May 25, 2003


Expect a few posts here on the Indianapolis 500, to be run early tomorrow Australian time. How can you not love an event where a driver who qualifies at an average speed of 223.609 mph complains that ďitís really frustrating to be that slowĒ?

If you ever get the chance, visit the fantastic Indy museum at the racetrack. Iíve been there twice. Todayís IRL cars might look like junk (well, the G-Force is kinda interesting, with those dihedral sidepods) but the Indy cars of yore (and even not so yore) are beautiful. The Indy museum is loaded with Millers. Man, Iíd loot a Miller in a Baghdad minute.

Hereís the starting grid. Pick a winner. Iím going for Michael Andretti or Little Al, with whom I once shared an entertaining 30 minutes or so chatting about how damn devious Formula One bosses are. Despite multiple approaches (Williams among them) Al never landed an F1 drive.

UPDATE. Helio Castroneves picks Sarah Fisher to win; Fisher picks Little Al.

Posted by Tim Blair at May 25, 2003 04:20 PM

Scott Sharp.

Posted by: Lawrence at May 25, 2003 at 05:10 PM
Kite's car sputtered on the third lap of his first attempt. When he got back to pit road, his PDM team pulled the engine cover, but the problem was not that complex.

"I think they're allowing me to say I ran out of fuel," Kite said.

And wouldn't ya know it, he was driving a Chevy. Posted by: Tatterdemalian at May 25, 2003 at 05:49 PM

So damn boring....round, round, round....I'd give anything for a right-hand bend after the first ten minutes. The only exciting bits are the prangs. no, give me REAL motorsport. F1, ATCC, MotoGP.....bugger that Yank crap.

Posted by: Niall at May 25, 2003 at 07:00 PM

The cars turn right as they exit the pits ...

Posted by: tim at May 25, 2003 at 07:28 PM

Scott Dixon all the way!

Posted by: anton at May 25, 2003 at 08:13 PM

If they could do F1 at 230mph hell I'd watch that also. Looks can be deceiving unless you really understand the sport and what is actually happening. Take baseball for instance. People who do not understand what's happening can be bored to tears, but for the baseball nut each pitch can be a moment racked with tension. And what kind of pitch depends on who's batting, what the batter's record is against the pitcher, the batter's idiosyncracies (i.e. can he hit a breaking ball or not?), the pitch count, the batting order and/or who's on deck, and if any or all of the bases have runners aboard. With two outs the batter in the 8th spot is not going to see a pitch worth squat because the pitcher is on deck with a lousy batting avg., but if there is a man on first then with no outs then the pitcher will throw better pitches to keep from walking the 8th batter on four balls and moving the guy on first to scoring position at second because the top of the order begins after the pitcher with better batting avgs. If you know what's happening; Indy racing can be just as fun.

Posted by: D2D at May 25, 2003 at 10:29 PM

Niall is a hater.

Posted by: Dylan at May 26, 2003 at 01:46 AM

Man, you guys need to visit the Reno air races. After you've seen a souped-up Mustang going around the pylon at 500 mph a hundred feet off the deck, these little wheeled things are just going to seem....quaint.

Posted by: Bruce at May 26, 2003 at 03:08 AM

I appreciate your love of auto racing but I cannot support the Indy 500 or the IRL. Tony George, owner of the raceway and the league, is the main cause for the decline of open wheel racing in the US. He is a selfish, petty little man who only got into his current position because he married into the family. He set out to kill CART and has almost succeeded. Any racing league that only runs ovals is second rate. The racing is boring and, to Tony's chagrin, is packed with foreign racers. Tony's ostensible reason for starting the IRL was to have a series packed with American drivers. The ABC network (the american one, not the aussie) caved to Tony's threats to pull the 500 if ABC refused to run the other boring races in the IRL schedule. Finally, Tony George brings Formula 1 to the US and runs it on the worse track in the world. The course he created in the infield at IMS is terrible and makes for a boring race.

I will not watch the 500 or any IRL race until Tony George is gone. Please don't encourage our Aussie neighbors to pay any attention as well.

Posted by: Mike Anderson at May 26, 2003 at 05:24 AM

As a very little kid I got to visit, along with a bunch of cub scouts-one of whom was my brother, the Indy 500 speedway and the museum. The memories are faint but even back in the 1960s the muesum was a joy to a little kid who played with Matchbox toy cars, Hot Wheels having not yet been invented...
We also got a van ride around the track, my Mom got pictures of it all.

Posted by: Rifle308 at May 28, 2003 at 06:30 AM

Tony George is not what is wrong with the open wheel racing scene. NASCAR dominance with CART's utter stupidity is the reason it is down. CART tried to force things on the only track -Indy - that had refused to conform with their take over of open wheel racing from USAC years ago. Indy could because it had the 500, the best oval race on the planet.

George attempted to reduce the cost to encourage more drivers from limited financial backgrounds to race. Note - it is still $$$$$$$$. Now every driver can use the equipment they want - under CART some engine makers wouldn't sell to everyone who wanted to use the equipment, thus making them very non-competitive. Toyota and Honda did a major job improving their engines, so now GM will have to go back to the drawing board and fix theirs - which they will do.

The races are tight with close finishes - tighter than any other form of racing - including that parade of racing F1. What is the fun of a few right hand turns when there are three passes in a race.

Once the economy turns in the US the IRL is positioned to dominate open wheel ovals and start figuring out NASCAR - whose own races right now aren't all that exciting to watch anymore. The Indy 500 is worth watching for the reason that any major sporting event is worth watching - it has history, it is big, and people in the event care deeply about winning, usually making for great entertainment.

Posted by: Jim at May 30, 2003 at 07:44 AM