graham Rahal's who father has won here, Marco's grandfather won here, and Mario Moraes has been at or near the top of the speed charts for the last week. These kids are looking forward to drinking some milk today.

* Paul Tracy returns to the scene of his greatest victory that didn't happen, driving in his first Indy 500 since 2002, which we all know led not only to a much-discussed controversy, but also stunning Jack Arute interrogations seven years later.

* Tony Kanaan is 0-7 here despite leading every ract, and now he's gone to the extreme of growing his hair out. Last night at the "Tony Kanaan Clambake" I heard more than a few "Ch-ch-ch-chia!" outbursts. Alcohol will make people do that. The crowd here loves Tony, as he's now the new Lloyd Ruby. Who's Lloyd Ruby you say, why just look at Tony Kanaan and there's your answer.

I know there are others, but I tried to stick with the major stories to follow. My hope is Ben will be watching with eye for something other than the first driver to complete 800 left turns.


  1. SkipinSC // May 24, 2009 6:52 AM  

    Figures. First thought out of his mouth would be the "nightmare scenario." In case none of the mainstream media types were watching Friday, the 500 is on the rebound, and early traffic reports this morning indicate that the place may be packed today.

    When two guys who work for the "House of Mouse," Tim Cowlishaw and Bob Ryan both essentially "blow off" the Indy 500, it really fries my a**. Excuse me, fellas, but your employer,(albeit part time) ESPN/ABC, pays a LOT of money to telecast the race

    Cowlishaw I can understand, because his beat is the N-word. Bob Ryan's response of "Who Cares?" when asked to pick a race winner on "Around the Horn," however, really got me frustrated.

    A little over a year after "blendimergification" the series seems to be on the right track, and I suspect there may be MORE fans cleverly disguised as empty seats in Charlotte tonight than there will be in Indy.

    The ratings on Versus notwithstanding, the stories to drive this series are many and, if the Freedom 100 was any indication, the future is very bright.