No. 951
June 20, 2018
 

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Peter DeLorenzo has been in and around the sport of racing since the age of ten. After a 22-year career in automotive marketing and advertising, where he worked on national campaigns as well as creating many motorsports campaigns for various clients, DeLorenzo established Ujian-nasional.info on June 1, 1999. Over the years DeLorenzo's commentaries on racing and the business of motorsports have resonated throughout the industry. Because of the burgeoning influence of those commentaries, DeLorenzo has directly consulted automotive clients on the fundamental direction and content of their motorsports programs. DeLorenzo is considered to be one of the most influential voices commenting on the sport today.

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Fumes


Monday
Apr212008

FUMES #442

April 23, 2008

Danica's first win couldn't come at a more perfect time for the IRL.

By Peter M. De Lorenzo

Detroit.
Graham Rahal's scintillating win in St. Petersburg a couple of weeks ago probably did more for the new IndyCar series in terms of unifying its fan base than any formal legal agreement could have. And now, with Danica Patrick's breakthrough win at Twin Ring Motegi, for the first time in a long time major league open-wheel racing in North America has something that until just a short while ago seemed beyond the realm of possibility: serious momentum.

It's hard to overestimate the impact of Danica's first IndyCar win, but we were reminded of the power of the Danica brand when news of her triumph splashed across every news source imaginable late Saturday night and into Sunday morning. The morning news shows, normally oblivious to racing unless there's a major wreck to show and talk about, placed the news of Danica's win front and center on their broadcasts. Let's face it, other than the Indy 500, open-wheel racing in this country garners minimal national coverage. But in three short weeks - with the youngest winner and the first female winner in IndyCar history becoming top news stories - open-wheel racing has been operating in the rarefied air of racing coverage usually only reserved for NASCAR's marketing machine.

Personally for Danica this win will, of course, change everything. Because after having been discovered by Bobby Rahal, Patrick's potential has been there for all to see, but there was a growing feeling in the garage area that this was the year she had to deliver to avoid falling into any unfair comparisons with a certain faded Russian tennis player. Not that Danica ever deserved to be mentioned along with that photogenic but underperforming celebrity, because Danica is a racer through and through, and I, along with a lot of other observers, believed she had the talent and more important the will to win in the toughest open-wheel racing arena outside of F1. And now Danica is not only an IndyCar driver, but the novelty act component of her rise to stardom is buried once and for all, because she is in fact an IndyCar winner.

So as the IRL tries to make its way as a unified series now that the dual Twin Ring Motegi and Long Beach weekends are completed, the winds are - for the first time in a long time - filling major league open-wheel racing's sails here in the U.S. Now it's on to Kansas, where you can bet the gate will be positively impacted by Danica's win, and then on to Indianapolis for the month of May and the single biggest race in the world.

For the IRL and open-wheel racing fans, Danica's first win couldn't have come at a more perfect time.

 

Publisher's Note: In our continuing series celebrating the "Golden Era" of American racing history, here is another image from the Ford Racing Archives. - PMD

mtrsptshist_1692_HR1.jpg 
(Ford Racing Archives)
Riverside, CA, 1967. Parnelli Jones' Lola T70 powered by a Ford Indianapolis DOHC engine at speed in the Can-Am race.