Not to get too deep here on a racing blog, but with the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 on the horizon the #SpeedRead staff started to ask ourselves, “what exactly is the Indy 500?”
Is it a cherished Hoosier tradition?
A showcase for automotive innovation and speed?
A cultural phenomenon bridging the sports and entertainment worlds?
Just a darned fantastic race?
Once we had those questions answered, we started to brainstorm how we could possibly do all those justice in our little space. The best answer? Volume!
For 100 straight days in this space starting today, we’re covering all those aspects of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.” You’ll read about the greatest champions, of course, from Foyt to Franchitti and Meyer to Mears.
Acclaimed racing journalist Marshall Pruett will offer his thoughts on milestone cars, such as the 1967 Granatelli Turbine and the 1994 Penske-Mercedes, and tech breakthroughs such as aerodynamics and engines from the first diesel and first gas turbo.
Indianapolis Motor Speedway historian Donald Davidson will explain how many Indy 500 traditions were born. There are stories behind 500 miles, 33 cars and the famed Yellow Shirts, among several others, and there’s no better person on the planet to tell them then our beloved Donald.
Samantha Pierson, our IMS social media guru, will tell the stories of “My First 500” from famous racers, celebrities and more. You never, ever forget your first Indy 500.
Indianapolis-based entertainment writer Jeff Vrabel, whose Carb Day interests run more toward the concert than the pit stop competition, is exploring the connections between the “500” and pop culture. You might know some of them, like the movie “Turbo” and David Letterman’s many ties. But did you know the Indy 500 was mentioned on a “Saturday Night Live” sketch? (Hint: Ditka, Da Bears, more Ditka.)
In addition to blogs from those contributors, we’ll dive deep into the IMS photo vault for stories about famous and not-so-famous images. If you haven’t seen a photo of Mario Andretti and five nuns, well, stay tuned.
Also featured over the 100 days will be a few peculiar moments in race history, like the time Emerson Fittipaldi drank – gasp! – orange juice after winning. (We can laugh about it now, right?)
Put simply, we’ve got a lot of ground to cover from now until the 100th Running on May 29. We hope you enjoy the trip with us.
See you tomorrow.