To the Indycar series victor belongs the spoils. And the media attention. And the interesting marketing choices. Behold, Simon Pagenaud cheerfully playing the self-deprecation card.
From the opening seconds, you know where this is going, and yet you know you still want to watch. Credit Pagenaud with butchering the “Southern” accent with such cringe-inducing flair and he doesn’t seem to mind one bit. Good grief, he looks like he’s even having fun. And why shouldn’t he? He’s the reigning champion, racing for the top team, and he’s sitting in solid position to repeat after the first race of the season (which was so long ago it’s easy to forget that he finished second at St Petersburg).
Here’s the burning question – is this appealing to folks in Alabama? Is it fun? Yes. Does it showcase driver personalities? Definitely. But does this make the good folks around Birmingham want to buy tickets? It’s one thing to get people to spend a minute watching a one-joke video, but does charming Simon making someone want to buy a ticket to a road course race for cars “that look like a plane that ain’t got wings” (which is. . .debatable). As Simon himself asks, “How does zis work?”
Then again, maybe that question isn’t so burning. We all know the draw for this event isn’t unusual accents or car-planes. It’s these two words: gorgeous facility. Broadcasters and writers trip over themselves about how delightful and de-lovely Barber Motorsports Park is, and it may very well be, but it does get to be a bit out of hand (read: “drinking term”) every year. I mean, my hometown track is in the middle of the desert. Next to a hill covered in cacti. And rattlesnakes. And the Indycars go 190 miles per hour here, thankyouverymuch! Take THAT, gorgeous facility!
(“PIT THIS LAP! PIT THIS LAP!!” – The Spotter)
And with that, I’m fixin’ to wrap up this post right about now.
Final Lap: Speaking of butchered American accents, here’s the late Dan Wheldon having similar success attempting to shout like R Lee Ermey. Because anytime Wheldon can be worked into a post he will be.