Helio Castroneves kneels at the bricks after winning the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
The Indy Racing League got a much needed shot in the arm with this year’s Indianapolis 500. There was drama, intrigue and triumph over tragedy, all the makings of a Hollywood movie.
Once again, the Andretti family was denied a Indy 500 victory. The brickyard is turning into an albatross, wondering when victory lane will welcome them. It is now 40 years since Mario Andretti won.
This year’s winner, Heilo Castroneves (shown above), had to endure a possible jail term to win his third Indy 500. Just 5 1/2 months ago, he was aquitted of most charges at a federal tax evasion trial. The remaining count was thrown out on Friday.
What I enjoyed the most was IRL’s attempt to get name recognition with many of their drivers other than Danica Patrick. There were a number of commercials featuring IRL drivrs, such as Tony Kannan & Marco Andretti.
I mentioned this problem in previous blogs before, how the sport wasn’t doing enough to get their drivers out in the open, similar to what NASCAR has been successful in doing. But, this is a good start for a division that has had a recognition problem. IRL has been relegated to having all their races telecast on Versus, a.k.a. the NHL.
IRL must continue to follow this strategy if the sport will continue to thrive. It would be nice to have a bit more competition for NASCAR.