SBD/March 27, 2013/Leagues and Governing Bodies

IndyCar Could Use St. Pete Race Winner James Hinchcliffe To Help Revitalize Series

IndyCar driver James Hinchcliffe “offered fans a much-needed fresh face in the winner’s circle at Sunday’s opener in St. Petersburg, Fla.,” and series officials are “hoping it won't be his last,” according to Anthony Schoettle of the INDIANAPOLIS BUSINESS JOURNAL. If Hinchcliffe “continues to race past the big boys at Penske Racing and Ganassi Racing, he could someday be on the radar beyond the world of motorsports.” But IndyCar officials “will have to promote Hinchcliffe to reap the benefits of his recent success,” and driver promotion “hasn’t been a strong suit” for the racing circuit. Hinchcliffe is “not a cure-all for IndyCar’s challenges,” but featuring a few winning drivers like him “can only help.” In addition, he is “good for his sponsor” Go Daddy after he replaced Danica Patrick last season. He “might not have Patrick’s sex appeal, but he gives Go Daddy something she never could -- a driver who is good enough on ovals and road courses to contend for the overall IndyCar title” (IBJ.com, 3/26). In Toronto, Dean McNulty wrote under the header, “James Hinchcliffe’s Indy Win A Breath Of Fresh Air.” Team Owner Michael Andretti said that Hinchcliffe's win “accentuates the fact that the series has personalities and that should translate into more fans watching on television and in the stands” (TORONTO SUN, 3/26). USA TODAY’s Nate Ryan wrote Hinchcliffe has “the magnetic personality that a struggling series is desperate to promote in order to regain its mojo.” Voted the series' most popular driver last year, Hinchcliffe is “charming, engaging and occasionally goofy.” His win should “be a major stride toward brand identity -- for both Hinchcliffe and IndyCar” (USATODAY.com, 3/24).
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