Indy 500 2005… what was that crap?

patrick_danicaSince I can remember I’ve seen parts of and usually the finish of the Indianapolis 500. The race is pretty much the only Indy car race that gets any recognition in sports. I can’t deny it I could name off more Indy 500 winners the last 10 years then I could name off IRL, Formula One or CART champions. Yes there is actually three divisions of Indy car racing.

The fact that I could recall about three previous Indy winners and zero champions makes me wonder. Who the hell watches this crap past Indy?

Before driver intros 3 Doors Down preformed their first hit “Kryptonite”. How old was that? Times of when I was in high school reappeared in my head and I graduated years ago. The song is one of those with allot of background sounds and the singer being loud at times. With an open roof and sound free to go in all directions you could barely hear the band and the crowd seemed less then enthused. As much as I liked 3 Doors Down even I found it painful to watch this performance.

To make matters worse the introduction of the drivers only further proved that even if Americans watch Indy they don’t have a clue who the drivers are. The fans were quiet for the most part as 32 men and a woman made their out to the sound of their name. The drivers walked out and seemed confused themselves on what to do. Of course there were minor pops for Tony Kannan the pole sitter and Danica Patrick the super charging female rookie who started fourth.

The way rookie Danica Patrick was paraded around for the last week made me sick. Ok I’ll agree she’s not a bad looking girl but to try and sell sex appeal strapped into a 2,000 lb car going 230 miles an hour seems rather stupid.

It’s not like Patrick even tried to stop the publicity. She ate it up as any 23 year old pop singer would. I can’t really blame her though, well not entirely. IRL knows no one cares about their races. With the prestige and thrill of Indy fading the last few years they were desperate to try and market a product. Putting Patrick’s body out there for some horny 40 year old male to stare at must of seamed like a great idea to someone.

Had she been victorious at Indy I fear we would of seen her just about everywhere. IRL would of been all over the place and people would tune in like she was Tiger Woods. Instead she finished in fourth which should of far exceeded any expectations.

Of course leading 19 laps and being in contention all day, even to finish fouth, is only going to get people mad that she didn’t win. IRL doesn’t win because there’s very little carry over effect for the viewer who dropped in just for the 500.

But one fact can’t be denied the majority of people who watch Indy watch it only for two things.

Indy is tradition and American’s pride themselves on upholding traditions. 89 years don’t happen for a reason some would suggest. However now that IRL and CART have split racing and the field at Indy has taken a drastic hit. Who has time to keep up on the two divisions. Unlike NASCAR where some of the drivers compete in both the Busch and Nextel series, this does not happen in Indy racing.  There was 33 cars in the field this year but the reality is the field was pretty weak minus a few guys who are always contenders.

The other reason people watch Indy is that it’s a warm-up to the NASCAR Nextel race that follows. Just hours after Indy concludes NASCAR has their longest race of the season, the Coca-Cola 600 in Charlotte, North Carolina.

To understand why NASCAR has over taken these open wheel series is quite obvious. First off NASCAR series cars resemble the cars that we drive every day. Second there is strong representation of American drivers in the field. Actually with a few exceptions here and there the field is almost always an All-American starting grid.

Truth be told Indy cars do run faster, however watching them go around in circles gets rather boring. When Indy cars go to make a pass there’s no drama of “Will he make the pass”. Either the driver scoops under and overtakes the other drive for the position or he remains running behind him in the distance. The battle doesn’t tantalize us for laps at a time.

Not to even mention that Indy car wrecks are boring. The reason most cars go behind the wall in Indy is because they smack the wall and their tire is now broken off. Yea after you see this about 3 times it gets rather tame. Sure they flip over sometimes, bump against each other but in the end there’s sure to be a broken tire rod and you just can’t drive with a broken tire rod.

I’m not a fan of Indy car racing. I did watch the beginning of the race but missed the end. I didn’t even get to see the winner drink his milk. Some loss huh. I could go on but the Coca-Cola 600 is about to start.

John Boarman
John Boarman
Founder and Owner of Tireball Sports.

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