Letterman Addresses How He Used Late-Night Platform To Promote IndyCar

David Letterman
David Letterman

Since becoming a late-night talk show host in '82, CBS' DAVID LETTERMAN "has talked motor sports better than anyone with such a platform," and almost everyone who is anyone in motor sports, including former IndyCar driver MARIO ANDRETTI on multiple occasions, has been invited to his show "to talk racing," according to Curt Cavin of the INDIANAPOLIS STAR.

Four-time Indianapolis 500 winner RICK MEARS "proudly recounts memories from appearances on Letterman's show," as do BOBBY RAHAL, JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, DARIO FRANCHITTI, TONY KANAAN, RYAN HUNTER-REAY and WILL POWER.

Letterman said, "They're nice kids, great kids. … Whenever we have a guy on people say, 'Geesh, that kid was fantastic,' and they are. They're worldly, very sophisticated, and it's a lot of fun for me."

Cavin noted most of the conversations on Letterman's show are "focused, a chance to draw the audience into the sport Letterman loves." Letterman said this is "by design." He added, "A lot of people don't know what these cars are, they don't know what they look like, they don't know what they're capable of and you want to give them a sense of what it takes to control one, what they've got underneath them. That's where the skill is, that's where the athleticism is, that's where the delight of the race is, to see these guys manipulate these machines." Letterman over the years was "approached about becoming a partner in a race team, but no deal was struck."

In the early '90s, he "surprised Rahal by saying he'd be open to joining his young team if the opportunity presented itself," and in '95, "it did" with the formation of Letterman Rahal Lanigan Racing. The amount of Letterman's investment "hasn't been revealed," but Rahal said that they have "always been near-equal partners." INDIANAPOLIS STAR.

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