Oh happy day! The 91st running of the Indy 500 was on Sunday. It was kind of an anti-climactic running this year with it stopping for several hours of rain delay and then being called after more rain 50 or so laps before the end. However, local Oregon hero Danica Patrick got 7th. She is from Lake Oswego and has gotten a reputation for being a fiery personality. She got her start racing carts at a cart track my old boss practices at just a few miles from here.
But I love watching the race – more now than before. Mostly because I grew up in Indiana and it always brings back fond memories of finishing chores with my brothers/dad, or having a BBQ or some-such while the tv or radio played the race in the background. On days during the race, if you drive through Indianapolis, you can easily hear the race 25+ miles away from the track. The thunder and roar of the Indy cars is that loud. It’s called “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” because it still has the largest attendance and worldwide radio/television audience of any single-day sporting event.
Even as a kid, you could see the state bend itself as Indy approached. We had neighbors who’d paint their trucks with ‘Indy or Bust’ and drive down. Radio stations go nuts with their latest hair-brained Indy contests (on contest involved singing “Up, up and Away in my Beautiful Balloon” for 3 hours in the porta-potty’s at the track). One fellow shaved the radio station’s call letters in his hair, etc. Folks would talk before and after about the race. But it really was always about getting together and watching the race, BBQ-ing, having a few beers, and enjoying the first big event of summer together. Makes me all nostalgic.
On a different note, a lot of Linux folks raised money to get the Linux penguin put on one of the cars. Unfortunately the Linux car #77 was the first to crash and finished dead last. There’s some irony there for you race fans.