With what feels like forever still to go before the IndyCar Series will even practice, not to mention start their season; fans, drivers, teams and the series can only work on building up the anticipation and buzz.
For the second year in a row, IndyCar will get a great assist in having its most popular driver featured once again in one of the most popular publications in the world: the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. This is great for Danica and the league as it brings attention to both without being negative or controversial. Its a well done/tasteful photo shoot and there is no denying Danica has a great body worthy of this kind of attention. Head here for the pictures/video of the shoot; some Q&A with Danica and even a behind the scenes interview during the shoot with Fanhouse.
As a fan of the IndyCar Series, I have to wonder; why is the Series missing out on much more that can be done here? Sure Danica's shoot will get some pub, but why is she the only one. Its no secret that 80-90% of IndyCar drivers are some of the most ripped bodies in sports. One only needs to see Helio Castroneves and E.J. Viso take their driver physicals to know these guys have bodies made for photo shoots. But why did I have to scour the internet and settle for driver physicals to find proof? Certainly Danica is not the only driver who is considered sexy; and surely she's not the only one who exists outside of the fire suit.
Why is Danica the only one being seen? I imagine partly because she may be the only one who has the big time Marketing & PR representation. Either the rest of the IndyCar field might not have the representation or even if they do, they are more prone to think about technological or race oriented opportunities and don't think about this kind of exposure, the Indy Racing League should!
The kind of demographic that can easily be reached with this kind of PR is one in the same that Dancing With the Stars only slightly touched on. Grab this kind of opportunity and run with it. I can tell you many females I know, racing fans or not, would not miss the opportunity to see what's under those fire suits.
To a racing fan this idea may not make much sense, but the racing fan doesn't need the buzz and convincing anyway. A multiple-page spread on "The Drivers of IndyCar" in Cosmopolitan is not one that should seem silly or need much convincing; these guys and girls have the bodies, and most have the lifestyles to go for a great provocative photo shoot; simply tell the readers a few things about what the drivers like to do, how they train for the season, maybe a quick Q&A and just give readers the photographic goods.
It can go in any direction needed really; we've seen Dan Wheldon go all GQ, and it looks like Ryan Briscoe certainly has the capability. But take it a step further and let the ladies know Ryan Briscoe likes to do shirtless kayaking past the Sydney Opera House to stay in shape...
Bruno Junqueira, Vitor Meira, Tony Kanaan, Scott Dixon and I'm sure many more ride bikes do triathlons, marathons and the gamut of things; I'm sure it wouldn't be hard to get these guys to do some pull ups and likewise at the beach for a photo shoot to get the Series some additional notice.
E.J. Viso likes to make Wham-inspired music videos to document his workouts and likes to play beach volleyball...
Ryan Hunter-Reay likes turtles...Whatever, it doesn't matter. Come on IndyCar Series, the females of the world are waiting to see Will Power in some board shorts catching some waves in the sun...
Pictures by: Sports Illustrated, Ryan Pierse/Getty Images, ryanbriscoe.com, ernestoviso.com, ryanracing.com, brunojunqueira.com, danwheldon.com, & indycar.com