It's a car ... with its own Twitter account (@78_porkchop). A car that gets called by name by fans of its driver, Simona De Silvestro. An older, heavier, backup car that was pressed into duty when Simona's primary car, "Janet," got totaled at Indy.
Pork Chop -- so named by De Silvestro due to its heavier, older -- let's be honest -- slower nature. Despite his shortcomings (or maybe because of them), Pork Chop has become a bit of a fan favorite, getting called by name both on TV and in print, with nearly 1,000 followers on Twitter.
Having to cut his appearance at Iowa Speedway short without ever turning a lap, Pork Chop still fired off a few answers to some burning questions below. Props to HVM PR czarina Monica Hilton for connecting me with the Chopster.
pressdog: What is your favorite type of track?
Pork Chop: I’d have to say road/street courses, because that’s where Simona is happiest. And when she’s happy, she and I shake our groove thangs all around the track. (Perhaps you’ve seen the video of Sim and Janet doing “Don’t Stop Believin’” at Barber). Also, you may have heard about my weight problem. I’m… pleasantly plump. Let’s just say it’s a little bit more acceptable when we’re racing the twisties.
pressdog: What do you think is your best feature?
Pork Chop: It’s hard to name just one, but I’d have to say I really like my new tattoo. View it HERE.
pressdog: When people were calling your name at Indy, did that surprise you? What was your reaction?
Pork Chop: At first, I had no idea they were cheering for me. I thought they were just really excited about dinner. But then one of the guys tapped me on the side pod and pointed up. When I realized what was going on, I was amazed and honored. I wanted to celebrate in the only way I know – by doing donuts – but the team wouldn’t let me. So I ate a Long’s donut after practice instead.
pressdog: When mechanics etc. sit in you for tow outs, etc., are you all like "HEY, you're not Simona!!"
Pork Chop: Most guys would prefer a woman on their lap, as opposed to a dude. Me too. Let’s move on.
pressdog: People see you with your cowling off all the time. Are you self conscious at all or kind of an exhibitionist?
Pork Chop: I have no problem showing off the goods, as long as the Russian spies from other teams aren’t stealing my secrets. When I got a call from Playgirl, however… that’s when I had to draw the line.
pressdog: Iowans actually EAT a lot of pork chops, in fact there will probably be many hundred consumed at the track. Do you find that disconcerting?
Pork Chop: Not at all. I look at it this way: none of the other pork chops care that I’m competing in the IZOD IndyCar Series. Who am I to judge them for selling themselves on the street? It’s simply a different career path.
pressdog: I hear Janet is now just a tub. Are you still grieving? What are your fond memories of her?
Pork Chop: The misconception is that Janet is dead. She’s not dead, she’s just retired. We have a lot of fun playing pranks on the crew. Janet actually has a great sense of humor – just stay away from the fire jokes if you don’t want to see a 650hp temper tantrum. Basically, she hangs around the shop for moral support and… organ donation. As weird as that may sound, in this industry, that’s the way it goes, and I’d do the same for her.
pressdog: You're kind of a ground-breaker ... first car with a well known name, first car on Twitter ... where did your flare for leadership come from?
Pork Chop: Ever since my first race when I was a little chassis, I wanted to be a leader. A wise man once said, “If you’re not first, you’re last.” There’s nothing like being first and until May of this year, I thought my chance had passed. I was preparing myself mentally to spend the rest of my days in Janet’s shadow. But then fate stepped in and here we are. When I asked Simona about twitter, I just thought it would be a cool way to tell the fans what I was up to. I didn’t think anyone cared what I was thinking. But now they even want me to join facebook! Honestly, I’m just enjoying my 15 minutes of fame and hoping to entertain the fans, both on and off the track.
pressdog: Plans for next year? Would you rather be a show car or just coast off into the sunset when the new car is introduced?
Pork Chop: It’s funny… I just got a call from P-Diddy, asking me the same thing. It’s not time to start talking about that yet. The only champagne and models I want to see at this point are in victory lane, not on a boat with a giant subwoofer. I’ll leave that to Marco Andretti. I hope to join the showcar tour next year and I’d love it if I could get a watch deal. I’m hoping for a benefits package that includes Firestones and a Honda engine for life. Negotiations start in October. I’ve got a race or two to win first.
@78_PorkChop's Greatest Twitter Hits:
- There’s some pretty fast action out there on the track. Who has four wheels and isn’t worried? THIS dude.
- I love Simona de Silvestro. We go together like PB&J. Mac&Cheese. Pork Chops & some bad-ass applesauce.
- Just noticed I have 383 followers. Next Sunday, I’m really hoping to have 32.
- I just tried to sneak out and run a couple of practice laps. Whatever, yellow shirt. YOU go back to the garage.
- IMO, ethanol tastes like tequila. Proof that it’s not: Try drinking that much tequila and running 500 miles. Happy to clear that up for you.
- Public Service Announcement: If we win tomorrow & you’re currently expecting a baby boy, PLEASE do not celebrate by naming him Pork Chop.
- Chillin’ with (parts of) Janet at the shop today. You never want to tell a girl she’s ugly, but Janet… you ugly.
- For those asking, I don’t follow anyone because I’m a racecar. We learned in kindergarten that we don’t want to follow people. #Simple
- Forecast on Saturday in Texas calls for 98 degrees and “abundant sunshine.” I bring the heat. Simona brings the sunshine. #Boomshakalaka
- #FF suggestion for you: @simdesilvestro. #FF suggestion for me: No one. That was a racecar joke. Was it too fast for you?