Hoops, racing and a good movie. What a weekend!
I'll begin with the NCAA Tournament. The Final Four is set, and you know who the big winner is? Under Armour. That's right.
The Maryland-based apparel company had to be ecstatic with South Carolina's upset entry into college basketball's marquee stage. Why? The Gamecocks upset Nike-clad Florida and, in doing so, join Nike clients Gonzaga, Oregon and North Carolina, which dons the Jordan brand, a division of Nike. The shoe wars are big business in college basketball recruiting and Under Armour provided Cinderella's glass slipper for what would have been an all Nike ball. UCLA joins Under Armour next season, so the battle is just heating up.
The Final Four is wide open, by the way. South Carolina defends well enough to have a chance, but I like Gonzaga's size. North Carolina may be the most talented of the four, but don't sleep on Oregon. Dana Altman is one of college basketball's brightest minds and just may game plan to keep Carolina on its (Tar) Heels.
Formula One opener intriguing: I watched the F1 Australian Grand Prix and was very entertained. I'm an energy drink guy, so I kind of like the Red Bull team. I've also long been an admirer of Fernando Alonso and am intrigued by the challenge he has presented to his McLaren team to up its performance. The biggest storyline, however, was presented by the NBCSN telecast team that pointed out Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes experiencing less tire compatibility than that of the Ferraris. That kind of innovative advantage is part of what makes racing so fascinating. I'm interested to see how that pans out.
As for Australia, mark that down as a Query bucket list item. I've been fascinated by life Down Under since I bought my first "Men at Work" 45 at Camelot Records in Indy. If you know what a “45” and a record store are, count yourself from my generation.
Hits keep coming for Hinchcliffe: I saw where James Hinchcliffe was the host for the Indianapolis Colts' cheerleader tryouts. It's been a charmed year for Hinch, one of the great ambassadors for the Verizon IndyCar Series. Good for him. I'd say he earned it.
Kimball’s trivial pursuit: Speaking of INDYCAR drivers, I've enjoyed a few trivia nights as a satellite member of a team captained by Charlie Kimball. Truthfully, I think they just needed someone who actually saw TV in the ‘70s, but it's been a blast. CK knows his stuff. My sources tell me he actually studies trivial facts in the moments he isn't focused on racing. It shows. He also kills it when it comes to obscure fruit and vegetable information. Did you know he grew up on an avocado farm? That background got us 10 points one night.
Time to “Get Out” for a movie: I saw the movie "Get Out" over the weekend. It's a good flick; one of those that all comes together in the end, like "The Sixth Sense." I won't ruin it for you, but Bruce Willis was dead the whole time.
Long Beach, here I come: I'm pumped for Long Beach. In addition to my Advanced Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network duties, I'm also doing some TV work for the Pirelli World Challenge. I'm very excited to watch that race. Long Beach is such a tremendous weekend at a historic venue. It also kicks off a flurry of April races for the Verizon IndyCar Series as things start to rev up. I'm strapped in and ready to roll.
Veteran broadcaster Jake Query is a member of the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network team and will offer his musings regularly on IndyCar.com.