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DATE News (chronologically)
07/10/13
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Turbo movie well received by IndyCar and IMS staff (Update) UPDATE A reader writes, Dear AR1.com, It disgusts me to see the current IndyCar brass fawning all over the Turbo movie.  It will probably be the best thing that has ever happened to IndyCar.  And what did they do to the man (Randy Bernard) who put the deal together and made it happen?  They fired him!  Not one of them even mentions his name and gives him some of the credit.  I'm done with IndyCar. Diane, Disgusted in Ohio

07/10/13 Turbo has started its engine.

That’s the snail and the movie, a tandem that stands to give IndyCar and Indianapolis Motor Speedway a significant boost in visibility.

DreamWorks’ animated production officially premiers tonight in New York, with Indianapolis 500 winner Tony Kanaan and reigning IndyCar Series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay expected to join actors Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson and Michael Pena at the unveiling. 

About 250 IMS Corp. employees actually got the first look at the film during a private 3-D showing at the AMC Castleton 14 cinema. Many of them had seen pieces of the production as it was being developed over the past year, but this was a complete presentation.

And it was well-received.

“It puts (IMS) in the most beautiful light,” said Mark Miles, the CEO of Hulman & Co., the parent company of IMS and IndyCar. “Indianapolis looks fantastic.”

Turbo, the garden snail character voiced by Reynolds, goes on an inspiring ride; from a tomato patch in Van Nuys, Calif., to Indianapolis as his dream of competing in the 500 becomes reality.

The movie’s visual detailing is magnificent, particularly as it relates to motor sports. From the BorgWarner Trophy to the track’s rough surface to the walkway that connects the pagoda and the media center to the Gasoline Alley garages, it’s as if the historic facility has come to life in art.

Victory podium is perfectly depicted, and the view from the pagoda suites overlooking the front straightaway is spot-on. Even the IndyCar CEO bears a resemblance to longtime company board member Jack Snyder.

“It’s how they captured things,” said Doug Boles, who today was introduced as the new IMS president. “I was mesmerized by that part of the story.”

Whether the movie becomes a national hit remains to be seen — its public debut is July 17 — but it’s fun, seemingly hip and, strange as it sounds, believable, with Turbo accidentally infused with a drag racer’s nitrous oxide. The snail with a big dream is affectionately called “a motoring mollusk.”

The movie’s villain is the reigning 500 champion Guy Gagne, a Frenchman, and the race’s international flair is prominent without being overbearing. But it’s pure Indiana, too, featuring songs with Jackson 5 flavor and IndyCar connections throughout.

Paul Page has a large role as the track announcer, but some of the other voices, including Will Power as an Australian broadcaster, are subtle.

The movie has several memorable lines, including Gagne’s insistence that “if the 500 isn’t going to put a limit on speed, it shouldn’t put a limit on spirit.”

The message coincides with IndyCar’s plan to resume the pursuit of record-breaking speeds by the time the 100th anniversary of the 500 is held in 2016.

At a point where Turbo is deflated by the competition of the cars, he’s given a motivational speech by Jackson’s character, Whiplash.

“Are you a car?” Whiplash asks. “Then stop driving like one.”

One of the few out-of-character moments is when Gagne sips a latte and signs autographs during a pit stop. That’s not what race leaders do.

Unlike many other sports movies, “Turbo” went to great lengths to portray realistic action. Former 500 winners Mario Andretti and Dario Franchitti assisted.

Franchitti recently called the detail of the movie “stunning.”

The writers even hit on the link between the sport and sponsorship of it. Turbo, whose actual name is Theo, realizes that his success on the track can have a direct effect on the sale of tacos made by his friend, and his backers — a nail salon operator, a hobby store owner and an auto repair mechanic — have their loyalty rewarded with more business.

Chevrolet, HP, Sunoco, Firestone, Verizon and AAA are among the IndyCar sponsors activating through the movie.

“I didn’t even count how many times you saw or heard someone say ‘the Indianapolis 500’ or ‘Indianapolis Motor Speedway,’ ” Boles said. “That was pretty neat.” Indy Star

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