That’s Indy-tainment: Welcome to L.A.

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Parnelli Jones, could you ever see this happening in your lifetime?

IndyCar and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway announced today it will open an office soon in Santa Monica to, as the press release says, “make further inroads into the media and entertainment industries.”

Because the 2001 Sly Stallone movie, “Driven,” still is considered the best-made IndyCar related film of all time.

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In a place of the country where STP sounds more like a thing you don’t want to catch from a hooker rather than a famous brand of motor oil, Sarah Nettinga will manage the new office and become Senior Vice President of Media and Entertainment for IndyCar Entertainment. Why her? She’s done similar projects with Hollywood in her previous role with NASCAR.

Nettinga has a proven track record, as they say in the business. She developed and produced film and TV shows with third-party producers, managing production for NASCAR for three motion pictures — “NASCAR 3D: The Imax Experience,” for Warner Bros., “Herbie: Fully Loaded” for Disney and, as an executive producer on “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby” for Sony.

Nothing to do with “Cars”? The kids still really connect to that.

For TV, she was responsible for six series, with the most groundbreaking being “NASCAR DRIVER: 360″ for FX.

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Prior to joining auto racing, Nettinga was a production executive at Warner Bros. International Television Production. She also has worked for Columbia Tristar Television, CBS, Petry Television, Westinghouse International and Sony International Television in roles that involved development, sales, production, branding and marketing in the entertainment industry.

“Sarah has a substantial set of relationships that will get us off to a running start,” IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard said. “She has a detailed understanding of this landscape that blends sports and entertainment.

“If we want to grow the sport, we need to be fully vested in relationships with the entertainment community that can tell the storylines of our sport.This will be a one-stop shop to pursue opportunities and make deals across multiple business lines and entertainment outlets.”

Indianapolis Motor Speedway CEO Jeff Belskus: “Having an IndyCar office in Los Angeles will provide our sport and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway a strong presence in an important global community. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway has a great story to tell in 2011 as we prepare for the 100th Anniversary of the Indianapolis 500 (on May 29).

“In addition to the business reasons to have an office in Los Angeles, it is a very fitting location because many of the celebrated stories and personalities associated with the Indianapolis 500 over the last century have deep roots in Southern California.”

The 2011 IndyCar season starts March 27 in St. Petersburg, Fla.. After a stop in Alabama on April 3, it returns to Long Beach’s street track for the third time from April 15-17.

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According to the IndyMotorSpeedway.com site (linked here), there are nine films already out there (the last in 1969 called “Winning,” with Paul Newman and Robert Wagner) that feature the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. There had been talk a couple of years ago about a movie called “500,” (linked here), about the creation of the Indianapolis 500 in 1911, that would hopefully be finished by 2011. Not to be confused with “500 Days of Summer.”

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