The Indianapolis 500 will be run tomorrow Sunday, May 27th., just as it has most Memorial Day weekends since the first race on May 30, 1911. Winning this race is an accomplishment for a driver and team not on par with any other.
I haven’t had the pleasure of attending this particular race, or even visiting the Indiana track on an off weekend. However, I did have the pleasure of going to the Las Vegas Speedway and the last race of the 2011 Indy season in October, and meeting last years Indy 500 winner, Dan Wheldon. Dan was actually a two time winner of the Indianapolis 500, in 2005 and 2011. He was the nicest person we met the entire week we were there! He was infectiously bubbly, upbeat, positive and confident. In his trailer before the race he proudly showed us Susies’ initals he had tattooed on his wrist, saying it was a spur of the minute thing they just decided to do to mark the love they had for one another.
But then there was the ultimate tragegy in lap 11. I was standing behind Dan’s pit when the accident happened across the track. I couldn’t see anything but flying debis, fire and smoke. I found myself screaming, where are the fire crews? Why aren’t they out there? What’s taking them so long? And I watched as Susie screamed, took off her headset and ran crying to the waiting cart.
The only Indy car race that I ever attended ended in tragedy and was cut short, having only run 11 laps. But that doesn’t mean the race wasn’t extreme in both excitement, and in speed. The Indy cars go so very fast (over 200 MPH), you cannot actually see them go by ~ whish, whoosh and gone. I certainly would have preferred any other outcome but the one that day. Tomorrow as I celebrate my 40th. Wedding Anniversary, I am doubly saddened by the thought of Dan’s family without him.
Some of the biggest names in autosports have run and won this race, names like Bobby and Al Unser, AJ Foyt, Mario Andretti. And although some of the drivers of the Indy cars have moved to other racing circuts, for example Tony Stewart, Scott Speed, Juan Pablo Montoya and most recently Danica Patrick, there is still nothing like the Indianaplis 500! So if you want to see some exciting racing start to finish, from the comfort of your living room without all the extreme noise that goes with actually being at Indy – watch the race tomorrow at 11:00AM EST.