Monday, April 6, 2009

Racing Season is Here!

(click image for a larger view)

I have attended all kinds of racing events, but last year, at the kind invitation of some relatives who had moved to Indianapolis, I went to my very first Indy 500.

A Grand Prix race at Indy is a multicultural, intercontinental affair, with lots of great European clothes, sunglasses and fabulous shoes in attendance, a fair number of the latter being spiky-heeled, which is really not a good way to go when the ground has been tenderized before you by tens of thousands of your fellow racing fans.

But The 500 is more than an event. It is spectacle.

By anyone's count, The 500 is in the pantheon of the top three motor races held each year anywhere in the world. (The others generally being accepted as the 24 Hours of LeMans and the Monaco Grand Prix.)

But, well, Indiana being Indiana, The 500 has Jim Nabors singing "Back Home in...", Florence Henderson (for some reason I never learned) an Air Force fly-over (I think there were actually two of those - Navy, maybe?), dozens of marching bands complete with baton squads and some carrying weapons, a multi-gazzillion helium balloon release, quite a few mass-broadcast prayers for sunny weather and safe race (in that order, as I remember), an ocean of beer and mountains of grilled, smoked and fried meat, a million or so token ears of corn, and some rituals that simply defy any understanding in the light of a 500 mile motor race.

This group was obviously seasoned veterans of the spectacle that is The Indianapolis 500, although I gotta say, I think the bling on Danica just looks trashy.

The race was predictably boring, but what a fabulous day!

If you haven't been to a 500, you need to go!

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