This weekly piece is penned from the Hoosier state. In Indiana, the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 is upon us. It is the greatest spectacle in racing and one of the longest-standing sporting events in the history of time.
The world has grown by 5 billion people. Stamps cost 20 times more. The Titanic was merely in draft form, no idea of its eventual fate – the year the Indianapolis Motor Speedway first held a race. The Saratoga and Churchill Downs horse race courses are the only sports venues with more staying power than the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It’s what people know about Indiana, and I dare you to find a “sports must do list” that does not include attending a race at the famed venue.
You know a thing or two about safe and expert driving, and so do these fellow professionals. The sport has continually improved safety, and after every crash, IndyCar analyzes how to make improvements to prevent similar accidents in the future. Much like the trucking industry.
Justin Wilson was killed at the Pocono race in 2015 when flying debris hit him in the head. Following this deadly accident late last season, modifications have been made to the cars to tether on pieces. Other recent improvements include installing a domed skid plate so that cars cannot go airborne when turned around in an accident and also a device that keeps the car from moving if not in neutral when the fuel hose is attached. Modifications are carefully considered. Like in trucking, you don’t want to make one thing safer and 4 things less safe.
Arguably the greatest race car driver in the history of racing, Mario Andretti, sums up the 500 like this, “If everything seems under control, you just aren’t going fast enough.” Andretti is the only driver to win the triple crown: Indianapolis 500, Daytona 500 and the Formula One World Championship. At 230 miles per hour, life certainly does come at you fast. Interestingly, the difference between taking home the checkered flag and 33rd place will be a mere few miles an hour – a good analogy for life.
Who will you be cheering for in this year’s race? What is your favorite race memory?
As always, I look forward to hearing what you think of this article and what else you would like to see in this spot.
Take care of yourself and drive home safely,