We signed the waiver and rode with Mario Andretti at Pocono

I was thinking that if Mario wasn't a hero to thousands, if not millions, of racing fans, he might become an even greater hero to many longtime Morning Call sports section readers if he'd be the one to take me out.

We came close enough to the wall a few times for me to wonder whether I'd ever see my computer screen again.

But Mario showed he still had it and controlled the car beautifully. I don't know if he was checking out the leaves on the trees in the nearby mountains or scoping out the bleachers for a Miss Pocono candidate during our drive, but it was flawless.

Still giddy, I took my helmet and gloves off and yelled "Thank you!" to Mario.

And I was thinking that they should have filmed a Geico commercial with me and those two annoying strummers saying, "How happy are folks who switched to Geico?" Happier than Keith Groller in a race car with Mario Andretti."

While I can take something truly memorable off my bucket list, don't look for a sequel. I am not ready to get into a boxing ring with Larry Holmes, go one-on-one with Larry Miller or get tackled by Chuck Bednarik. I'll leave those assignments to Reinhard.

Ratings up for race

ABC's ratings for the IndyCar Pocono 400 were among the best the circuit has earned all season. ABC's telecast earned a 1.1 rating, tying the June 8 prime-time race from Texas Motor Speedway. The only bigger IndyCar draw all season was, of course, the Indianapolis 500 on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend.

ABC did an excellent job right out of the chute in setting the scene and talking about the history of the Poconos, the track and IndyCar's absence there.

It was well done.

However, with just two cautions, the race ended much earlier than ABC had anticipated. Trackside reporters had to scramble around the garage and pits to secure as many post-race interviews as possible just to fill the time.

The toughest interview was clearly with a disappointed Marco Andretti, who was despondent after his 10th-place finish and tried hard not to say anything that he might regret later.

KEITH'S CAN'T MISS … Get a feel for who's going to be good next high school basketball season by checking out Service Electric TV2's Stellar Construction championship coverage on Sunday night from Cedar Beach.

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