Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Indy 500 Guide for Non-Indiana Residents!

It doesn't matter where you're from, every state has something unique about it that is hard to explain to people who aren't from that state.

I remember a post someone wrote after The Boston Marathon saying that unless you live (or lived) in Boston or unless you're a runner, you don't understand what a big deal The Boston Marathon is. I sort of think the same about the Indy 500. Unless you're a driver or you live in Indiana, you don't really "get" it.

So here's a quick little post explaining the Indy 500 to people who aren't from Indiana..

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The Indianapolis 500 is a big deal. It's considered one of the top 3 most prestigious motorsport races in the world. In fact many, many call it THE most prestigious. The winner gets about $2.5 million dollars.. and they ALL say that they don't do it for the money. They do it to have their face put onto the trophy.

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I don't even like racing. I don't watch Nascar, I don't know a darn thing about sprint cars, and I know even less about Formula 1. I watch one race a year. If you live in Indiana, it's required.

It's such a big deal in Indiana that in 6th grade we spent 6 weeks learning about the history of the Indianapolis 500 and ended that with a field trip to the track the week of qualifications. Ask any kid who grew up here and I'd say over 75% of them have been to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

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For crying out loud, this is our state quarter! Yes, that's an Indy car.
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Here are the fun facts you need to know.. Some of these I already knew and a few I looked up.
  • The Indianapolis Motor Speedway was built in 1909. Yes, it's over 100 years old.
  • It's a 2.5 mile track. They race 200 laps to equal 500 miles. Hence the name "Indianapolis 500"
  • Churchill Downs, Yankee Stadium, the Rose Bowl, the Roman Colosseum and Vatican City all can fit inside the Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval. All, at the same time.

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  • At the start/finish line there is a row of bricks from the original speedway. When a driver wins, one of the most prestigious things is getting to kiss that row of bricks. Weird, but a huge honor.
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  • Since 1933 the winners of the Indy 500 all drink milk in victory lane. There's a big long story to go along with that, but you don't care, so I'm not going to tell it. Just know that every year, they all drink milk. And usually dump it on themselves.. which is gross.

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  • First winner was in 1911 - Ray Harroun
Also, hilarious fun fact.. in 1993 the winner of the 500, Emerson Fittipaldi didn't drink milk in victory lane. He's the first and only person to do that since 1933. And guess what? He got booed. Homeboy just won the Indianapolis 500, fans are cheering, he reaches for a glass of orange juice instead of milk and instantly everyone boos him. Hilarious.

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Anyway, basically what I'm trying to say with this post is that if you don't live in Indiana, you probably think we're a bunch of crazy rednecks. But this is the one day a year where it is acceptable and encouraged to let your redneck flag fly!

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Race day is made for watching cars turn left repeatedly, a few crashes, and drinking. Lots and lots of drinking.  Some of my friends went to the track this year to celebrate. My bestie is the one in the pink Merica hat. I have a lime green one just like it. They're also in those other pictures, but I can't find them. They know people who know people. #celebritiesbyassociation

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So next year who's making the trip to Indiana to drink in the sun with me all day long? Bring your flannel and your cut-offs.
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  1. The milk tradition seriously needs to go (IMO!) !!!!

  2. Love this recap -- it's perfect. And that field trip is totally a rite of passage.

  3. Yep - I moved to Indy about 2 years ago and didn't get it until I lived here! Indy in the month of May is something else. I don't care for the actual race (too crowded, hot, sweaty, etc.) but loved running the mini marathon on the track and tripped over people kissing the bricks!!

    Are you in Indy, or nearby?

  4. I am so glad you posted this!! I was so unprepared for the party I went to on Sunday! Now I will be prepared for next year :)

  5. I know of the Indy 500 but didn't realize what a big deal it was for the state until reading your post.

    The bricks are also kissed by the winner of the Brickyard 400 which is a NASCAR race that's run there. It's definitely a newer race, started in the 90's I believe. It's not the same as the Indy 500 but still pretty awesome.

  6. Indy 500 race different than F1 car, thank for this guide.


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