“That was pretty mega.”
Those words were a simple, direct summary from Pato O’Ward following the special early premiere of “100 Days to Indy” at the Long Beach Convention Center on Wednesday night. Many drivers, team owners and NTT INDYCAR SERIES officials attended.
“It gets me pumped,” O’Ward said. “I’m just pumped, bro. That's what we want.”
Then O’Ward, driver of the No. 5 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet, went into more detail on the docuseries produced by VICE Media Group and Penske Entertainment, which showcases the NTT INDYCAR SERIES and the buildup to the 107th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge. The thrilling docuseries premieres from 9-10 p.m. ET/PT Thursday, April 27 on The CW Network.
“I think they did a phenomenal job,” said O’Ward, the championship leader through two rounds. “I really do. I mean, they showed everything as what it is. Nothing on there is fake. It's legit and raw. Like, yeah, INDYCAR racing: That's what it is.”
The authenticity of the six-part docuseries is not only intentional but also a byproduct of the quick turnaround time from filming a race weekend, according to Emmy Award-winning director Patrick Dimon.
“I think that sometimes the beauty is not having too much time,” Dimon said. “You kind of just get in, you film, and you're like, ‘Listen, this is the story, this is what we have, here are the results.’ And we got to edit this thing in the next six weeks, and we're on to the next episode. The story is unfolding as we are telling it versus sometimes, with these recap shows, you can go back, you can do pickup shoots and you can kind of change the narrative.
“This is like: ‘Hey, this is what happened in St. Petersburg. This is who we've filmed with so far. This is what we have to show and tell, so there's no getting around it.’”
Scott McLaughlin, driver of the No. 3 Team Penske Chevrolet, is one personality fellow driver David Malukas tabbed as someone toward whom new viewers and hardcore INDYCAR fans might gravitate.
“That’s only because I swore in the trailer,” McLaughlin said, laughing.
That affable, outgoing personality brought one signature moment from the New Zealander on the red carpet ahead of the screening.
“I asked Roger (Penske, team owner) if I was gonna get sacked, and he said, ‘No, that was a good deal,’” McLaughlin said. “But I’m just excited for INDYCAR. It's just awesome. I think they’re going to see a different side (of the sport).”
So, who does McLaughlin think will be that go-to personality that will steal the show?
“Oh man, myself,” he said, smiling. “I feel like it's going to be great exposure for me, even though social media and all that stuff's been great. But Colton (Herta), he's a funny dude, and I don't think people know how funny and chilled he actually is.
“He just came down in Australia when I was there and hung out with me for two weeks. No one knew he was just he was there and bought a Foster’s hat. He still wears it today. Guys like that. Pato, obviously, everyone knows. Josef, as well. He seems quite out there sort of guy, but he's actually quite an introvert, as well.
“So, I guess seeing different sides of us. Whether it's introvert or extrovert, or in between, I think that's going to be cool. But one thing that's going to be really cool, I think, is going to be if you're a hardcore INDYCAR fan, you'll get excited by it and you're enjoy the show, but I think if you are not a fan and you're a new fan, it'll be the same, as well. You'll get excited by it, as well.”
Clearly still relishing what he just witnessed, O’Ward teased one final thought.
“Hopefully, a lot of stuff from what they got me doing gets in an episode,” he said, “because they've got a lot of good stuff.”