By Michael Carney and Jordan Kalt
Determination, endurance, success. Before an investor was even interested in making Indy Eleven a reality, these characteristics were at the heart of a movement that envisioned a soccer club named “Racing Indy FC” coming to the Circle City. Soccer was set to become a new love for Indianapolis while racing, of course, is something the city has held dear for a very long time.
Since 1911, the greatest spectacle in racing has been found in Speedway, Indiana. Over the last few years, another great spectacle has developed in Michael Carroll stadium. Though the club did not end up adopting a moniker that explicitly referred to Indianapolis’ racing roots, the checkers are still fully on display in the Brickyard Battalion.
Now that the historic 100th running of the Indy 500 is two days away, we have decided to pay special tribute to Indy Eleven’s racing roots with the following piece.
The best way to go about this might be to editorialize, spend countless hours researching the Indy 500, our club’s inception and aspirations, and then draw meaningful connections between the cultures of racing and soccer.
Instead, we’ve chosen to follow the inspiring example of Colin Falvey and Nicki Patterson. For those of you who don’t know, Colin and Nicki (besides being incredible players in their own right) have established quite the bromance during their time playing in America. “Falverson”, as they confidently refer to themselves, have taken the Indy scene by storm with their complicated and reportedly disgusting trademark cocktail, their sharp wit, and fierce on-field play. We thought, ‘why should Colin and Nicki have all the fun?’ Other Boys in Blue deserve celebrity couples names, too, and the fame that comes with them. Well, who better to provide a boost in popularity than a partner in speed; an Indycar driver. Using a highly sophisticated matchmaking algorithm, we have determined the perfect racing buddies to pair with some of our favorite Indy Eleven players.
Duke Lacroix and Arie Luyendyk as “Dukeldyk”
The name may be the most inadvisable choice we’ve made since that time “water skiing” behind a snowmobile on that frozen lake in northern Wisconsin, but…
There’s more to Duke and Arie than meets the eye. They may be small, but they’re fast.
Anyone who has seen Duke on the field at an Eleven match knows he sets himself apart by zipping along at an alarming pace, something Luyendyk himself was known for. The Flying Dutchman and his wavy hair won the Indianapolis 500 twice and his average speed record stood until 2013. In 1996, he completed a one lap average of 237.498 mph and a four lap qualifying average of 236.986. Legend has it that he could have gone faster, but his human element told him to slow down.
Jon Busch and Juan Pablo Montoya as “Pablo Buschy”
The older these two get, the better they become.
Busch is a seasoned veteran who has plied his trade in many different places, including Columbus, Chicago, and San Jose. Accolades abound for the diminutive-yet-dastardly keeper, winning the Supporters’ Shield multiple times, setting club records, and even attaining MLS Goalkeeper of the Year honors in 2008.
Montoya has competed in Formula 1, NASCAR, and the IndyCar series, winning famous races such as the Indy 500, Grand Prix of Monaco, and the 24 hours of Daytona. His old school approach as an aggressive and clean driver makes him a regular fan favorite.
These two seem to still have a few years left in the tank. Who knows, perhaps the partnership will extend both athletes’ careers. Either way, we expect Pablo Buschy will go on to positively affect both sports once their time on the track and field is over.
Brad Ring and Ed Carpenter as “Carpe Et Rings”
Magnetic and brimming with charm, these devoted family men are the envy of single women everywhere. The two Hoosiers are our lock for a show-stopping duo.
A veteran of the Verizon IndyCar Series, Ed Carpenter is a local boy, hailing from the heart of Speedway itself. The stepson of Tony George, he has carved his own name in burnt rubber as an expert on ovals and a team owner.
Brad Ring, of course, earns the “Hoosier” name by way of Indiana University and is a well-traveled athlete in his own right, making his way back to Indy after stints with the San Jose Earthquakes and Portland Timbers.
Together, the blonde pair will wreck the competition with their good looks and easy, Midwestern grace.
Make like you’re in the NFL and seize the rings, boys.
Dylan Mares and James Hinchcliff as “Mayor Maresy”
Here are two newcomers with lots of promise. They’ve faced disappointment in their early days, but are now back on the rise.
Hinchcliff, also known as the “Mayor of Hinchtown” has been racing in the IndyCar Series since 2011 and has four wins to his name. Dylan is similarly new to the professional side of his sport, playing for the Indy Eleven since their inaugural season in 2014.
Last year, Hinchcliff suffered a life threatening injury in a crash at the Motor Speedway and has bounced back by claiming the pole position for the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500. At the beginning of this year, Mares struggled to find his place in a newly revamped lineup since coming off a severe knee injury, but has recently found himself back in the starting eleven.
Critics may have written the pair off, but a comeback is clearly in the works.
We hope you enjoyed the lighthearted change of pace. Don’t forget to kiss the bricks—on the track and on the field.