Friday, June 06, 2008

the katherine heigl of indycar

There’s a reason Vitor Meira is most every IndyCar Series fan’s favorite driver who has never won. In 82 IndyCar starts he has had eight second place finishes-including two at Indy. He’s affectionately become known as the bridesmaid of IndyCar. (If I had any kind of graphic arts design skills I would insert a reworked 27 Dresses movie poster [here].) What’s more impressive about all of this is that he’s not on one of the “Big 3” Teams (Penske, Target-Gannassi, and Andretti-Green). He’s driven for second tier teams Rahal-Letterman and, currently, Panther racing.

Vitor always comes across as genuine. Like the nice guy who sat behind you in U.S. History class. The one who didn’t say much, but when he did everyone listened. And when he said something funny it was really really funny because of the source. Vitor is currently sponsored by the National Guard and you can tell he gets it. You can tell he is honored. You can tell he knows who the real heroes are and he wants to make them proud.

There is a Curt Cavin article that appears in the Indianapolis Star today that points to reason why Vitor is an admired fan favorite. (Read the entire article here.)

Meira was the driver of the Panther Racing car launched in the air during the Marco Andretti-Ed Carpenter crash with two-plus laps left. Meira shot a good 6 feet in the air, but instead of it being a disaster, he landed rather softly
on all four wheels.

The damage to the car was minimal, and Meira wasn't scratched, adding to his underground fan base. Wednesday, he was presented with his "Pilot Wings" by Indiana National Guard Maj. Gen. Martin Umbarger.

"You know 'Dukes of Hazard' and the horn goes off on the car?" Meira said. "Somebody put that (with the accident) on YouTube, and it's perfect.

"I think people follow me for things like that, but second (it's) because I try to treat them right, the way I'd like to be treated as a fan. I think that's why they wish me more even though I'm not in the spotlight all of the time."

Click here for the Dukes of Hazzard/General Lee enhanced version of Vitor's flight at Milwaukee.

No comments: