Monday, February 18, 2013

An IndyCar Fan's List For 2013

Every year, I try to work on introducing new folks to IndyCar. I admit, my reasons are essentially selfish in nature--I love talking about IndyCar, and want more people to share in that conversation. Additionally, if I don't discuss it with other people, eventually my wife is going to be tired of my extended, unsolicited discourse on Why I'd Pick Stefan Wilson For My Firestone Indy Lights Team When I Win The Lottery, and banish me to sleeping on the couch. So, you see, it's good for my marriage as well. Sure, there's also the fact that it's awesome to see someone finally get what IndyCar is all about, but saving long-suffering wives is pretty important.

I started thinking about what I wanted to do in terms of this year's IndyCar season, and I think I have some pretty good goals in mind. With that in mind, so I made a list on the big things I want to accomplish this year:

1) Bring New Fans To The Indy 500
Every year, I try to get new fans into the Month of May, be it practice, qualifications, or the race itself. There's nothing like seeing that glow when someone finally understands what all the excitement and pageantry is about. Whether it's the cost of a practice ticket, or helping find someone their first seats for the 500, this is one of the best times of the year. 

2) Take My Daughter To Her First IndyCar Race
This will occur in June, when my oldest daughter heads to the historic Milwaukee Mile for her first full race weekend. She's been to IMS with me plenty of times, but never to the race itself. She's excited, I'm excited, and I can think of few better introductory races for a kid her age. This should be my favorite trip of the year.

3) Help Grow INDYCAR's Appeal For Kids.
With Turbo coming out this year, the time is well past for INDYCAR to feature more online resources for kids. Whether it's for INDYCAR Nation or another part of the site, there needs to be an online presence that is kid-friendly and accessible. Printable coloring pages, drivers answering questions from kids, age-specific tech interviews. We have a sport that kids should find fast, amazing, and ridiculously cool. Time to recognize that and grow that demographic. I will write emails all year, lobby the powers-that-be, and generally be a pain in the butt until something is done.

4) Trash Talk When Takuma Sato Or EJ Viso Wins A Race.
You might not know this about me, but for the last year in our family's Pick-A-Driver contest, I have chosen either EJ Viso or Takuma Sato as one of my three drivers for the race weekend. Oh, sure, the skeptics out there scoff, and I'm fairly certain our family's reigning champ (my 5 year-old daughter) sees me as a pitiable idiot, but I endure. For I have FAITH. Taku or EJ WILL take that checkered flag, and when it happens, I will do a horrifying, delicious Dance of Vindication in my living room. 

5) See A One-Off Underdog Kick Butt At The Indy 500.
There's really nothing I can do to make this one happen, but I am rarely happier than when someone the deck is stacked against either a) makes it in on Bump Day, or b) manages an awesome finish at the 500. I have a few drivers I wouldn't mind seeing this scenario happen to, but as long as someone unlikely makes good, my perpetual love for underdogs is rewarded. 

6) Somehow, Make It To Pocono.
I swore, when Pocono was announced on the schedule, that come hell or high water, I would make it to this race. My racing budget, outside of what I have announced? Zero. Will that deter me? Certainly not. I gotta see the return to the Tricky Triangle. 

7) Make It To More Mazda Road to Indy Events.
I usually see a fair amount of Firestone Indy Lights events over the course of a season, but I was seriously short on watching Pro (Star) Mazda and USF2000 races last year, despite the fact that ladder series such as Pro Mazda have some of the most exciting racing going. As much as I enjoy the Mazda Road to Indy, I need to ensure that my schedule for combined race weekends take them into account. 

More, please.
(Courtesy IMS Media)
8) Continue To Thank The Sponsors
I got some really neat responses from INDYCAR sponsors last year when I was part of the 33 Days, 33 Letters challenge. This year, I wanted to a measured approach throughout the season, identifying such companies on social media, and genuinely thanking them for their involvement. Whether it's GoDaddy, RC Cola, or Fuzzy's Vodka, I want them to know their time and investment has a direct effect on our family's purchasing habits.

9) Join In NewTrackRecord's Tenderloin Tour
My pal Mark Wilkinson is not only a man of letters and wisdom over at New Track Record, he also may boast of being the impetus behind the Indy Tenderloin Tour. If you need an example other than the 500 that God blessed the State of Indiana, I would direct you to the breaded pork tenderloin, which along with sugar cream pie, is essentially proof of His love.

10) Get My Son To Meet Scott Dixon
In my son's mind, Scott Dixon is the fastest human on the planet. Threatened only occasionally by his other favorite drivers, Dixon, by merit of driving a red car and because he is awesome, is the best, as my son will sagely inform you. I really think he'd be hugely impressed to meet one of his heroes, and there's a much better shot of him getting to meet Scott Dixon versus Batman or the Incredible Hulk (the other two parts of his 3 year-old Triumvirate of Awesome). 

Well, there it is. Perhaps not every item on that list will grow the sport, but they should all be a lot of fun. What does your IndyCar Fan List look like this year?


  1. After doing the quali weekend last year, anyone I hear is going to the race, I tell them to try and fit it in if they can, also afford it too!

  2. Thanks for the mention. You, my friend, are always welcome at any Tenderloin Tour stop. Tenderloins and iced teas all around, bartender!

  3. The Indy 500 is like the Mecca of racing. I had so much fun last year being there for the practices, fast Friday, Qualifications and the race. I met so many people that I had gotten to know in 140 characters or less. My last 500 had been in 1981, and I am saddened to think that I may not make it this year. I was truly amazed though that being at the 500 after all these years was not a let down. Like all the folks that keep coming back year after year, I am hooked good or bad on Indycar. I have been to just about every other form of racing... From the Baja 1000, to F1, to NASCAR, and they just don't feel the same as watching them come off of turn 4 at Indy headed for that yard of bricks.
    So what Zack said about bringing new fans to Indy... Just do it!
    And for your number 4... I too will be doing a Happy dance when that happens!

  4. I'm really hoping to make it to Pocono, Milwaukee, and Belle Isle at least. Not sure the budget will allow for all of them with the expense of moving next month but will still try.
    I really would like to make it to Indy for Pole day (weekend) too, but we'll have to wait and see.
    Would love to get to St Pete for the season opener but that's the weekend I'll be moving...I think.
    Oh yea, also would like ro make it back to Fontana again this fall. Had a really good time there last September.

    1. That's a pretty good list. I hear you on racing budget--gets tricky. :)

  5. After Sao Paolo 2011, Indy 2012 and Edmonton 2012, Taku's first IndyCar win is long overdue.

    EJ Viso's chances aren't as bad as some might think, either. At Milwaukee 2012 he led almost a whole stint on outright pace, for KV. With Andretti and Cannon he will be one to watch 2013.

    1. No, it isn't far-fetched. Yet some remain entrenched in a 2010 mindset when it comes to those two. I have faith they can win.