What's on Those iPods? Andersen Racing's Drivers Have Music Wherever They Go PALMETTO, Fla., May 18 - Andersen Racing's drivers definitely follow a beat, even when they're sitting still. Drivers often have to sit in the cockpits of their race...
What's on Those iPods? Andersen Racing's Drivers Have Music Wherever They Go
PALMETTO, Fla., May 18 - Andersen Racing's drivers definitely follow a beat, even when they're sitting still.
Drivers often have to sit in the cockpits of their race cars in the paddock for long periods of time while their engineers and mechanics scurry around them, making changes to their cars that take into account each driver's weight. Now and then the drivers are asked for input or to express a preference for one thing or another. Although crucial for success on the track, the process can be a bit boring for young people who live for going fast.
To make that time more fun, some of today's drivers listen to music through tiny headphones attached to iPods.
It's often rock, but Andersen Racing's drivers enjoy an amazingly wide variety of musical styles.
So, what's on those iPods?
"I like so many different things," said Conor Daly, one of the team's Star Mazda drivers and a son of noted racer and broadcaster Derek Daly. "Usually it's rock, but I also like some techno, electronic stuff."
Daly, of Noblesville, Ind., a MAZDASPEED Motorsports Driver Development pilot, termed the Australian-turned-British electronica-rock band Pendulum "pretty good." He also likes the Qemists, who are also from Great Britain.
But Daly is American after all, and rock-wise he likes Rage Against the Machine. "I also like Throwdown," the 17-year-old added. "They're more like heavy metal, but they're definitely good."
Daly can commiserate with teammate Richard Kent about the British bands, since Kent is from Clifton Reynes, England. "I like a huge variety of songs," Kent said. "Right now I'm enjoying the album from the film Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist.
"I also like Taylor Swift, because she's beautiful," he added, "but you can't use that.
"I guess I'm a bit obsessed," he admitted. "A friend of mine and I tried to add her as a friend on Facebook.
"If you put that in your story, do you think she'd come to one of our races?" he added with the enthusiasm typical of a 20-year-old male thinking about a beautiful and talented 19-year-old female. "Taylor, if you see this, I'll get you a full-access pass if you'll come."
A third Andersen Racing Star Mazda driver, Denis Navarro, naturally likes Brazilian music since he's from Sao Paulo. The 22-year-old may have been the only driver at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah on Saturday who is into sambas.
"For Brazilian music, I listen to Jota Quest and Maria Rita," said Navarro, who must be assisted by a translator but always remains positive and affable. "Maria Rita is a very famous Brazilian singer.
"For American music, I like Jason Mraz," he added. Mraz's influences include reggae, pop, rock, folk, jazz and hip hop.
The newest addition to Andersen Racing's Star Mazda roster is Canadian Mikael Grenier. He said he likes techno club music the best, but like the others he's very open to a wide range of styles.
"I like to listen to my iPod before a race," said the 16-year-old from Stoneham, Quebec. "It gets me going."
RLR/Andersen Racing driver Jonathan Summerton listens to his iPod a great deal too, but primarily on airplanes going to and from races from his home in Kissimmee, Fla. rather than while he's on the set-up pad in his race car.
"I like everything from country to rap, but mostly R&B," said Summerton, 21, the Firestone Indy Lights points leader going into Friday's Firestone Freedom 100 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. "My favorites change all the time. Right now I have country music from Dierks Bentley and Alan Jackson on my iPod, as well as dance music and Fall Out Boy.
"Usher is probably one of my favorites," added Summerton, who drives a car advertising team sponsors Allied Interior Products and Lafarge North America.
Another RLR/Andersen Racing Firestone Indy Lights driver, Mario Romancini, hails from Sao Paulo, Brazil just like Navarro.
"In my iPod I have everything from country and lounge to pop and rock, because I think every moment needs a different type of music," said Romancini, 21. "Usually I listen to R&B, hip hop and electronic, but I can't choose a favorite group because there are quite a few that I like very much."
When pressed, he said he listens a lot to John Mayer, The Killers and Jack Johnson.
"Before qualifying or a race, I like to listen to Era," he added. "It's more instrumental, but it really helps me to concentrate."
"I listen to everything," said another one of his teammates, Ireland's Ali Jackson, who uses his iPhone rather than an iPod.
Jackson, 20, appreciates the classics.
"Elvis rocks," he said with conviction. "He is one of my favorite artists. But I like everything from Linkin Park to Metallica; you know, all the usual stuff."
If many of these artists are unknown to older readers, don't fear. Remi Lanteigne, one of the Andersen Racing engineers who have to get the drivers' attention while they're "plugged in," has a suggestion from a slightly different era.
"I think I'll get them to download Survivor's 'Eye of the Tiger' from 'Rocky,'" he suggested with a smile. "Maybe they'd do even better if they listened to that before a race."
Not to be outdone, team co-owner Dan Andersen had a favorite too. "Mine is 'Money' by Pink Floyd, because it reminds me how little of it I have left after a race weekend," he said.