Seeking Someone To Cheer For In This Year’s Race? Look No Further Than These ‘Good Guys of IndyCar’
Don’t know whom to cheer for during this year’s Indianapolis 500? Not familiar with the names, don’t know the drivers?
You want to root for someone who’s cool, nice and, in general, a good guy, right? Not some jerk like Odell Beckham, Jr., or an immature child like Draymond Green.
Well, I know quite a few of the drivers, and here’s my Top 10 List Of Friendliest Drivers in the 2019 Indy 500:
1.) James Hinchcliffe. Sorry guys, he was the person who took Danica Patrick’s place in the Go Daddy car (tho now he’s in the Lucas Oil machine). But frankly, I would rather hang with him than Danica. I met him at a sponsor party one year at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. When that was over, he went with us to an Irish bar. That’s a good sign right there! While he wasn’t drinking, he was there with our group, hanging out as if he had been our friend for years. A few days later, he even stopped by PubClub.com’s World Headquarters in Manhattan Beach. He’s from Toronto, which explains in part why he’s so friendly. My racing insider tells me he’s got the natural talent to be one of the best drivers in all of racing. He’s had bad luck at Indy but he’s a talented driver and a true gentleman. Starting Position: Middle Row 11.
2.) Helio Castroneves. This guy is always laughing and bouncing around so much, you’re tempted to think he’s fake. But he’s not. He’s genuine, as pure as they come in life. What you saw on Dancing With the Stars is not an act, it’s the real deal. I had gone few years without seeing him, and then upon running into him again, he gave me a big handshake, and it was as if all those missing years were suddenly removed. With all the people he had met and all the stardom he had achieved in that time, for him to acknowledge a face familiar from years past says all you need to know about him. I do, however, miss getting Christmas cards from his beautiful Brazilian sister, Kati. Starting Position: Outside Row 4.
3.) Tony Kanaan. Coming up the IndyCar ladder, Kanaan was a teammate of Castroveves and together the two Brazilians entertained the paddock as much as the racing. His antics continued throughout his career and as a result, he became a fan favorite when the world got to know him after he won the Indy 500 in 2013. Starting Position: Inside Row 7.
4.) Graham Rahal. Son of legendary driver Bobby Rahal, Graham is easy to like. He always seems to be smiling. If you’re looking for a little flashback, his dad won his only Indy 500 in 1986. Starting Position: Middle Row 6.
5.) Sebastian Bourdais. I’ve actually driven him through Los Angeles in my car. You won’t find a more polite Frenchman anywhere. And no, that’s not an oxymoron like “jumbo shrimp” or “postal service.” Sebastian is indeed polite, even a bit shy (though he’s a heck of a driver, too). In short, he’s just a great guy. Starting Position: Inside Row 3.
6.) Oriol Servia. The always jovial Spaniard has invited me to go party with him in his native Barcelona. Repeatedly, which means it’s not just, well, “idle” talk. Why have I never taken him up on his offer, by the way!? Starting Position: Inside Row 7.
7.) Scott Dixon. He’s a good friend of Oriol. In fact, they both sat across from me at the Long Beach Grand Prix media luncheon and were joking around the whole time. They cracked up the table by making fun of each other as the announcer read off their driving accomplishments. This is quite a change for Scott, who was shy and dry when he arrived in IndyCar from New Zealand about a dozen years ago. By the way, he’s a Kiwi but was born in Brisbane. Hmm. Kiwi or Aussie!? I’ve got to ask him about that sometime. Starting Position: Outside Row 6.
8.) Takuma Sato. You may not know this guy but know this: he’s always smiling and has a great personality. While he was in Long Beach for an advance press event, I took him to watch an international sailboat race taking place at the same time and he was so into it he nearly fell out of the dingy standing up on the side to get photos. Starting Position: Middle Row 5.
9. ) Will Power. The man with the headline writers’ dream name is an affable Aussie, easy to get to know and just as easy to like. Starting Position: Outside Row 6.
10.) Ryan Hunter-Reay. I’ve done several press event with Ryan and have been impressed with his calm and quiet personality. He’s a pretty nice guy who doesn’t make a big deal about big things. That’s a rare trait for an athlete. Starting Position: Inside Row 8.
So there you have it. When you turn on the Indy 500, Sunday morning at 12:45 p.m., on ABC, and see one of these drivers in the lead or challenging for the win, you won’t have to wonder if he is worthy of your cheers. Gentlemen – and ladies – start your cheering!