Although I now reside in Alexandria, Virginia; and even though I grew up in Huber Heights, Ohio on the outskirts of Dayton still I was born in Indianapolis, Indiana. Therefore I have always had an interest in the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing".
I am particularly very disappointed that Danica Patrick seems to have given up on the 500.
( For nine years I was rooting for you, Danica. Remember that year your car's nose cone got damaged and you had to have your pit crew replace it, and how you roared right back into the lead? As I recall, you almost had that race won, but you ran low on fuel and had to pussyfoot just to make it to the finish. With a performance like that, you might just have won with a few more years and some tweaking of your fuel and tire management.)
But I am glad to see that this year it's going to be more than just a bunch of Honda engines riding on Dallara chassis. Chevy is fielding a few engines this year, too.
I remember my Dad telling me that Indy was - in addition to being a big deal of a speed contest - also a laboratory where different design details were put to the acid test and where new ideas in car manufaccture were born. (This lasted until I believe 1968 or 69 when a turbine engine was introduced. He thought it was heresy not to have a reciprocating piston engine in the race. When I pointed out what he had said about Indy being a lab for innovation, he invited me to stop being a smartass.).
Still there has been lots of innovation. About ten years ago, Indy cars were required to have a tether to keep the wheels from flying off the car and causing mayhem if there was a wreck And the new "Steel, Aluminum and Foam Energy Reducing" SAFER barrier was placed around the track to reduce injuries caused by hitting the wall at 1/3 the speed of sound.
Ah, yes. The wrecks. Anyone who says he doesn't think that the wrecks are one of the best things about the show probably says he reads Playboy and Penthouse for the articles (and is about as believable). The danger of operating a vehicle going over 200 MPH alongside other drivers who are doing likewise is inherently dangerous, and the crashes are the proof of that pudding.
I'd like to watch the 500 this year, but I have to be sleeping seeing as how I work 7P to 7A. One thing I wonder is how the crowd will treat Jim Nabors when he sings "Back Home Again (in Indiana)" since he has announced that he is marrying another man. Indy fans are a pretty conservative lot (except for the hipsters smoking grass in the infield.)
Oh well. I'll catch clips of the race later, I suppose. Meanwhile, Memorial Day 2013 post is coming tomorrow about this time. See you then.