We’re chronicling 100 days of Indy 500 history on #SpeedRead leading up to the historic 100th Running. With 86 days to go, we look back with Allen Bestwick, who spent many years at IMS before attending “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”
The first year I remember watching the Indianapolis 500 has to be 1969. I was 7 years old watching the “Wide World of Sports” replay the weekend after the race. Thankfully, work took me into auto broadcasting. Sometime in the 1980s I attended the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the first time to visit the Hall of Fame Museum and there just so happened to be an Indy car testing that day. In 1992, I attended IMS for the first time professionally for a NASCAR tire test.
I have been professionally covering racing since 1986, however, I did not have the opportunity to attend the Indy 500 until only a few years ago. My typical race day was always spent in Charlotte working while listening to the Indy 500 on the radio. After working the Brickyard 400 since its inaugural year in 1994, I finally had the chance to broadcast the Indy 500 for ABC in 2014.
I quickly learned the feeling between the events at IMS was different. The buildup and anticipation compared to any sporting event I have ever been to is extraordinary. At my first Indy 500 I spent a lot of time observing and soaking in the personal traditions, history, competitors and fans. There are few sporting events with the marquee value of the Indy 500 and because of that, my position carries a good deal of responsibility. My first Indy 500 experience was an emotional one between the responsibility, joy and overall environment.
Passion for the race is what sets it apart from others and experiencing that in person is what I love the most.