Although he didn’t know it, there was a bit more riding on Alex Lloyd’s performance on Pole Day than a place at the top table at one of motorsport’s most prestigious events.
While Lloyd was out on track putting in a lap that won him 11th place on the Indy grid his sponsor Brett Jacobson, CEO of Her Energy Drinks, was praying that another huge gamble had paid off.
Lloyd revealed, in an interview with Lauren Bohlander for IndyCar.com’s Up to Speed feature, that Jacobson had $2.5 million riding on the outcome of the first qualifying session.
He said: “I didn’t know about it at all but [Jacobson] bet, with two and a half million dollars riding on it, that I would get in on the top 11.
“So he was very panicked beforehand, I believe, when with a couple of minutes to go before the gun, and were we going to get out, and I think we only made it by four-tenths of a mile an hour, it was very, very close.
“So he was thrilled, and I think everyone saw that watched it on the Versus coverage, him jumping up and down. It was the perfect way to start off relationship.”
Of course, that wasn’t the only thing Lloyd had to celebrate that day: “It was an exciting day, pole day, and it was our aim to get in on that day but there was some seriously good guys that we had to knock out to get there.
“And I felt that we were the underdogs a little bit, which is always a nice thing when you manage to pull through, so it was a great feeling to get it done.”
The pink-clad Lloyd has become the unexpected media celebrity of this year’s Indy 500 as a result of his sponsorship deal while Jacobson, whose company produces a pink lemonade energy drink marketed at women, is arguably staring at the opportunity to become the Dietrich Mateschitz of IRL.
Lloyd said: “There has been a lot of attention with the pink and I was a little bit apprehensive when I first saw the race suit, thinking: “Oh God, I’m going to get such stick,” which I did do, from Dario [Franchitti] especially.
“But actually it’s been taking off, Pink Lloyd now being my nickname, and I’ve just been rolling with the punches and thinking, you know what? I like it, I’m going to go with it and have a bit of fun with it. I figure, if it gets me in a race car, I’ll wear pink for the rest of my career.”
Indeed. And it would seem that pink is proving to be a fairly aerodynamic colour for him – long may it continue.