Thoughts & Pics From The Month Of May

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For whatever reason, I’ve gotten over my post-500 funk a lot quicker this year than normal. Maybe it was the three straight weekend trips to Indianapolis added to a trip to Barber just two weeks prior. After being on the road four of the last five weekends for races, I’m looking forward to being home for once this weekend. I’ll sort of be glad to watch the double-header this weekend from my couch.

After a Monday morning trip to Long’s Donuts and one more trip to the IMS gift shop inside the museum – Susan and I met a friend for lunch at Charlie Brown’s Pancake and Steakhouse on Main Street in Speedway. Then we made the leisurely Memorial Day afternoon drive down I-65 to Nashville.

After taking Tuesday off to decompress, it was easier than usual to go back to the day job on Wednesday. I split watching the DVR recording of the race between Tuesday and Wednesday nights. Overall, I was pleased with what I saw.

Allen Bestwick did a phenomenal job in the booth on the ABC telecast. Scott Goodyear and Eddie Cheever were not outstanding, but I feel that Bestwick elevates their performance. They had some really good features in the pre-race, but one really stood out – but for the wrong reasons.

I know I’m old and a bit of a grump – but I found the segment with Josef Newgarden transforming into…something, and the bathtub full of milk just a little bizarre. In fact, it was beyond bizarre. It was downright disturbing. If you’ve seen it, you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t seen it – consider yourself lucky.

As far as the pre-race ceremonies at the track went, everything went pretty well. Although I’m a traditionalist, I think Florence Henderson’s time has come and gone. I could live with the other performers. Of course, I loved the Jim Nabors farewell.

But the invocation is another story. Given the seriousness of Memorial Day and what the drivers are about to face, I don’t see the invocation for the Indianapolis 500 as the appropriate time for a stand-up routine. But that’s just me and my curmudgeon ways.

Beyond that, I thought the “new” Month of May was a huge success. The crowds were bigger, the TV ratings were slightly higher and we all left there with a sense of satisfaction. Overall, I now have a sense that things are headed in the right direction.

Instead of the usual Detroit Preview that would be here today, I thought I’d tie up the Month of May with a collection of random pictures that Susan and I took over the last three weekends.Pardon the lack of captions, but most of you can figure out what the vast majority these pictures are of.

Things will get back to normal here next week when I return Monday with the “Random Thoughts” on this weekend’s double-header. Thanks again for following along at Barber and Indianapolis. I’m already looking forward to doing it again next spring.

George Phillips

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15 Responses to “Thoughts & Pics From The Month Of May”

  1. I enjoyed the month very much and, George, your coverage added a lot to it. The pictures are great, especially the delicious tenderloin sandwich. I wish I were looking at one right now!

    By the way, I want to apologize for my comment after the race about Helio being a drama queen. I didn’t see his interview and congratulations to RHR until I saw the race coverage that I had DVR’d. Today’s technology is fantastic and I think I will watch the race again tonight!

  2. The pre race prayer was pretty sad. I thought he was imitating the preacher from the Nationwide race a few years ago and was waiting for him to give thanks for his “smoking hot wife.”

    I think the road race in May was a big success and turned out better than I expected from an event standpoint. The race itself was about what I expected. But it is the only major race now at the speedway without having to pay extra to park in the infield. And that you can easily get into the infield. Another reason to go.

    I thought qualifications was a flop. Something has to be done. They won’t use this set up again if they are smart.

    Stayed away from Carb Day after my experiences of the last couple years. They ought to rename it zoo day. Did 10% of the people there that day ever come over to see a car?

    The race was a huge success. I thought the 149 laps of green was cool and there was alot of racing going on even though that. I don’t understand the people who complained about it. I do have concerns about the red flag and kind of hope that never happens again. But it was a great race overall.

    Too bad the Glorious Month of May is over. Not real excited about Michigan. Wrong track.

  3. Thanks for your Indy coverage George, I enjoyed it very much. Special thanks for your tip to get tenderloin at the turn two stand; it was great. I’m no curmudgeon, but agree with your take on the invocation – it was inappropriate for the occasion. It was certainly memorable, but invocations aren’t supposed to be memorable – they should be reverent and respectful.

  4. As fans, we get so used to complaining about what Indycar is doing wrong that maybe we don’t give them credit for what they do right. While certain details of the Month of May could be improved, depending on who you ask, overall the month seemed like a huge success. And the success of Indycar is totally dependent on the success of Indy.

    The Verizon title sponsorship is awesome. The product on the track has been great. Aerokits are coming and it sounds like they’ll have a Cosworth branded engine by 2016. Miles says some major sponsorships are about to be announced. It looks like the season will start earlier next year and the overseas races will count and be integrated into the schedule instead of being exhibitions. The crowds, if not ratings, at street races are growing. There are some good, interesting, American drivers coming up in the pipeline and Andersen is doing a great job with the minor league series. So I’m generally hopeful about the direction the series is going.

    I live in Austin and was surprised that the local morning sports talk show did an interview with RHR. He made a very favorable impression on the guys. (Please come to Austin, Mark Miles.) Also there are lots of ads on the radio for the Ft. Worth race being played. It’s so surprising to hear anything about Indycar here, it’s great.

    Enjoyed the reporting and photos from Indy, George. I never did read much about your ride around the track though–did I miss it?

    • and oh, yeah–that feature with the milk and the Catwoman thing and Newgarten was was unbelievably dumb and disturbing.

    • No, you didn’t miss it. Susan is putting together a story on the whole IndyCar Racing Experience and will incorporate my two-seater ride at IMS last week into it. – GP

      • Yes, I want to chime in George and Susan and commend you on another great month of May coverage. You make us feel like we are there with you. Appreciate your insights and opinions. Now, what about that ride experience? I am jealous!!!

        I agree with redcar. Let’s go to Austin soon!

  5. Thanks again, George.
    Two quick questions about the photos. Here you have a photo of the 60 STP turbine, all red. I saw other photos, and that car on the track 500 morning with the front green as it was race day. do you know if that was the same car with the paint changed during the month?
    Also, was the damage to the rear pad of the 98 car from 500 action?
    About the milk nightmare-milk has always previously promoted and wholesome and good for the family. I still have no idea what that was supposed to convey.
    Fortunately Florence Henderson was not part of the TV pre-race so we were spared that torture.
    I did really like Jim Nabors participating in the command to start engines. That was a very nice touch.

  6. Ron Ford Says:

    Yes, the Newgarden milk deal was over the top bizarre and the invocation was inappropriate at times.

    A great race and lots of positive things going on as Redcar mentioned.

    A very nice gallery of photos. Thanks. If I pay for all your retro tenderloins next year will you include a photo of Emma Dixon? That should spike your ratings.

    Color me a curmudgeon also, but what does Carb Day and the snake pit add to the Indy500 race experience? Other than drunks.

    • Ron Ford Says:

      It strikes me that the 60 STP wedge turbine looks very fragile compared to today’s bumper cars.

      • Ron, that could explain why one driver was killed in practice in ’68, and why Graham Hill’s car suffered pretty serious damage in a relative minor seeming hit during the race.
        Having build many models of the cars of those days, the wedges were probably not any more fragile that the other cars of the time.

    • I second the request for Emma photos!

  7. billytheskink Says:

    Many thanks for your month’s-long coverage and commentary, George. It has been most appreciated by those of us who wish we could be in Indianapolis for the month.

    On the Newgarden/milk bathtub pre-race segment: I have yet to read anything from anyone who found the segment anything less than bizarre.

    On the pre-race prayer: Certainly over the top, especially for Memorial Day weekend. I would certainly have preferred a more subdued invocation. Still, it largely stayed in the bounds of appropriateness, especially when compared to the previously mentioned “smokin’ hot wife” bit from the last Nashville Nationwide race, or the year the pre-race prayers at all of the Texas Motor Speedway races incorporated multiple references to the track slogan “No Limits”, or the especially bizarre prayer at the 2013 Nationwide race at Michigan in which Amen was replaced by the invocator screaming “In it to win it!”

    I was surprised the Pacers were not mentioned, as they have often been in the invocations of year’s past when they were still alive in the NBA playoffs.

  8. Both Zoo Day & bath tub milk advert seem to be focused on a certain audience level ……… But not a racing audience…………..

  9. stand b Says:

    Thanks for the coverage george!!

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