my thoughts on the subject

The Greatest Spectacle in Racing

The Sunday of Memorial Day weekend approaches.  Be prepared from some nostalgia from this transplanted Hoosier.  Tomorrow is the Indianapolis 500–the race that I’ve followed in a way since I was “a mere slip of a girl.”   There would be race car crafts in our elementary school all through May.  Checkered flags competed with the American flag in Memorial Day decor in stores and throughout the towns.   My parents went to most of the races, and while my sister and I were small, they would get us up at 6am (SO early for young’uns) and take us to Qualifications some Saturday prior to the event.  I remember hearing: “It’s a new track record!” over the loudspeakers and thinking of what a historic moment I must be witnessing….until about three or four new track records were set in a weekend.  And mmmm…powdered donuts.  That was one of the few days we got them–what a treat.

There was the year I staged a “500” bike race with my best friend–just one time around the block on our ten-speeds.  I crashed in the first turn.

There was the year I tried to use the cool pen my Dad bought me at the track on all my school assignments.  In the base of the pen was a race car that “moved” down a track whenever you turned the pen up and down.  I am still going to wear my race car earrings tomorrow that Dad bought me another year.  Rascal saw them on my earring tree and wanted to know if they could “vrrooom.”  Sorry, kid, no can do. 😉

I remember the May weekends visiting my grandparents when they lived near Speedway.  You could hear the roar of the race cars practicing miles away.  Nothing sounded more like summer starting than that, at least in those days.

Oh, and then there was the time when I was six or so, and my greatest aspiration of the week was to be the Indy 500 Queen, or at least one of her princesses.  Truthfully, I think being Queen of the House is more fun, albeit not nearly as glamorous.  I still get roses, anyway. 😉

Ah, the memories.  I still root for the Andrettis, because Dad aways rooted for Mario.  That’s probably why they don’t win; no one that I root for ever seems to.  😉  Like the year I got Pancho Carter’s autograph….

I’ll probably check online for results of tomorrow’s run of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”  I hope he won’t mind, but I want to end with some memories of Race Day that my cousin described so aptly.  It makes one wonder whether the “Spectacle” refers to the race or the fans? 😉

I miss the pageantry of that day: Jim Nabors singing (what a great country when a quarter of a million people gather to sing along with Gomer Pyle and it draws a tear to their eyes), drunks passing out on top of their coolers, and thousands making the decision that “yes, I’m dehydrating myself slowly with alcohol in the baking sun, and I’ve spend the last 365 days on my couch having not attended to personal hygiene, grooming, or fitness, but, nonetheless, it would be positively brilliant to take my shirt off.”   What a great event.

3 thoughts on “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing

  1. Glad you still have those earrings. I can not find them anywhere. We have the Cheetos and burgers and will be awaiting the replay. Dad wouldn’t let me get the powdered donuts and fried chicken, oh well. Maybe next year.

    “And she’s on it.”

    Congratulations on your new track record.


  2. Well, we don’t have the powdered donuts or Cheetos, either. I was afraid of putting TOO much junk food in the house (for Rascal’s sake) with our guests coming. After all, I bought 48 cokes….ugh…. 😉

  3. Ah, running to the front yard of Grandma’s (one of the few times we were allowed there, it seems!) to listen for the roar. Yes, you nailed it– that’s the definition of summer. Flavor-Ice in hand. Nothing beat it.

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