This Sunday at noon, the 96th running of the 500 mile race in Indianapolis will be held at what can be considered America’s most historically significant race track, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The meaning, relevance, social impact, and value of the race have changed a lot over the year and mostly for the worse, but the massive IMS facility with seating for more than 200,000 people is usually packed to the gills come race day. The race gets prime national TV coverage and is definitely the most popular open wheel event left in North America. Perhaps the coming F1 events will wrest that final piece of glory from the Indy 500, but most likely not.
I don’t know spit about open wheel racing. I know that Chevy and Honda are the battling engine manufacturers in the series, I know that there is a new body and chassis design being used, I know that nothing matches the history and tradition of this event outside of non-racing stuff like the Kentucky Derby, and I know that I love to watch/listen every year. On Sunday, instead of being camped in front of the TV with a beer, I’ll be wrenching on the Caprice, swapping the transmission. I plan on listening to the event on the radio as I work. A couple years ago, Richard Petty admitted that he and the boys would always listen to the race on the radio while prepping for their own longstanding Sunday evening event.
I’ll be tuned in because I like feeling a part of 100 years of history. I have no rooting interest or allegiance (other than the fact that I hope the Chevy powered cars stomp the Honda powered machines into dust) and will just be following along as an interested gearhead/fair weather fan. I don’t give a rip about horse racing but never miss the Derby every year, either. Both still have enough mystique to keep me interested.
Question of the Day: Are you going to watch the Indy 500 this weekend?