- John Oreovicz, Autos, Open-Wheel
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INDIANAPOLIS -- There's a common perception that modern racing drivers are personality-less clones, programmed to not say anything that could be perceived as controversial or even entertaining.
Just praise the team, thank the sponsors and the fans and beat a hasty retreat back to the motor home.
Well, every now and then, a glitch occurs and a driver or team principal says something with humor, edge or insight.
That was once again the case in the Izod IndyCar Series in 2010. There wasn't an instant classic along the lines of Joey Logano's "She wears the firesuit in the family," but there were a few zingers nonetheless.
So without any further ado, let's get right to the best quotes from IndyCar in 2010
• "You know how they say there are two kinds of oval drivers -- those who have hit the wall and those who haven't? Well, there's drivers who have had to answer Danica questions and those who haven't. And now in NASCAR they're getting a taste of what we got." -- Tony Kanaan on the latest wave of Danica-mania prompted by Patrick's foray into stock car racing.
• "I've never been outside the top 10 on a finish or qualifying, so um it's not my fault. The car is not good." -- Danica Patrick's candid assessment over the Indianapolis Motor Speedway PA of her 23rd-place qualifying performance, resulting in a cascade of boos from the Indy 500 Pole Day crowd.
• "Shoot, I say one confident thing out there -- that it's not me -- and everybody boos me. I'm blown away. These people -- I mean, I don't know, maybe they all booed me before. I would think that some of them cheered for me before. I'm not a different driver than I was five years ago." -- Surprised by the negative reaction to her "It's not my fault" blast, Danica tries to backtrack when she meets the press a few minutes later.
• "We've had our times together this year at Indy and Texas and Iowa. This was not a great year for teammates getting along and being buddy-buddy. He definitely raced me hard here tonight. But the point is that I beat him and that's all that really matters." -- Patrick says one more confident thing after a tense battle for second place at Homestead-Miami Speedway with teammate Kanaan ultimately resolved in her favor.
• "Danica and Tony aren't as congenial as normal in good years. You know how drivers are -- when you're not running good, you're not feeling good." -- Andretti Autosport general manager Tom Anderson on the strained atmosphere on the team.
• "It all boils down to the driver. You need a little luck, but you can make a lot of mistakes when you have a fast driver." -- Team Penske's Clive Howell explains another win by Will Power.
• "People say he's been choking, but the way I look at it, he's been doing a fantastic job. The team choked. That's their deal, not his.
He's done a hell of a job." -- Scott Dixon defends Power's defeat in the championship to Franchitti after Power lost a 59-point lead with four races to go.
• "You definitely look back and review the year and think of where you can be stronger. I never stop thinking about motorsport. I never stop talking about it. I love it and I'll come back stronger next year." -- Power serves notice for 2011.
• "The trouble with this style of racing is sometimes it's either how brave or how stupid you want to be. I'm just glad everybody got out of here in one piece tonight." -- Three-time series champion Dario Franchitti discusses IndyCar racing on 1.5-mile tracks like Chicagoland Speedway.
• "It was like a football game out there -- everybody was hitting each other and it was getting nasty." -- Hunter-Reay after the incident-marred Toronto street race.
• "IRL has a negative connotation since the divorce [from CART/Champ Car], whereas IndyCar is known around the world." -- IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard on why he wants to get rid of the IRL moniker.
• "I live in Detroit -- I was just trying to do my job." -- Roger Penske, after practically single-handedly organizing Chevrolet's return to Indy car racing as an engine supplier.
• "I see a lot of improvement. The shows are great. I'm a fan of Indy car racing too. I've learned how to TiVo everything so we don't miss a race now." -- NASCAR ace (and former IRL champion) Tony Stewart likes what he sees in modern Indy car racing.
• "The stock car doesn't do much very well. It's very simple. It's got '70s chassis technology and it's just old." -- Danica probably didn't make many friends in NASCAR management with that comment.
• "We in the racing industry need to be bold in meeting and demonstrating tomorrow's technology and innovations, showcasing what can be achieved as we embark on a new era of efficiency. In order to keep the sport of auto racing healthy, it's going to take our collective efforts." -- Some common sense from Chip Ganassi.
• "Man, I said it once, at Detroit in 2008, and I'll say it again. I have nothing smart to say. The only thing I can say is 'Talk to my attorneys.'" -- Helio Castroneves was not a happy man after losing the Edmonton GP after being penalized for blocking. It was the second time in three years that Helio's on-track weaving cost him a race.
• "I was trying not to hit him because we have to fly home together. It was going to be an awkward flight if that happened. But now I'm gonna make fun of him on the plane on the way home for sure." -- Kanaan dodged Castroneves on the track on the way to victory at Iowa Speedway and apparently earned the right to lampoon his friend and rival.
• "I got to meet John Force -- how cool is that? He's like Jackie Stewart in cowboy boots!" -- Franchitti on meeting drag racing royalty.
• "He could completely kick the ass of anyone I've ever met and he's possibly one of the toughest guys ever in racing. He looks like he's made out of granite. I'm glad I didn't have to race against him because he would have definitely kicked my ass." -- Franchitti on meeting Parnelli Jones.
• "It was a lifetime dream to drive that car, and to drive it here at the Speedway was incredible. Today was about enjoying the sensation and everything that was going on, and that was really cool." -- Franchitti on driving his hero Jim Clark's car, the 1965 Lotus 38.
• "I think this year I broke my own record. Last year I ran 12 laps of practice, this year I ran seven laps. So next year I think we'll go straight to the car for qualifying." -- No one gets up to speed at Indy faster than Bruno Junqueira.
• "Obviously I'm a little bit numb right now, disappointed. The team did everything they could. I drove the wheels off it. I was on the verge of crashing every corner. And I don't know what to say." -- Paul Tracy, normally racing's best quote, is rendered speechless by his failure to qualify for the Indianapolis 500.
And maybe that's a good way to end the year in quotes.
John Oreovicz covers open-wheel racing for ESPN.com.