‘100 Days to Indy’ Premiere in LB

Sebastian Grewal

A Review, Alongside IndyCar Driver’s and Director’s Thoughts

The “100 Days to Indy” docuseries, directed by Patrick Dimon and executively produced by Bryan Terry for Vice, features various representations and qualities that are equivocal with IndyCar racing.

The series features “the bus bros” Josef Newgarden and Scott McLaughlin, who represent the IndyCar’s historically-successful Penske team.

Newgarden and McLaughlin have a tight relationship, best described as a “bromance.” And this bromance gets tested when they go on the track to face each other off every time.

Regardless, the goofy duo is deeply humanized off the track by featuring their personal lives, specifically when shown with their families in the docuseries.

Newgarden admittedly thought when he was seen in the show in an Uncle Sam costume with McLaughlin in an eagle inflatable costume that the 4th of July segment “would’ve stayed on YouTube.”

But this is what makes this production unique, for the script of the series relies on unexpected circumstances that the racers themselves do not know what to expect, specifically when relating to actual events to be covered, which involve actual outcomes. 

The Long Beach Acura Grand Prix pole and race winner Kyle Kirkwood relates to the unexpected nature of this production by saying that the production team is “following a few of us around, I think, I am one of them,” hinting at his role in an upcoming episode.

Kirkwood says, “What’s cool with what they do is that you do not even know they are there.” Kirkwood explains, “They were in our engineering room in one of the tests and we were just like, how did they get in here?”

Dimon feels this series will feature “no fabrication” and says the show “will be a six-part series leading up to the Indy 500.”

Dimon further says, “Each race will bookmark one of the episodes and episode one is a combination of telling what the sport is, introducing the drivers and showcasing the season’s first race.”

The first race was the focal point of the docuseries. The introduction featured great commentary from former late-night talk show host David Letterman, including the events that transpired during and after the race.

“I come from the sports documentary world, so I’ve had a lot of experience in many sports,” said Dimon. Who hopes his audience recognizes and “get a glimpse of all the driver’s lives, see what they are like during the highs and lows.”

Humanizing these sports figures is the ambition of what was showcased in this premiere. Dimon opens up further on that aspect of the show by saying that doing so “relies on the openness of those involved, obviously right off the bat,” which he explains “makes our jobs easier.”

Dimon adds that in this production, “We take our cues from the drivers and let them take the lead and create the narrative.” This initiative is evident in the sudden shifts and turns of the events broadcasted in this show.

In Saint Petersburg, McLaughlin describes his wife, Karly Poane,” enjoying herself,” drinking wine and watching McLaughlin race alongside the former Disney princess Ashley with her son in a peaceful yet tension-filled trailer, with both partners in hopes for their IndyCar racers to do well in the Firestone Grand Prix race. 

The rivalry is a realistic aspect of the reality involved with showcasing the IndyCar racing, for 28 racers, all determined to represent their teams well, having intentions to dominate positions continuously while traveling at astounding rates of speed.

Yet, two teams in the docuseries tend to be the focal point to keep an eye on in the Firestone Grand Prix and races alike, Team Penske and Chip Ganassi.

The choice is yours to decide.

But, with decades of advancement and popularization of the sport, including, most importantly, investments from other teams, such as Andretti Autosports and Arrow Mclaren, are both competitors to consider as legitimate contenders in them as well.

However, McLaughlin coming from a V8 racing background, is generally new to the sport of IndyCar racing; he is shown in the series on the 72nd lap of the Firestone Grand Prix along with Romain Grosjean, who both climatically collide into the tires to ruin their leads in the race. A race where Grosjean on the Acura Grand Prix podium referred, “should have been mine,” but regardless,mentions how in racing, “sometimes it doesn’t work out the way it should be.”

The camera in the trailer panned on McLaughlin’s wife, Poane, filled with disappointment and a wave of an upsetting response ensues. 

The humility of McLaughlin walking up to Grosjean’s team’s trailer is impressive, for the courage of McLaughlin admitting his wrong on his poor positioning on the track, which ruined the fate of both of them winning the first race of the IndyCar race series. It was an outstanding showcase of sportsmanship on McLaughlin’s part, that “100 Days to Indy” displays powerfully in the dramatic moment.

But considering such a low moment for the two racers, winners did come out of this unfortunate event.

From where he left off in 2022, Marcus Ericsson is racing with team Chip Ganassi and currently ranks number one in the 2023 NTT IndyCar Series. Ericsson, who also won the 2022 Indy 500, is described in this series to “drive with a chip on his shoulder” when regarding the discussion of being one of the best racers in the IndyCar series.

Ericsson was heroic in being showcased as the winner in the series premiere. Ericsson recalls, “This last race we were in, we were going 230 mph side by side with 28 cars on track; it’s pretty crazy, honestly.” The docuseries is what he recalls as “something I haven’t seen anything like this before, so I was excited to see the first episode.”

Ericsson further says, “It captures us drivers and also behind-the-scenes things that people don’t really see when they tune in to see the races.”

“The drama of Saint Petersburg and the build-up to the first race,” which Ericsson believes was “really cool to see, and I’m hoping they continue to stuff like that for the rest of the season; it’s gonna be a really good thing for the series and that is what we need.”

Ericsson says, “It was pretty easy to have them following us around and it’s pretty easy on the guys and the crew were professional.” With also noting that “I was trying to be as open as possible, to make sure the show got some good content there.”

This premiere has significant parts of plot twists that are motivated by no fabrication necessary, which is a great depiction of life beyond racing. The show’s story carries seamlessly and motivates the novice to the IndyCar race series from an observer into a fan.

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