Talking the talk

Posted by Iannucci | 6/16/2009 | 11 comments »
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This may be hard for you to believe, but apparently some people are getting a little tired of the repetitiveness of Helio Castroneves and his post race enthusiasm. ESPN's John Oreovicz, who has been around Helio for over a decade, has proclaimed himself "tired of Helio Castroneves' over-the-top -- some might say forced or fake -- enthusiasm".

His exuberant personality hasn't changed since then, and people who are close to him say that's the way he has always been.

In fact, a few years ago, Helio's longtime friend Tony Kanaan jokingly (I think) even listed Castroneves as his "Favorite Actor" in a press-kit bio.

But that's no excuse for the way Helio makes the EXACT same speech after every win -- bouncing off the walls like a kid who downed a 12-pack of Red Bull, spouting clichés like "pedal to the metal," "drove it like I stole it" and "keep working hard." You don't have to attend a press conference to obtain postrace quotes from Castroneves because they never change.
I'm guessing the reason he didn't mention my personal favorite, "fun-TASTIC!", is because that one NEVER gets old.

Look, I understand how some people who may be tasked with having to write deadline stories about racing might get a little bothered by the overuse of certain phrases after every event. I've been in the media center; I've dined on the free food and drank the free drinks and sat through the press conferences, and I can see how this can all become a bit repetitive after a while.

So Helio, if you happen to be reading, here are some tips to freshen up your post-race celebration. Keep climbing the fences if that's what the fans want, but Oreo may be right in that it's time to get away from the boring corporate clichés. I'm not talking about changing up the ones you have for new ones like "Pushing the envelope" or "Racing on the razor's edge" or "Giving a hundred and ten percent" because that would be, in a word, lame. No Helio, since you're an international sensation you need to speak the international language: Movie quotes.

Take this list for starters and try to incorporate them into your interviews with the ever-huggable Jack Arute as much as possible. Trust me, it will win you more fans both inside and outside the media center.
  • "How you like them apples?"
  • "I'm the king of the world!"
  • "I feel the need, the need for speed!"
  • "Hasta la vista, baby!"
  • "Show me the MONEY!" (On second thought, let Danica have that one.)
  • "Say 'Hello' to my little friend!"
  • "You can't handle the truth!!!"
That's a good list to start, although when those become tired and abused you can start to work in some quality Monty Python quotes. For now though let's take it to the next level (without actually uttering the hyper-cliché "take it to the next level") and start with some basic "Napoleon Dynamite". I would be willing to change the name of this site to "My Name Is Helio" if you would just bust out the following slightly altered movie quote.

"First off at Team Penske we use the buddy system. No more flying solo. You need somebody watching your back at all times.

[pats Will Power on the back]

"Second off, you're gonna learn to discipline your image. You think I got where I am today because I dressed like Peter Pan here?

[points to Tony Kanaan]

"Take a look at what I'm wearing, people. You think anybody wants a roundhouse kick to the face while I'm wearing these bad boys? Forget about it."


  1. mmack // June 17, 2009 6:42 AM  

    I vote for some altered Glengarry Glen Ross quotes myself:

    "A-B-W, Jack. A-Always, B-Be, W-Winning. Always be winning, always be winning."

    "You see this watch? You see this watch John? That watch costs more than your car. I've made over $3 million this season. How much you make? You see pal, that's who I am, and you're nothing! Nice guy? I don't give a s@#%! Good father? F#$% you! Go home and play with your kids. You wanna work in the IRL - win! You think this is abuse? You think this is abuse, you c@%^&*(@er? You can't take this, how can you take the abuse you get interviewing Danica? You don't like it, leave!"

    And after he wins his next Indianapolis 500:

    "Milk is for winners, Jack"

    In a week they'll be begging the "old" Helio to come back.

    although when those become tired and abused you can start to work in some quality Monty Python quotes

    "John, I don't want to talk to you no more, you empty headed animal food trough wiper. I fart in your general direction. Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries."

  2. Iannucci // June 17, 2009 7:59 AM  

    I would think Marco would be better suited for Glengarry Glen Ross quotes. "Second place is nothing..." and "Second place is a set of steak knives..." are eerily similar.

  3. Anonymous // June 17, 2009 10:52 AM  

    Oreo is the typical lazy man faking his existance as a journalist. He is complaining about nothing. If he was so talented as to get our attention with his work, he would have built the relationships necessary. And he singles out a few teams that give him what he wants, but they are only using him for their agenda.

  4. Bash // June 17, 2009 11:19 AM  

    It amuses me how anonymity makes people talk and act all big around here sometimes. It would also be amusing for the author of that last one let us know how they are an expert on this topic. Name and affiliation, please...

  5. John in Speedway // June 17, 2009 2:52 PM  

    People made a big deal of "fun-tastic" but in my opinion, Helio was saying "fantastic" but he sort of has just a slight Portugese accent. I don't know, maybe I'm the only one who noticed he has an accent... Come on people.

  6. Thelma Lou in Kathmandu // June 17, 2009 6:57 PM  

    Bash (IF that's your REAL name),

    Please, anyone can post with any number of fabricated names and locations---it does NOT validate their comments any MORE than an Anonymous.

    The person was merely stating their personal observations. Get a grip.

  7. AZZO45 // June 17, 2009 9:15 PM  

    I'm fine with "super nice" Helio.... Tell Oreo to pi$$-off (is that in the GGR vein or too Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels??? :) :)

    As for Marco & GGR.... I would LOVE dad Michael to channel Alec Baldwin & say:

    "Some 1st Places & you win a 2010 F**KING Honda Dallara! 2nd Place you get those steak knives!! 3rd Place, you get the F**K outta AGR my son!!!

  8. Iannucci // June 17, 2009 9:25 PM  

    Listen, AZZ045 - That watch Marco wears costs more than you car. He made $970,000 last year. How much you make? You see pal, that's who he is, and you're nothing.

    (Good grief, I can't believe I'm playing along with GGR quotes...)

  9. Bash // June 17, 2009 9:35 PM  

    "Thelma," I have a firm grip... on my amusement. Sorry you didn't grasp that. :p

  10. The SpeedGeek // June 18, 2009 10:43 AM  

    Hey, Bash, don't you know that all the cool kids are signing in anonymously and making crazy unfounded, unjustified statements about respected (with good reason) professional journalists? Just like this.

    Curt Cavin is a no talent hack and oughtta be fired! Ooh, first they ought to run over him with a leftover Camaro 500 pacecar! No, wait! They ought to give him a viking's funeral on a raft piled with unsold copies of the Indy Star!

    See, wasn't that fun? Oops. Forgot the "anonymous" part.

  11. AZZO45 // June 19, 2009 11:45 AM  

    Jeff: I was playing the role of his Dad, Michael & so I bought that freakin' watch for him (& I can take it back, eh?) !!!!

    Oh yeah & his step-mom takes him to Playboy parties for his girlies.... that's how much he makes brother! What I GIVE him... :) :) :)