Monday, May 26, 2014

Indy 500

Ryan Hunter-Reay with the victory milk.
It clearly lacks the cultural significance it once held, but the Indianapolis 500 remains one of my favorite sporting events of the year.  I don't mind admitting that part of it is nostalgia; to this day I can clearly remember the day that Mario Andretti one his (and his family's) sole 500, I can remember listening to the great Johnny Rutherford-A.J. Foyt duel on the radio in 1974 (back in those days, the race was only shown on tape delay, in the evening), and I can remember most of the multiple wins from great drivers like Foyt and the Unser brothers.  And even though I've continued to watch every year, the drivers aren't the stars they once were - that role has (for the most part) been taken over by the superstars from NASCAR.

But I've always preferred Indy-car racing to NASCAR, and while I'm far from an expert on either, I don't know that I've ever seen a NASCAR race with the drama and excitement that we were treated to yesterday.  Multiple leaders, strategy in and out of the pits, very few mishaps...and then the spectacle (after one of those mishaps) of a 6-lap sprint to the finish, with three (or was it four?) lead changes taking place in those six laps.  Amazing, thrilling stuff, and while I was rooting for Marco Andretti to end the curse, I would have been happy with either Ryan Hunter-Reay or Helio Castroneves taking the milk.  Congratulations to Hunter-Reay, who is well spoken enough that he might just be the guy to steal some of those NASCAR fans back.

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