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.

For just a dollar a day…

…you too could be going to the Race of all races – THE Greatest Spectacle in Racing – the one and only 2010 Indianapolis 500 , if you start today!

Don’t you think you owe it to yourself to, at least once, go to this esteemed American sporting event?

I do.

With only 175 or so days left until that glorious weekend, don’t put off until spring what you can begin today.  There can never be sufficient time to fully plan your traffic/parking/tailgating/debauchery strategies so I implore you to start right now, you won’t be sorry!

If you cannot attend, please consider finding and sponsoring a unfunded young race fan the ability to see it in person – it is a truly life-changing event for many.

Here’s my Dollar A Day plan if you start today…
– Raceday ticket – $80 (Pit Road terrace – the best value in all of sporting events),
– Fuel to travel from within a 500-mile radius of Speedway, Indiana – $50 (in a reasonable vehicle – assumes no Abrams M1 battle-tanks or ’74 Cadillacs although I have seen the latter abandoned and in flames on the infield in my time),
– Parking in some Speedway entrepreneur’s resident’s yard – $20,
– Food on the grounds – $12 (that’s if you stuff yourself),
– Souvenir program and starting grid – $10 (must have).
– One adult admission to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum – $3 (again, a ridiculously low price for what you get).

If your funds permit, I highly suggest the following upgrade options to the above plan…
– Fuel to return home – $50 although the afterglow of the race itself will have you considering a permanent move to Indy.
– One 12-pack of aluminum-canned American-brewed lager, preferably one of the ‘Light’ variations. – $7. (caveat: Under NO circumstances shall you purchase or attempt to purchase a styrofoam cooler for an additional $.99 for carrying said beverages – you will be better off carving 3 pounds of ice space from your 5-pound ice bag).  Even if you don’t drink, you’ll have the ability to easily befriend those ill-prepared imbibers seated around you with your generous sharing of adult beverages – truly a value which cannot be underestimated.
– Sunblock – $4 (always be prepared),
– Folding plastic rain poncho – $5 (doubles as seat cushion),
– Goodwill and high spirits – free,
– Singing ‘Back Home Again’ with Jim Nabors and 250,000 of your newest friends and racefans,

Absolutely Priceless.