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The Indy 500... still the greatest...

     I am sure by now you have seen the ESPN/ABC spot about the Indy 500, and all the things that make it great.  That commercial says it all... it was, has been, and continues to be, the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.  While you may argue that the Indy 500 is Gulliver and the other IndyCar series races are the LIlliputians-- and rightly so, I might add-- the last Sunday in May is STILL the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.  I know-- I have covered it, at least in part.
      I was there to cover qualifications 20 years ago, in 1993--before "The Split."  In that day, a whole row of local broadcasters, along with national and international correspondents, were in the timing tower along the front stretch.  The end seats were reserved for the IMS Network/WIBC Indianapolis, the race's flagship networks.  I have the privilege to watch legends like Bob Jenkins, Jerry Baker, and Bob Lamey do their thing over four days of qualifications.  I saw A.J. Foyt's final tearful retirement as a driver on Pole Day 1993-- when his car was among the fastest in practice.  I saw the legends when they were legends--both Als, Junior and Senior... Mario Andretti, and his son Michael...  and those struggling to get into the race.  It was one of the greatest sets of days in my life-- and among the most exhausting.
      That was a few years before IndyCar racing tried to commit suicide-- and wounded itself beyond repair-- when the IRL excluded CART from its race, and killed the series.  But try as they may, they could not kill the Indy 500.  You could put 33 no-names in those cars, and there would still be an audience-- and believe me, they tried that in the late 1990's.  Why?  Because in a field of Lilliputians, the Indianapolis 500 is still Gulliver.  It is, was, and forever will be, the Greatest Spectacie in Racing.  It no longer has the  greatest drivers in American racing-- NASCAR has that-- but it it still has the richest history, the best roots, and the greatest traditions of any other auto race.  Long live the Indy 500.

                                                           That's my take... I'm Tom Lee.          

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Locations : Indianapolis
People : Bob JenkinsBob LameyJerry BakerMario AndrettiMichael

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05/20/2013 7:36AM
The Indy 500... still the greatest...
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