Friday, May 26, 2006

Ladies and Gentlemen, Start Your Engines!

You won't hear much from me this weekend, because I'm off on a pilgrimmage to one of the greatest spectacles in sports--yup, I'm going to the Indianapolis 500.

I went to my first Indy 500 last year. I'm not a racing fan, but Indy was on my list of sporting events that I had to see before I died, and when my brother said he had extra tickets, I said, "why not?" Before the race, I bought into the whole "go fast and turn left" stereotype. I just took it as a given that unless you were a total gear head, there wouldn't be much to see.

Then the race started, and I was blown away. If you've only seen the race on TV, you haven't seen it. Our seats were in Turn 1, at the head of the straightaway, and when the race started, the cars roared toward us, five abreast, at over 200 mph. I could feel the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. It was literally the most jaw-droppingly awesome thing I've ever seen--TV can't begin to do justice to the sights and sounds of the Indianapolis 500.

I've been to two World Series, an AFC Championship Game, NBA Conference Finals, and more ACC basketball games than I can count. Hell, I've even seen Pele play soccer. (I'm starting to sound like Rutger Hauer in Blade Runner, aren't I?) Anyway, there's nothing I've seen that compares to the adrenaline rush you get watching the first lap at Indy.

Unfortunately, the Indy racing world has been devastated by a decade-long civil war, and the marketing dynamo that is NASCAR has almost completely eclipsed Indy racing. However, the Indianapolis 500 is still the biggest single day event in sports, and there will be at least 250,000 people who will spend Sunday afternoon at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on the edge of their seats.

I'm lucky to be one of them.

1 comment:

Vinny said...

Rhino and I are both fans of Hunter S. Thompson. If the Rhino's trip to Indy is anything like the good doctor's to the Kentucky Derby, it should be wild.