IndyCar shoes are "the best drivers in the world!" Alright, perhaps overstating the case, in some respects, but they are hardcore badasses, nonetheless—no question. And, apparently, well enough thought of that they're routinely sought out for a gaggle of rides in the venerable Rolex 24 at Daytona Grand-Am race, each January.
This year is no exception. An amateurish tally says there are no less than 27 drivers in this year's field that have some sort of connection to IndyCar—from past ChampCar pilots, like Jan Heylen, to Mazda Road to Indy ladder climbers, such as Spencer Pigot.
So... if you find yourself idle, this weekend, park yourself in front of the box and watch the superstars, below, take the rest of the world to school. Coverage begins at 3:00 PM ET, Saturday the 26th, on SPEED. And you can get full deets on who's driving what, HERE.
@SantinoFerrucci First car race ever and won by 5 seconds. Stoked. Started P1 in 16 car field at Homestead.
When Dario speaks, I listen. I had never heard of Santino Ferrucci, but the retweet piqued my interest. I figured there was some sort of Scawtlund connection--perhaps one of his buddy's kids, or something, but not so.
A little investigative journalism (even this rooster [What up, Wade?!] can work the Internet) revealed Ferrucci shares the same management agency as Dario. And Allan McNish. And Pedro de la Rosa. And Sebastien Buemi. Huh. Fast company.
So, who is this kid? Well, we know he won his first car race, recently. And word on the street is he's a kick-ass karter. Well, let's not get carried away. McLaren signed him as a developent driver, but... Wait. WHA?! That's right. Like Lewis Hamilton, part deux.
And one other thing. He doesn't hail from Milan or Modena--Santino Ferrucci was born in...wait for it...Woodbury, Connecticut. And his parents' names are Mike and Val. Makes complete sense.
BREAKING. Literally just discovered this while writing:
@SantinoFerrucci Won SBWS homestead by 9 secs from last (14th) Had to start last cuz got taken out while in lead of prior race A great w/e winning 2 races
Let me get this straight. Modest, not, but Santino Ferrucci is a 13-year-old development driver for Mclaren who won a pair of races--going away--in his first weekend of car racing, and he lives in Connecticut? WINNING.
Get a load of this:
So, he hangs with Smoke, too? Redic...
Where's this kid been? He clearly has his eyes set on F1, which is cool, but maybe after he retires to NASCAR, he'll re-retire to IndyCar. Who knows.
All I do know is he's now solidly on our radar.
BTW: I would have titled this post, "The Great Santino," but GQ Magazine beat me to the punch. Read their take on the mighty Ferrucc, here.
If chatter is the telltale, the new animated movie, Turbo—which centers around a snail that aspires to race in the Indianapolis 500 and is scheduled for release in July—is the greatest thing to happen to the '500' and IndyCar racing since...well...whatever the last great thing was to happen to the Indy 500 and IndyCar racing.
But here's the rub. In my opinion, if open-wheel racing in America is to properly capitalize on the opportunity, IndyCar has to leverage it—proactively.
Just hoping a bunch of kids trot out to see it (which they will) and instantly become IndyCar fans (which is up for debate) isn't enough.
When you watched Hoosiers, did you start following high school hoops? Maybe. When you saw Ricky Booby take on Jean Girard, did you become a NASCAR fan? Perhaps.
The point is, the odds are better if you activate.
As much as I'd like to think there's a buzzing war room at 16th and Georgetown dedicated to making the most of the opportunity, I doubt there is. If I'm wrong, tell me—I'll be happy to take the hit.
For my part, here's four random ideas on how to convert Turbo fans into IndyCar aficionados.
What good is a turbo, if you don't light it up?
Give credit where credit is due
Pay to be in the movie. It's simple: Once the credits roll—or whenever—the 2014 Indy 500 logo pops up, with the date of the event, and the verbiage, "To learn more about the Indianapolis 500 and IndyCar racing, visit Indy500.com." Maybe throw in some authentic turbo whine for an aural element.
The Turbo trailer trailer
Loaded with flat-screens, blasting the movie's trailer; crazy cool graphics; simulators; some real Indy-cars; and more, it travels to all the races, goes to kids' museums, and other highly populated locales spreading the gospel of the almighty open-wheel car.
In Hollywood—of course. Get cars out there—old and new—like we did for IZOD [weeps]. Lots of drivers: Dario, Hinch, RHR, Helio, Sim, and Pip (a natural with the little ones) for starts. Be VISIBLE. Make people understand that IndyCar racing is a real-life discipline they can actually experience. It's obvious to us, but it may not be to them.
At the Speedway. Of course! Picture this: It's nighttime...the pagoda is replete in lights...there's a movie screen nearly the size of the one at Marco's crib—let's say, like 300' wide (work with me here)—positioned on the front stretch, and the stands are PACKED with anyone that wants to attend. FREE. This time, the stars come to us—red carpet, Entertainment Tonight, main-stream media, real-life snail races, whatevs! Again, your relating the imaginary to the real.
Will it work? Can we afford it? Hell, I don't know, I'm just the idea man.
Look. I came up with this fluff in an hour or so, when I should have been working. The point is, what if some peeps who are actually smart really thought about it? Then we make the most of the opportunity. But if you don't activate, it's a fail...and if you wait too late to activate, it's a fail. The planning needs to be done NOW, and the promotion needs to start NOW.
C'mon, IMS & IndyCar... We got this! Pssst... will relocate for funds.
Be the one-billionth person to watch the official Turbo trailer, here.