One small suggestion to those that run the Indy 500


I’ve been going to the Indianapolis 500 for many, many years now and almost nothing about Indy and it’s changes have caused me any angst.

Nothing except for one seemingly small but ignominious detail, which I humbly submit for reversion back to its previous form, for your review…

There are precious few truly outstanding and hallowed moments in all of sports and the 30 minutes preceding the drop of the green flag of the Indy 500 is one of them.  Much like the reverence given the Masters grounds, or the call to post of the Kentucky Derby, those final moments leading to the command to start engines is truly stuff of American legend and should be treated as such.  The herky-jerk schedule of today does a disservice to one of the greatest traditions in all of sports and is only, I presume, due to the television’s coverage demands for last-minute commerical inserts before the green flag.  This, to me, is simply appalling.

It is in the spirit of the highest traditions that I submit to revert back to the days (as recently as the late 90s) when the television coverage did not dictate the flow of those traditional proceedings: The National Anthem, America the Beautiful (lets shelve the God Bless America for now, please), the Invocation, the playing of Taps, the Flyover, Back Home Again in Indiana (long live Jim Nabors), Balloon Release, and “Start Your Engines” (merely typing this recalls goosebump-producing moments of Indys past).

There always was an order for these events which created a palpable crescendo of anticipation, nerves, and excitement that culminates in the sensory overload of 33 cars screaming by on that first lap.  It’s almost as if summer itself waits reverently for this moment before signaling the official end of spring.

I propose that any schedule be continuous as in years past and that should live TV coverage desire to catch all the aforementioned grand moments, that it be commercial-free from The National Anthem through at least the first 5 laps or so.  

TV, you must rethink your desire to dictate for it is not you that made this tradition, you are merely one of its witnesses.  You do not command the proceedings and I submit the Masters TV coverage as the example the Indy 500 should follow – even if for only 30 minutes.

Also, please remove the unnecessary pit road exit booth.  I sit on Pit Road each raceday and the mad rush to remove the staging, lights, booms, and talent after the command and prior to the green flag is both ridiculous and unnecessary.

Dear TV, when the Indianapolis Motor Speedway asks you to do the aformentioned, humble yourself ever so slightly and show proper reverence for this great American tradition and its grounds by complying.  Your fans and your public (and thereby your advertisers) will thank you.

Favorite Indy cars III

1970 – PJ (Parnelli Jones) Colt – Johnny Lightning Special
Perhaps the most styled and colorful of all modern eras at Indy, 1970 saw varied chassis designs and bright colors like never before.  Of those designs, one stands out for me which is also the race winner that year: Al Unser’s #2.
The last of the non-winged cars to win at Indy, this car repeated it’s feat in 1971 with Unser at the wheel again.  1972 saw the allowance of ‘bolt-on’ wings (not integral to the chassis shape) which vastly increased cornering speeds while limiting drag.  This Colt chassis was sponsored by Johnny Lightning, a toy car manufacturer was styled based on the company’s logo.  To quote Al Unser, “Hey, that’s perty!”

Opening Day/News Flash

This blog opens on a day with a news flash which should cause many Indycar fans relief, Danica Patrick has allegedly signed a new three-year contract to drive for Andretti-Green Racing carrying through 2012, according to Curt Cavin of the Indy Star.


Fine and dandy.


Now it’s my turn to announce something.  ‘Yours truly’ is proud to announce the opening of this “Ground(ed) Effects” blog whose chief mission is to provide thoughts, musings, and generally entertaining fodder on subjects related to the Indianapolis 500.  With any luck at all, its readership will find this entertaining and worthy of ongoing interaction (or possibly just a comment or two).



This blog is hereby christened in the name of The father (Carl Fisher), the son (Anton “Tony” Hulman), and in the spirit of all that is the Indianapolis 500… *smashes Miller High Life bottle on, NO! near laptop.  Phew, that was a close one…*


Please note this blog is in no way produced or endorsed by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, it’s ownership, the Indycar Series, or any other officially approved product of Brickyard Properties (I’m not really sure I have to say that, but fairly certain it doesn’t hurt either).


I am essentially a guy with a computer and a Blogger account.  To say that I am a fan of the Indianapolis 500 (or Indy 500) is an understatement.  I have a history with this race that has covered a good majority of my life.  My fondness of this race dates back to a couple of events that are honestly a bit hazy, but will be covered here in due time…


On that note, I (as many others) find it somewhat difficult to describe this event to someone without ultimately saying, “you just need to experience it to understand it”, but my goal is to write in such a way that causes dialogue with others who have or desire specific knowledge of the event that is the Indy 500.  Sensory descriptions through word, and not with scads of pictures, video, or sounds lifted from various sources is my aim, but that is not to say a few choice items/links won’t be posted at my discretion…


By posting my thoughts here I leave myself open to general and cordial discourse, but primarily am interested in also eliciting experiential thoughts and memories from the readership relating to the Indy 500.


Having said all this, I hope you enjoy what you find here and will remain open to your input via the comments under each post.  


*with Sid Collins in my mind’s ear* “…the brand new Ground(ed) Effects blog… IS ON!  Come in Mike Ahern…”