You'd be surprised at how difficult it is to be positive as a member of the media. I mean, real positivity, not the artificial kind where you're basically blowing sunshine up someone's skirt.
It's true - the media tends to skew from neutral to critical, which is a result of several factors but largely because of a deep-seated fear that appearing to be too positive would result in accusations of favoritism, subjectivity, or bias. It also has to do with the fact that more people pay more attention to negative or critical stories than they do "good news" or complimentary reporting.
The upshot to this, certainly, is that dealing with the media is a chore for anyone who is a subject of their coverage. A necessary evil, to be sure - which is why there are so many media relations and PR people out there to act as buffers to the newsmakers.
Today, I am going to buck the trend. I am going to write something positive about every IZOD IndyCar Series driver - genuinely positive, not a brown-nosing butt-kissing plea for attention. Nicole Briscoe, wife of Penske Racing's Ryan Briscoe, seems skeptical about whether or not I can pull it off. I'm not saying it won't be tough, since there are some drivers I don't know and haven't met. But I guess we'll see what happens!
- Will Power: The king of maintaining an even strain. Reacts publicly to both success and adversity with grace and mildness.
- Dario Franchitti: Perhaps the best all-around driver in INDYCAR. Has a touch of the fanboy in him that lights up the room when it peeks out (see: driving Jim Clark's Lotus).
- Oriol Servia: An INDYCAR fan's artistic inspiration, from his love of Salvador Dali to the colorful style of his driving.
- Mike Conway: There's a nobility in quiet perseverance. When you see it, you honor it - which is why Mike Conway is earning those honors from fans and peers.
- Ryan Briscoe: Responds to criticism and doubt with a smile so infectious it should be registered with the CDC.
- Tony Kanaan: Believes that you should back up your words on the track; consequently, very rarely has to backtrack from what he says.
- Alex Tagliani: Loves hockey, which is an automatic A+ personality trait. That aside, a gregarious and personable French Canadian is always someone to treasure.
- Scott Dixon: Wit as dry as sandpaper, and absolute fearlessness when expressing his opinion... a potent and admirable combination.
- Graham Rahal: He comports himself with more maturity than peers twice his age, and buttresses that with a relentless optimism.
- Takuma Sato: Fast, brave, and compassionate. You'd never guess by his amiability that he used to race in F1.
- Simona de Silvestro: (Literally) cool under fire and not at all flummoxed when racing around the top drivers in the sport.
- Vitor Meira: Absolutely fantastic with fans and a trusted competitor.
- Marco Andretti: It would be tremendously easy in his position to abdicate personal responsibility for anything that doesn't go his way, but Marco has recently stepped up and taken ownership of his mistakes like a man.
- Justin Wilson: Being the "big man" in the paddock is not just a remark about his physical stature. Easy to look up to in all respects.
- Danica Patrick: She calls the shots for her life and career, and when she makes up her mind she sticks to it tenaciously. Still gets geeked out by racing even after years of playing the business side.
- JR Hildebrand: Fiesty and easygoing, a perfect example of why people love hanging around California guys.
- Helio Castroneves: A peerless ambassador for INDYCAR, with a grin and personality that is virtually impossible to resist.
- Raphael Matos: Mature, capable, resilient - quietly impresses by his commitment.
- James Hinchcliffe: One of those rare people that makes you feel like a buddy even if you barely know him.
- Sebastian Saavedra: Refuses to bow to the court of public opinion. His single-minded focus gets results more often than not.
- Charlie Kimball: A model of determination, races with diabetes, and absolutely refuses to make excuses.
- James Jakes: A good teammate - seems simple enough, but that trait is incredibly valuable in racing.
- Ryan Hunter-Reay: Takes ownership of everything he says and does. Honest even when honesty is not practical.
- E.J. Viso: Does not give up, even in the face of a staggering series of unfortunate circumstances.
- Sebastien Bourdais: When the planets align correctly, watch out - he will defeat you. Incredibly skilled and precise.
- Ana Beatriz: Approachable, accessible, adorable.
- Simon Pagenaud: Bad-ass without having to say it or act it. Lets his results speak for themselves.
- Paul Tracy: He will always give it to you straight, come hell or high water. You always know where he stands, and you never have to endure excuses if something goes wrong.
- Ed Carpenter: It would have been easy to make his name on family credit, but Ed pays with his own currency... and he has proven that it has plenty of value.
- Davey Hamilton: What he fought back from would have caused lesser men to retire outright. Absolutely refuses to listen to people say he can't do something.
- Alex Lloyd: A cheeky devil in the best sense of the phrase.
- Wade Cunningham: Even when opportunities are sparse, he takes his shots when they come and delivers the goods.
- Tomas Scheckter: Brash, doesn't mind being in your face. Has a personality that washes the dull, stale taste of modern athletes clear out of your mouth. And he can make you laugh even if you really don't want to.
- Pippa Mann: One of the few drivers who makes you feel like she's talking to you and with you instead of at you. Has unlimited ambition and wants to share it with you. Incredibly loyal.