A popular new feature on INDYCAR social media channels in 2021 is the “Where Are They Now? video interviews with prominent former INDYCAR personalities, hosted by Dave Furst.
The INDYCAR Writers’ Roundtable panelists have enjoyed these interviews as much as the fans, and the series spawned today’s question.
Today’s question: Of all the living former INDYCAR drivers, which one are you most interested in knowing “Where are they now?”
Curt Cavin: My mind is literally racing with names such as Nelson Piquet, Davy Jones and Alessandro Zampedri, but I’ll go with a driver who had a more significant impact on the sport. Teo Fabi was a rare rookie Indianapolis 500 pole winner in 1983, and that green No. 33 Skoal Bandit March/Cosworth he drove that year was one of my favorites. Fabi also drove another beauty, the Foster’s-sponsored Porsche in 1990. For those who don’t remember the Italian who first was a downhill skier, he excelled seemingly everywhere. In addition to winning the pole at Indy, he was a pole winner at Milwaukee (twice), Michigan and Phoenix, plus the road courses of Laguna Seca, Portland, Riverside and Mid-Ohio (10 poles in all). Pocono was the first of his five wins – two came on ovals, three on permanent road courses. And how’s this for versatility: In 1984, Fabi finished on the podium in CART and F1 races.
Zach Horrall: There are a lot of mid-2000s and 2010s driver from which I want to choose. I’d watch a whole series just on that era! Tomas Scheckter, Mikhail Aleshin, Sebastian Saavedra and many others come to mind. But I’d love to catch up with Patrick Carpentier and see what the Canadian open-wheel driver is up to these days. He had a fine CART career, racking up five wins – at Michigan, Cleveland, Mid-Ohio and two at Laguna Seca. He also scored five poles and 22 podium finishes. Surprisingly, he has just one Indianapolis 500 start, which resulted in a 21st-place finish in 2005. What I admired most about Carpentier in his day was his willingness to try just about anything. He raced open-wheel, NASCAR, sports cars and more, and I think that’s something still missing from motorsports today. I’d love to hear him reminisce about those days and the challenges of driving so many different types of cars. Quick, someone get him on a Zoom chat!
Paul Kelly: Man, this is a tough one. But there’s one guy who always seemed to be on the brink of stardom in the 2000s in INDYCAR and then went home to Brazil to race stock cars – Vitor Meira. Talk about sudden impact – Meira won the pole in 2002 at Texas in just his fourth INDYCAR start and finished third in that race with Team Menard, for which he also drove in 2003. He then raced for Rahal Letterman Racing, Panther Racing and AJ Foyt Racing through the 2011 season, with a best championship finish of fifth in Panther in 2006. It still boggles my mind that Meira never won a race in 112 career INDYCAR starts, as he had 15 podium finishes. He also was strong at Indianapolis, with runner-up “500” finishes in 2005 with Rahal Letterman and in 2008 with Panther. Vitor was a nice, pretty under-the-radar guy during his time in INDYCAR, so it always seemed he was overshadowed, whether it was by fellow Brazilians and new INDYCAR arrivals Helio Castroneves and Gil de Ferran in his early days or teammate Danica Patrick in the 2005 Indy 500. I would love to know what he’s up to now.