Monday, May 2, 2016

The Greatest Spectacle in Racing: The Indianapolis 500

Are you all set for the Greatest Spectacle in Racing?  This year will be the Indy 500’s one hundredth running, so whether or not you’re a race fan, it’s a great year to learn a few new things about the race.

Did you know that the 500 has its very own historian?  Donald Davis, a native of Britain, can spout -- or write -- basically any race history you’d like to know and proves it in this official history of the race.  If you’d like to learn some trivia, Indianapolis 500: A Century of Excitement, with a chapter on each decade the race has existed, should do the trick.  Are you up for something darker?  Read about the year they stopped the 500.  If you just need to attend a party and sound smart, take a few minutes to learn about the legends who have driven Indy.

For a more interactive option, consider visiting an exhibit commemorating the anniversary or plan a trip to the track’s Hall of Fame Museum.  To pick up just enough to impress your friends, memorize a few key facts about the Borg-Warner trophy, including how tall it is and how much it weighs, or find out what happened to the Apperson Jack Rabbit that ran in the 1911 race.

If there’s a race fan in your life, a little online shopping could result in the perfect gift.  Historical radio broadcasts of past races are quite affordable, and the speedway carries a whole host of practical gifts as well.

What if your attention span for all things racing is limited (or possibly nonexistent)?  You can’t go wrong with mystery stories that all revolve around the race, so pick up Racing Can Be Murder.  Stretch it a little farther, and fans of Janet Evanovich could be enjoying a tale of car chases and kisses on the pretext that it’s about auto racing with Metro Girl.  You might even be willing to learn the basics of NASCAR when it’s laugh-out-loud funny in the hands of bestseller Sharyn McCrumb’s  Once Around the Track.
It’s also a great time to lay the groundwork with your kids or grandkids, future fans of racing in all its forms.  Build cars together out of toilet paper tubes, read about NASCAR, or go all out and make edible tiny teddy racing cars.  If the kids are a bit older, wow your tween or teen by sharing the lowdown on becoming a NASCAR pit crew member.  To learn more about the science behind racecars and what makes them go fast, check out Acceleration Nation or Anatomy of an Indy Car.

If you can’t be at the race track, the events are broadcast on both television and radio.  Serious race fans will also be watching the Monaco Grand Prix and NASCAR’s Charlotte 600 though it is not yet possible to see them all in person.  Luckily for us, we are near to the most important location in motor racing.

If you’ll be taking in the excitement of the race in person, expect things to look a little different this year due to Project 100.  Get your tickets and check out the parking map ahead of time.  Most of all, have a great time being a part of history as it happens.

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