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Showing posts from May, 2013

The Decline of Politeness and Civility

"S'up?" said the kid.

Looking back, he was probably older than that. I'm reaching the age that anyone who doesn't have more than a few scraggly hairs on his chin is a "kid" who just finished puberty last week.

"Hello," I had said when I first saw him. So he said "S'up?"

It's a new word. It's a stupid word. And I'm probably overdressing it by adding in the apostrophe, like lipstick on a pig. More like a ponytail on a bald guy.


It's a question, a combination of "what's" and "up." I don't know if it's a new slang term, or if the people who say it are just too lazy to actually say the "what" first. Like it's such a heavy burden on their jaw, they're afraid their lower mandible will snap off if they talk too much.

While other people are growing increasingly alarmed about the deterioration of language — we've been alarmed about the deterioration of language…

Full Video of Tony Kanaan's Press Conference After Winning the 2013 Indianapolis 500

This is the full 25 minute press conference of Tony Kanaan, after he won the 97th Indianapolis 500. It was his 12th race, and he finally managed to grab a victory. The race finished under caution (yellow flag) after Dario Franchitti put the #10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing car into the wall with just a couple laps to go.

A few interesting things to note:

The last four winners: Kanaan, Franchitti (2012 and 2010), and Dan Wheldon (2011) had all raced together for Michael Andretti a few years earlier. And while they may not have been able to win with Andretti, it does say something about Michael Andretti's ability to pick winners.Kanaan told a story about his good luck charm, which was told at least twice during the ABC broadcast of the race.Car owner Jim Vasser has never won the Indianapolis 500, but did win the 1996 IndyCar Championship.The number 11 car — not just Kanaan, but any driver wearing it — has never won at the Indianapolis 500.
Here is the full transcript of the press confe…

Unofficial Results of the 2013 Indianapolis 500

Here are the unofficial results of the 2013 Indianapolis 500.

Driver, Team, Laps completed, Finish
1. Tony Kanaan, KV Racing Technology, 200
2. Carlos Muñoz, Andretti Autosport, 200
3. Ryan Hunter-Reay, Andretti Autosport, 200

4. Marco Andretti, Andretti Autosport, 200
5. Justin Wilson, Dale Coyne Racing, 200
6. Helio Castroneves, Team Penske, 200

7. AJ Allmendinger, Team Penske, 200
8. Simon Pagenaud, Schmidt Hamilton Motorsports, 200
9. Charlie Kimball, Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing, 200

10. Ed Carpenter, Ed Carpenter Racing, 200
11. Oriol Servia, Panther DRR, 200
12. Ryan Briscoe, NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing, 200

13. Takuma Sato, A. J. Foyt Enterprises, 200
14. Scott Dixon, Target Chip Ganassi Racing, 200
15. Ana Beatriz, Dale Coyne Racing, 200

16. Tristan Vautier, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, 200
17. Simona De Silvestro, KV Racing Technology, 200
18. EJ Viso, Team Venezuela/Andretti Autosport/HVM, 200

19. Will Power, Team Penske, 200
20. James Jakes, Rahal Letterman Lanigan R…

Sebastien Bourdais Hits Wall in Pit Row, Is Out With Bent Wheel

Sebastien Bourdais took himself out of the race when his breaks locked up as he was entering pit row. The locking brakes veered him sharply to the left, he hit the wall, and bent his front left suspension. If there were 20 more laps in the race — we're on 178 now — he might have been able to replace the suspension and get back out, but I'm doubtful they'll be able to do it in time.


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So Far, So Good - 2013 Indianapolis 500

I'm not one of those racing fans who wants to see wrecks. There are plenty who do, but that's not real racing.

I've been pleasantly surprised so far that this year's Indianapolis 500 has only seen four drivers drop out of the race so far — JR Hildebrand and Sebastian Saavedra for contact with the wall (and Saavedra for another driver's tires), and Buddy Lazier and Pippa Mann pulled out for mechanical reasons.

However, the ABC race coverage (we're getting the feed out of ABC 7 in New York City) has been less than forthcoming. No one I've talked to knows exactly why Lazier or Mann went out, or who Saavedra made contact with to get bumped out.

My friend and racing expert, Ken, told me he expected 15 cars to finish on the lead lap today, and so far, we're way ahead of his prediction. There are only four drivers out, and two drivers off the lead lap — Katherine Legge (6 laps) and Josef Newgarden (7 laps).

With any luck, this will remain a safe race and we wo…

Talking About Sport Sponsors Linguistically Awkward

Pay close attention during the Indianapolis 500, the Izod IndyCar Series, and the entire month of May, and you'll hear a lot of brand names being mentioned in relation to certain events, products, and entities.

James Hinchcliffe is driving the "#27 GoDaddy car."

Ed Carpenter is driving the "#20 Fuzzy's Vodka car."

Dario Franchitti and Scott Dixon drive for "Target Chip Ganassi Racing."

The drivers are using "Sunoco racing fuel," especially Townsend Bell who's driving the "#60 Sunoco car."

Sponsor-talk has become a second language to these drivers and media types, but to the average listener, it's a whole new language.

The issue is that every racer needs sponsors in order to have enough money to race. One of the things the sponsors get are frequent mentions during interviews, and photos with the drivers in their ball caps. I remember watching Franchitti being interviewed back in 2009 or 2010, and switching hats with ever…

Buddy Lazier Out With Mechanical Issues

It seems Buddy Lazier is now out of the race with some unidentified mechanical issues. He was never quite able to keep the pace, or keep his car working properly, and they're finally calling it quits. Lazier completed 44 laps, and put an end to his ride while everyone else was on lap 66.

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Sebastian Saavedra Out From Contact, Blocked Out By Unknown Driver

Sebastian Saavedra is your second driver out of the Indianapolis 500, after contact with a so-far unidentified car. Saavedra tried moving right before passing on the left, only to have the other make tire-to-tire contact with him, sending him into the wall in Turn 4. Saavedra coasted to a complete stop just past the exit of pit row. All he could say on the radio is "someone should get a penalty, someone should get a penalty."

At this point, the ABC feed has not told us what happened (that's what we're listening to in the media center), because as likes to say, "it's none of your business."

It was pretty minor damage, compared to the dramatic blowing-apart of the cars, but Saavedra is out for the day.

Also, even though Saavedra went out on lap 34, Katherine Legge needed 3 more laps to catch up with him.

The second edition of Branding Yourself: How to Use Social Media to Invent or Reinvent Yourself (affiliate link), and my other book, No Bull…

JR Hildebrand Goes Out on Turn 1, Lap 3

The weather has already claimed its first car today. JR Hildebrand of the #4 National Guard car slipped out of the very shallow groove in turn 1, just as lap 3 started, and hit the wall. Hildebrand looked like he was trying to decide whether to move in front of James Hinchcliffe in the #27 GoDaddy car, when his tires failed to bite on the pavement, and he smacked into turn 1.

My friend and former auto racing PR pro, Ken, predicts that there will only be 15 cars that cross the line on lap 200 at the end of the day (including cars that are a lap down, and ones that are out for mechanical and contact reasons). Since it's so cold here today — it's 62 degrees right now — we're not going to see a lot of rubber laid down on the track, which means no real groove for the cars to ride in, which means we're going to have a lot more of these slide offs.

Charlie Kimball is also having electrical issues at this point.

Ed Carpenter has lead for the entire race so far.

At 12:33, JR Hi…

Motor Sports is a Team Sport

Jim Harbaugh, former quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts and current head coach of the San Francisco 49ers, was in the Media Center a little while ago, talking about his chance to drive the Indianapolis 500 pace car this year.

He spent some time up in the media center answering questions, including one from me (Q: Do you ever see yourself coaching in Indianapolis? A: "We only support one organization, and that's the San Francisco 49ers.")

He was also asked about the similarity between motor racing and the NFL. His answer was a good one, and one that I think most people don't think about: motor sports is definitely a team race. While the drivers are the biggest part of whether a race is won or lost, the crew plays a big part in that, and not just on race day.

It's the crew who spends hour after long hour in the garage, disassembling and reassembling the cars. They're the ones who practice day after day putting on tires, adding fuel, and making sure the car …

The Speedway at Night is a Beautiful Sight

It's a badge of honor among the journalists covering the Indianapolis 500 to see who showed up early, and who's the slog who showed up late. Who's tough enough to slog it out without dropping? Who can show up so many hours before the actual start of the race, and still be alert enough to be doing post-race wrap-up by 5:00?

"What time did you get here?" is usually the first or second thing we say. It's a competition between everyone in the Media Center.

"6:00. It was just turning light out."

"I got here at 5:30. Got a great shot of the Pagoda in the dark."

"Jeez, I at least slept in the car."

"I grabbed a quick nap at my desk."

The TV crews show up because they start their morning shows, so they can give traffic reports, and reach the people who are awake at 6:00 on a Sunday morning. The radio guys are here, because they're doing traffic, and because this is what they've always done. The newspaper reporters aren&#…

Dean of American Motorsports Chris Economaki's Presence Still Felt in IMS Media Center

Chris Economaki, the Dean of American Motorsports, has a special place in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Media Center. It's the pole position. The place he occupied for decades covering the Indianapolis 500, and later, the Brickyard 400.

He's even so revered here in Indianapolis that they named the press conference room after him, down on the first floor of the Media Center. After every race, all the journalists gather in the Economaki Press Conference Room for the post-race interviews, as well as any interviews after accidents, as well as Qualification Day and special press conferences.

Economaki's career in motorsports journalism started when he sold copies of the National Speed Sport News newspapers at age to 13, becoming a columnist a year later, and finally becoming the editor by the time he was 30. He went on to become the owner and publisher some years later, turning out issues until his daughter, Corinne, took over until its last issue in March 2011. He was even ch…

A Solution to Intrusive Advertising

(Many of these blog posts originally appear as newspaper columns, including this one, which is why there are references to you reading this piece in a newspaper.)

I saw an interesting ad by a famous graffiti artist named Banksy. It's a lot of text formatted in the shape of a Coca-Cola bottle on a red background, raging against advertisers who constantly shower us with ads in public, and then complain when someone uses those ads for their own artistic purposes.

"They have access to the most sophisticated technology the world has ever seen, and they bully you with it," said Banksy's ad. "They are The Advertisers, and they are laughing at you. You, however, are forbidden to touch them. Trademarks, intellectual property rights and copyright law means advertisers can say what they like wherever they like with total impunity. F--- That. Any advert in a public space that gives you no choice whether you see it or not is yours."

(Update: In what may be an ironic twis…

2013 Indianapolis 500 Field is Full, But Not Final

As of 1:00 at the Indianapolis 500, the 9 remaining spots for the Indianapolis 500 have been filled.

25. (21) Josef Newgarden, 225.731 mph
26. (15) Graham Rahal, 225.007
27. (6) Sebastian Saavedra, 224.929

28. (55) Tristan Vautier, 224.873
29. (18) Ana Beatriz, 224.184
30. (63) Pippa Mann, 224.005

31. (41) Conor Daly, 223.582
32. (91) Buddy Lazier, 223.442
33. (81) Katherine Legge, 223.176

Driver Michel Jourdain Jr. — the Mexican driver with the French name — has not made an attempt yet. He has until 6:00 to take a shot at qualifying, and if he qualifies, Katherine Legge gets bumped, and she gets to try.

And that's the magic of bump day — the last driver gets bumped, gets a chance to qualify, and bumps the new #33, and so on. Once the gun sounds at 6:00, that's it. If a driver is on the track when the gun sounds, he or she gets to finish their attempt, which means it's nail biting time for the current #33.

I've seen bump days where the last driver got bumped, and days …

Day 2 of Qualifying for the Indianapolis 500

It's been a hard season for IndyCar racing. Dreyer and Reinbold Racing has said they're running in the 500 this year, and shutting down, because of a lack of sponsorship money. IndyCar CEO and fan favorite Randy Bernard was ousted, and Tony George tried to buy out the series. On top of that viewership is still declining for IndyCar racing as a whole, and everyone is trying to figure out how to bring fans back.

All of these difficulties have given us a limited field in the Indianapolis 500 this year. We have a field of 34 drivers and 33 available spots. All drivers, except for Buddy Lazier, have two cars, a race car and a backup; Buddy Lazier has one car.

After 24 drivers qualified yesterday, we have 10 drivers to fill 9 more spots.

The drivers we have remaining to qualify are
Sebastian Saavedra (Dragon Racing)Graham Rahal (Rahal Letterman Lanigan)Michel Jourdain Jr. (Rahal Letterman Lanigan)Ana Beatriz (Dale Coyne RacingJosef Newgarden (Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing)Conor Daly (A…

Day 1 of Qualifying for the Indianapolis 500

After a hard day of qualifying on Saturday, May 18, Hoosier Ed Carpenter found himself on the pole for the 2013 Indianapolis 500. We're seeing a lot of the same names we've seen in the past — Dario Franchitti, Helio Castroneves, Will Power, and Tony Kanaan — but we're seeing a few new names too, like Carlos Munoz, the rookie from Colombia driving for Andretti Autosport, and James Jakes, who's driving for Rahal Letterman Lanigan.

Here's the first 24 drivers for the 500. Today (Sunday) is Bump Day, where the remaining 10 drivers will compete for 9 spots.

1.  (20) Ed Carpenter, Dallara-Chevy 02:37.3689 ( 228.762)
2.  (26) Carlos Munoz, Dallara-Chevy 02:37.6581 ( 228.342)
3.  (25) Marco Andretti, Dallara-Chevy 02:37.7139 ( 228.261)

4.  (5) EJ Viso, Dallara-Chevy 02:37.7907 ( 228.150)
5.  (2) AJ Allmendinger, Dallara-Chevy 02:37.8264 ( 228.099)
6.  (12) Will Power, Dallara-Chevy 02:37.8342 ( 228.087)

7.  (1) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Dallara-Chevy 02:37.9614 ( 227.904)
8.  (3)…

Keeping Up with Language Changes

The English language is an ever-changing, malleable tapestry. It's always changing and growing. Words that never existed even ten years ago are now mainstream words that we use without hesitation. Words that existed three hundred years ago don't mean what they once did, or we stopped using them altogether.

Even the rules and styles we desperately cling to like a life raft, as our language roils and churns beneath us, change on a whim.

As a writer, I'm constantly studying language and its changes that have developed over the last nearly 30 years, since I was in high school. I've learned that we hold on to our favorite rules with a manic fever.

"You can have my Oxford comma when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers."

It's funny to watch people sputter in anger when you tell them a word's meaning has changed, or that a rule we learned in seventh grade English was never right in the first place. You wouldn't believe how mad people get when you tell t…

Ten Social Media Commandments

I've been a social media user and professional for the last several years, have made many observations over the years, and seen many trends come and go. Based on my experiences, plus pulling out my hair over the things that just make me nuts about Facebook and Twitter, I've come up with these social media commandments.

1. Thou shalt not act all "healthier than thou" and post pictures of healthy food you're eating, or try to make us think that it's totally enjoyable. We all know that people who have switched to soy bacon from real bacon die a little with every piece they eat. So a status update that says "Totally loving my soy bacon. Nom nom nom!" is a lie, and an abomination in our eyes. So is the soy bacon. Also, don't say "nom nom nom" unless you're Cookie Monster.

Sub-Commandment 1a. If you have to tell people that your healthier substitute food is "just as good" as the original food, that's code for "I cry my…