Indianapolis 500 Preview
After all the hype, hoopla and countdown clocks over the past year, the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 is now finally upon us. Next week, I’m still not sure I’ll be able to say which one had a bigger feel to it – the Centennial “500” run in 2011 or this one. The 2011 race had an exciting finish to it, but it didn’t sell out. This year’s race was declared a sellout three weeks ago – the first time since the 1995 race. It remains to be seen whether or not Sunday’s race will be as compelling.
Based on Monday’s practice, it may be even more compelling. Cars were darting in and out and even going four-wide on the front straightaway. I’m not sure if that translates to how these cars will race on Sunday, but at least it does not appear we will be watching a parade.
As you read this, Susan and I are on our way up for our third straight weekend at IMS. We have to go by way of Brownsburg, because Susan accidentally left her purse on the ground in the parking lot leaving IMS last Sunday evening. She didn’t realize it was missing until we got back to Nashville Sunday night. The Brownsburg Police Department called early Monday morning to say they found it thrown on the side of I-74. Fortunately, Susan had removed her wallet and not much was lost. When the low-life’s discovered there was no cash, they tossed it on the side of the road. Nice. We are to pick up the (probably damaged) purse this morning before heading to the track.
We will probably miss the IndyCar practice, but we will probably be there for the Freedom 100 and the pit-stop competition. After we go through the madness of the Carb Day crowd and the Journey concert (which we probably won’t go to), we’ll go to the newly revamped Carb Night Burger Bash. I’ll admit, I’m not quite sure about this new location. I’m not a real fan of downtown areas. I like parking for free. But we’ll give it a try and see how we like it. The Burger Bash is fun and a good place to see a lot of friends, but last year was the first year I ever actually ate a burger.
Tomorrow is Legend’s Day at IMS. This is a relatively new tradition at the track, Usually an Indianapolis 500 legend, such as AJ Foyt, Mario Andretti or Parnelli Jones. I’m assuming it’s because it’s the 100th Running, but this year they are not recognizing any one driver. Instead, all the former winners are being honored. They always run vintage cars (mostly roadsters) around 9:00. My older brother is even more in love with the past than I am. This is always a must-see part of the weekend for him – me as well.
My middle brother is flying in Saturday and will be joining us at the track sometime around lunchtime. That’ll be time for Susan’s favorite part of the month (said very sarcastically) – the annual trip to the IMS Museum. While I enjoy gawking at the iconic cars from history, my oldest brother will read and re-read every plaque in there. He is an engineer and enjoys examining every suspension piece and hose-coupling in the place.
If we can pull him out of there, we might try and do one more round of karting at Sarah Fisher’s Speedway Indoor Karting. Then we’ll part ways because Susan and I are heading to the Blake Shelton Legend’s Day concert at 5:00. Maybe we can squeeze in a trip to Dawson’s afterwards, before heading back to the hotel and turning in early.
The next morning is an early morning. We may get up even earlier than normal. There are going to be at least 80,000 more people going to the race this year than last. My goal is to be inside the track by 6:30. We’ll see.
We’ll both be posting from the track throughout the weekend. You can also follow us on Twitter for photos and comments. Follow me at @Oilpressureblog and Susan at @MrsOilpressure.
Aside from the feel-good story of James Hinchcliffe being on the pole, I still think the biggest storyline is Honda –vs-Chevy. At least we are not wondering just how bad Honda will get beat. This year, I think 15-20 drivers have a legitimate shot to win the race – not just the good Chevy drivers like last year. But with all of the head-scratching about the lack of performance from Chevy over the last couple of weeks, I still kind of think a Chevy will end up winning this race.
With that, I suppose it’s time to make my pick to win the race. If you’ve watched the last couple of episodes of One Take Only, you’ve already heard my pick. It’s probably more emotional than rational, but I’m going with Helio Castroneves to rise from relative obscurity over the last couple of weeks and win his fourth Indianapolis 500 from the outside of the third row. After holding static for the past twenty-five years, it’s time to add a fourth member of the four-time winners club.
Please check back today and throughout the weekend.