Motor sports awaits its biggest day on May 30, when 135,000 spectators will gather at the Brickyard for the start of the 105th running of the Indy 500. It will be the largest assembly of people anywhere for a single event since the coronavirus pandemic overwhelmed the country and the world.
Last year, the race was held without fans, but this year the Indianapolis Motor Speedway will accommodate 135,000 of 257,325 available seats, or 40% capacity. The number is staggering until the onlooker realizes that the curved rectangle is 2.5 miles long and occupies 559 acres,
with tiered grandstands reaching 7 stories on both sides of the track.
Having checked in at the Indiana State Fairgrounds for overnight accomodations,
we couldn’t help but notice the overwhelming noise coming from the nearby critter pavilions…
so off we went to follow the commotion, and found the source. Apparently, it was a tire spin-off to Mecum’s 2021 Indy Auction:
…an annual event that brings out the best and most coveted collector cars for bidding:
But Leah and I were in Indianapolis during the Indy 500 Practice to watch drivers rocket down the straightaways in their IndyCars at 240 mph,
in anticipation of bringing home the trophy and chugging a bottle of milk.
So off we went to the fabled racetrack, built in 1909 and mostly unchanged, until the addition of the Pagoda, completed in 2000.
Trying to track the cars as they went screaming by in a blur…
would have certainly resulted in whiplash if we continued watching with each passing lap, but thankfully, the video screen provided necessary neck relief.
And then the unexpected happened…
With 1hr 44min left in the practice session, #45 Santino Ferrucci turning too early into the #2 corner careened into the wall,
collapsing the front end of his racer.
Out came the yellow flag…
and it was time for us to call it a day at the track.
Fortunately, Ferrucci escaped serious injury, and was taken to the hospital for observation.
He has subsequently been cleared to race on Sunday, qualifying for the 25th position in a field of 33 cars, with Scott Dixon enjoying the pole position at the start of the race.
I hope the winner likes milk!
Helio Castroneves wins the Indy 500 for a record-tying 4th time, finishing ahead of Alex Palou by half a second.
Top qualifier, Scott Dixon finished 17th in the field after his car ran out of gas before his first pit stop, and Santino Ferrucci finished sixth.
Castroneves celebrated with a chilled bottle of 2% milk, but swapped that bottle out for some strawberry milk, which perfectly matched his hot pink and white fire suit and No. 6 Honda.