Everything about the American Spirit that is special to people worldwide involves resistance, courage, tradition, and liberty- like the freedom to live out our dreams.
Even when that dream has a risk of injury and even sometimes death, we are free to try just about anything we want to try. In a recent interview, Colton Herta, son of race driver Bryan Herta, addressed that issue a little bit , saying that even a crash at last year's Indy 500, with his Dad watching, would not stop him from doing what he loved- racing.
This is stuff that makes great conversation for fans. We covered Herta's interview HERE.
Indy lore is so much fun.. it is a family tradition for many people:
And makes exciting stories for fans over coffee, beer, and family dinners.
Without examples of people daring greatly and challenging themselves and pushing technology, these brave American concepts really can't exist in the American identity- and we often look to our sports competitions to find those examples of people who break records and win championships- to learn from and to be inspired by.
Indy fans love discussing every race detail and reliving those inspirations. n
So grab a coffee.. and lets talk... and if you are going to grab a beer, check out our coverage of that HERE.
Americans love our sports. But why? Because they provide a sense of entertainment, competition, and camaraderie, It also serves as an escape from the everyday stress of life. The Indy 500 is like a buffet of sports delights, catering to our senses of loyalty, our drive to learn and resolve uncertainty, and to see beauty in physical prowess. It is all stuff Americans love.
Parnelli Jones jumps from his race car after it caught fire during a pit stop at the Indianapolis 500 race in 1964.
It is so much more than a race. The Indy 500 is called 'the greatest spectacle in racing' and it is an American icon even with people who don't love racing.
The Indy 500 is also different from other races- we have a lot of traditions and history. For example, check out this tidbit involving the great Parnelli Jones and his grandson, the third generation to race at the 500- Jager Jones- who will compete in the Indy 500 this year.
Jones championship is highlighted at the famous gathering spot- Charlie Browns, right outside the speedway where people gather to talk about race details.
Check out Jones and his anticipation:
Here is what feeds a lot of race talk- Indy fans love our stats and figures- here are some from the NTT IndyCar team:
For Immediate ReleaseNine Former Winners, Seven Series ChampsReady To Start ‘500’
PreparationINDIANAPOLIS (Monday, May 15, 2023)– The time has come for the stars of the NTTINDYCAR SERIES to embark on a legacy-defining month as preparations get underway for the107th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge on May 28.
We covered the exciting return of 'Bump Day' HERE.
There are 34 entries set to contest the 33 starting spots for this year’s edition of “The GreatestSpectacle in Racing,” including nine former winners. Marcus Ericsson delivered a composed performance last year by fending off a late charge by Pato O’Ward of Arrow McLaren to claim his maiden “500” win, which gave team owner ChipGanassi his fifth victory in the race as a sole team owner. Other former winners aiming for a spot in the race this year include four-time winner Helio Castroneves (2001, 2002, 2009, 2021) and two-time winner Takuma Sato (2017, 2020), plus single winners Scott Dixon (2008), TonyKanaan (2013), Ryan Hunter-Reay (2014), Alexander Rossi (2016), Will Power (2018) and Simon Pagenaud (2019).
The record for winners in one field is 10, set in 1992.SEE: Entry ListCastroneves earned a spot with A.J. Foyt, Al Unser, and Rick Mears in the most prestigious club in motorsports – four-time winners of the Indianapolis 500 – with his emotional victory May 30, 2021, in the No. 06 AutoNation/Sirius XM Honda fielded by Meyer Shank Racing.
A record-breaking fifth would put Castroneves alone at the top with the most victories. Additionally, Castroneves and Kanaan are both 48 years old, and a victory by either would make them the oldest winner in “500” history, a record held by Al Unser, who won the 1987 edition just five days shy of his 48th birthday. Ericsson has a chance to become the first back-to-back winner since Castroneves accomplished the feat in 2001 and 2002. If Ericsson secures a repeat win, he will earn a bonus of $ 420,000 courtesy of BorgWarner, the namesake of the Indy 500 trophy.
That amount is more than the entire yearly purse, including the 50th anniversary of the “500” in 1961, which paid out $ out$397,910. The field payout jumped to $425,652 in 1962. The field includes seven past INDYCAR SERIES champions: Dixon, Hunter-Reay, Kanaan, Josef Newgarden, Pagenaud, Alex Palou, and Power. Katherine Legge makes her long-awaited return to Indianapolis Motor Speedway this month, having last raced in the Indianapolis 500 in 2013. A two-time starter of the historic race, she will drive a one-off entry as the fourth car for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.
Simona de Silvestrowas the last female to drive in the race in 2021. Four drivers will compete for top rookie honors, featuring multiple Argentina touring-car champion Agustín Canapino and the previous year’s INDY NXT by Firestone race winners Benjamin Pedersen and Sting Ray Robb. RC Enerson, who narrowly missed making the field of 33 in 2021, is back for another run, but this time with Abel Motorsports, an INDY NXT byFirestone team making its first attempt at the “500.”Practice opens Tuesday, May 16, and runs through Friday, May 19.
PPG Presents Armed ForcesQualifying is scheduled for Saturday, May 20 and Sunday, May 21, followed by a two-hour practice Monday, May 22. The traditional final rule, two hours again this year on Miller LiteCarb Day, will be held Friday, May 26.
Live Race Day coverage begins on NBC, Telemundo Deportes on Universo, and the INDYCARRadio Network at 11 a.m. (ET), with the green flag set for 12:45 p.m.2023 ENTRY BREAKDOWN: Winners (9): Helio Castroneves, Scott Dixon, Marcus Ericsson, Ryan Hunter-Reay, TonyKanaan, Simon Pagenaud, Will Power, Alexander Rossi, Takuma SatoRookies (4): Agustín Canapino, RC Enerson, Benjamin Pedersen, Sting Ray RobbU.S. drivers (13): Marco Andretti, Ed Carpenter, Conor Daly, RC Enerson, Santino Ferrucci,Colton Herta, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Kyle Kirkwood, David Malukas, Josef Newgarden, GrahamRahal, Sting Ray Robb, Alexander RossiInternational drivers (21, from 14 countries): Agustín Canapino, Helio Castroneves, DevlinDeFrancesco, Scott Dixon, Marcus Ericsson, Romain Grosjean, Jack Harvey, Callum Ilott, TonyKanaan, Katherine Legge, Christian Lundgaard, Scott McLaughlin, Pato O’Ward, SimonPagenaud, Alex Palou, Benjamin Pedersen, Will Power, Felix Rosenqvist, Takuma Sato, RinusVeeKay, Stefan WilsonEngines (34): Honda 17, Chevrolet 17 (all cars use Dallara chassis and Firestone tires)
SO-Why do we love the Indy 500?
My favorite Aunt, who grew up in Indianapolis, told me how her family would gather in their yard yearly to listen to the race. I told her a little about my plan to rediscover the glorious American history in the race that people may have forgotten.
"Just think of Eddie Rickenbacker, read his Bio,, and don't forget your Great Grandfather owned some property around the track, go to the County Assessors office when you are in Indianapolis and research that- see what you can find out," she said to me, giving me some great ideas, as we were discussing the race and the meaning of it. Her husband grew up with my Dad in Indianapolis going to the race.
I made a list of my Indianapolis genealogy and found that many of them are buried in cemeteries near the speedway- this will be an exciting investigation.
History like that is fascinating. Rickenbacker's history is fascinating. Of course, the very origins of the race were by an American hero:
EDWARD “EDDIE” V. RICKENBACKER, America's World War I flying ace, was an Indianapolis 500 driver before he ever learned how to fly a plane.
(Amelia Earhart and Eddie Rickenbacker at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, May 30, 1935. Earhart served as the first woman referee for the 500-mile race, and was the first woman to receive an official position in the running of the race.)
"Edward Vernon Rickenbacker was an American fighter pilot in World War I and a Medal of Honor recipient. With 26 aerial victories, he was the most successful and most decorated United States flying ace of the war. He was also a race car driver, an automotive designer, and a long-time head of Eastern Air Lines."
There is a lot to learn at the Indy 500:
I grew up tagging along with my Dad, who attended the race since he was kid; I don't know what was on his mind about why he loved the race so much. As a little kid, I fell in love with everything about the speedway and the race. I used to hang out in the old photography office when it was out where the media building is now. I would look in the old boxes of photos- they always fascinated me.
I got bit by the bug.
Many of us don't know how to explain this passion exactly. It is hard to put into words.
What does racing mean to drivers?
What do champions think about?
Think about the inspiration of Romain Grosjean, the fastest Rookie last year- who moved from F1 and has grown to love his life in the United States and the Indy 500 speedway.
" Formula One veteran Grosjean earned the distinction as the highest-starting rookie in this year's field, putting together a four-lap average speed of 231.999 mph in the No. 28 DHL Honda," IndyStar reported in 2022.
Grosjean told the media that he was learning to be excited about the event because of the fans and what he saw when he went downtown into the city and saw all of the decorations for the race.
F1 doesn't have anything like that:
Check out this great 2 part Interview of Grosjean from 2022's media day, right before the Indy 500. It is full of pro-Indy 500, his love for America and some of his ideas about competing. I got to ask Grosjean what happens when he wants to go fast and has to slow down? I loved his answer:
So- Are you ready for this story of historic achievement at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for 2023? Just think, someone 50 years from now will be opening a cooler or grabbing a cup of coffee and telling stories about what happened at the races we have seen.. the Indy 500 is so much more than a race, it is a celebration of our American family: