Sunday, May 29, 2011

The 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500: Feast Day for Gearheads-UPDATED

It's no secret that I'm a gearhead, unless you just stumbled in here today for the first time. If it is fast, I like it! I don't care whether we are talkin' cars, boats, planes, go-karts, even the pine-wood derby. You name it.

Speed, and the drivers with the skills to thread the needle and run across the razors edge, and win, is a testament to the wonderful human creature that God created.

Because as creatures go, humans are pretty slow. Think you can out run a lion, tiger, or bear? How about the cheetah? You'd be lucky if you can keep up with your pet daschund, at least in short bursts of speed. No. Mankind has had to use our God given intelligence to figure out ways to go faster than all of the creatures mentioned. But to bring speed to the common man, it took the invention of the automobile. And eventually, folks started competing to see who could be fastest on any given day. Thus motor racing was born.

In my mind, the big show in motor racing is the Indianapolis 500. Don't get me wrong, I love the 24 Hours of LeMans too. Indy cars cutting it up on the streets of Long Beach, or Toronto, is a close second. Trans-Am cars (remember those?) were awesome to watch as well. Formula One? You don't even want to know.

But Indy is where the best eventually land. It is among the only oval track races I ever bother watching. Here is an example of why,

Silly announcers. Ha! Ol' Sammy schooled them. That dude Hornish can drive. The Andretti Curse at Indy lives! Mario Andretti won in 1969, but no Andretti has ever won the Indy 500 since. The closest finish ever was in 1992 when Al Unser Jr. defeated Scott Goodyear by .043 seconds. The Top-10 finishes of all time are listed here.

In about an hour, the show will get off the ground. Jim Nabors, who for the past 30 years or so has sang "Back Home Again in Indiana," won't be able to attend this year due to being ill. Please say a prayer for him. And say a prayer for safe racing for the rest of the field too.

Oh, check out the warm-up act for today's race. PUNCH IT!

I don't think Evil Knievel ever made a jump that successfully. Awesome! The back story of this feat is here.

Speaking of the field, it is one of the most closely matched fields in the history of the race. This is the closest matched field by time in Indianapolis 500 history -- 2.5399 seconds separate fastest qualifier Alex Tagliani and slowest qualifier Ana Beatriz. The previous record was 3.0622 seconds set in 2010. Sweet!

Other cool factoids for this years race can be found here.

Ladies (four of them this year) and Gentleman, Start Your Engines!

UPDATES: Congratulations to 2011 INDY 500 Winner Dan Weldon. Another amazing finish!

UPDATE II: The "didn't see that one coming," finish.