The Month of May in Indianapolis

作者: admin

Those words bring to mind the deafening noise of engines and crowd, screeching tires, and the smoke and smell of burning rubber.
No – I’m not talking about the high school parking lot on the last day of school. I’m talking about the traditions built around the Mecca of motor racing at the oval track in Speedway, Indiana.
Indy Car is steeped in a rich history that parallels the automobile industry of this state. Yes, some of the most beautiful automobiles ever made were built right here in Indiana, and many in Indianapolis. Some simply starting out as concepts in local garages and then fashioned into beautiful hand-built machines. Indy became the proving ground for new developments in automotive engineering and technology. Technological innovations that include rear view mirrors, fuel injection, turbine engines, breakaway parts, even ride along mechanics (later replaced by spouse, and/or cell phone call to Dad or AAA).
Glitz and Glamour are certainly part of it too. From popular icon Eddie Rickenbacker’s first ownership of the facility – to the many memorable movie stars and celebrities that participated in the parades, race, or movies about the race. (Bob Hope, Tony Curtis, Grace Kelly, Clark Gable, Jim Nabors, Stephen Tyler come to mind -well, I’m still trying to forgive and forget Tyler’s singing). In the old days, teams and drivers would actually stay at or rent out homes in the neighborhoods around the track – thus becoming part of the local family for an entire month. Fellowship became a strong bond for the fans and drivers alike – even among the hundreds of workers, photographers, announcers and radio broadcasters. As for myself, I felt fortunate to personally get to know some of the volunteers, and announcers and photographers – one friend having been a radio announcer and AP photographer of drivers such as A.J. Foyt, Graham Hill, Jim Clark and a host of other vintage drivers from the time they first came to the track. It helped that I also worked with Hertz Penske for a number of years – and personally got to meet and greet a number of drivers and celebrities that would come to town for the events. WOW!
The kickoff to summer also showcases Indianapolis at its annual peak of beauty. Just ask yourself, why do 300,000+ people from all across the country go to this event? Perhaps It’s partly for the fun of being able to get close and personal with the drivers, teams, and celebrities at parades, dinners, autograph sessions, and fan appreciation events. You can’t get such an opportunity if you go to see Kobe Bryant (no relation) play basketball. Perhaps it is partly for the fun of being able to sip your own brew and bring your own food to a 100 year old iconic facility that modern sports arenas can only hope to emulate.
Yes, danger is always present too. Go to stand in line at the bathroom, and you might return in time for your friend to tell you just missed the post parade lap of the closest race finish in history! Timing is everything – figure that a lap around the track is just under 2 minutes and plan accordingly.
My advice to you is that, at some point in your life, you must experience all that May in this city has to offer.
Go to the Marathon and participate in cheering on the world class athletes. Go to the track and visit the museum. Take in the qualifications or one of the many other events held during the year – even if it’s just the dog walk around the track. Go to some of the local restaurants in the Speedway area. You can volunteer to help and assist the many thousands of visitors that come to our city. You could become a knowledgeable goodwill ambassador for Indy and encourage them to return. That helps our economy and it’s fun!
When I was young, I was told (and believed) that these wonderful events were held in honor of my birthday – which usually falls on race day or that weekend. I was a little disappointed to grow up and learn the parade and race were not held in my honor, but racing is still in my blood. I hope you can learn to feel this excitement during the month of May too! For many who live in Indiana – it’s part of their DNA.
If you were at the event this past weekend, or even followed along on TV, you witnessed one of the most memorable race events in modern history under ideal weather conditions. A crowd favorite finally won, but so did Indianapolis.

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