There are 33 drivers who can finally make good on the poetic words of age-old philosopher Ricky Bobby.
“I wanna go fast.”
“The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” may have been delayed three months because of COVID-19, but the Brickyard will finally come to life on Sunday for the 104th Indianapolis 500.
Well, sort of.
Welcome to 2020.
In a typical year, the race takes place on Memorial Day weekend and before 300,000 fans. That makes it one of the largest single-day sporting events in the world.
By now, you know that 2020 is not a normal year. In racing terms, the car blew out all four tires, the engine exploded and the tow truck couldn’t get out of the pit area.
But there was no way this race wouldn’t happen — pandemic or not.
It also serves as the first chance for racing fans here to wager on the Indy 500 since the market for CO sports betting market launched in May.
What: The Indianapolis 500
When: 12:30 p.m. MST, Sunday, Aug. 23
Where: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Indianapolis
Indy 500 odds
|2021 Indy 500 odds||BetMGM||DraftKings||FanDuel|
|Favorites to win (top five)||Scott Dixon +350|
Colton Herta +700
Patricio O'Ward +850
Josef Newgarden +1,200
Alexander Rossi +1,200
Alex Palou +1,200
Tony Kanaan +1,400
|Scott Dixon +350|
Colton Herta +700
Patricio O'Ward +1,100
Alex Palou +1,400
Alexander Rossi +1,400
Rinus VeeKay +1,400
Josef Newgarden +1,500
|Scott Dixon +330
Colton Herta +750
Patricio O'Ward +800
Alexander Rossi +1,300
Josef Newgarden +1,300
Alex Palou +1,600
Despite the fact that Marco Andretti held off Scott Dixon to win the pole for Sunday’s race, Dixon is the favorite to kiss the bricks and drink the milk.
Andretti, meanwhile, is looking to break the famed “Andretti Curse” at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Perhaps the most famous family in racing has won the Indy 500 one time. The family has had at least one driver in the race since 1969.
Even more amazing: It’s been 33 years since an Andretti led the Indy 500 field to the green flag.
Andretti told The Associated Press after he captured the pole:
“Obviously, I was emotional. We put so much into it. This place means so much to us as a family. We’ve just been through so many ups and downs at this place. Obviously, my (late) cousin, John, is riding with me, my grandfather (Mario) from home.
“We know family is pulling for us. We live and breathe this sport, this race in particular.”
Marco’s 80-year-old grandfather, Mario Andretti, told NBC Sports:
“I’m happier now than I’ve ever been. I jumped so high I hit my head on the ceiling and it’s a 9-foot ceiling. He knows what he needs to do to get the best out of the car and minimize mistakes. He’s seriously focused on winning the 500.”
It's been 33 years since an Andretti got to lead the field of 33 into Turn 1 at #IMS. @MarioAndretti talked with @NBCSports during Sunday's #Indy500 practice about his grandson @MarcoAndretti winning the pole on Sunday.#INDYCAR | @GainbridgeLife pic.twitter.com/qUacIPOSUN
— Indianapolis Motor Speedway (@IMS) August 16, 2020
Even if you don’t know anything about racing, you know the Indy 500. It’s as ingrained in Americana as baseball.
As the AP story notes, there have been only two pauses in race history — during World War I in 1917 and 1918, then from 1942-1945 during World War II.
The story adds that new race and track owner Roger Penske and the speedway staff will do their best to honor the tradition of the event despite the changes and challenges.
“There was no way we were not going to run the race. That was never going to be an option,” Penske said.
The Indy 500 gets the green flag on Sunday, just without the fans in attendance.
That is similar to what we’ve seen across the major sports leagues in the US.
So, like just about everything else in this historic year, it’ll be unique.
Since fans won’t attend, some are planning watch parties.
From the Indy Star, race fan Scott Blankenship plans on:
Creating his own Snake Pit, hosting a party with 50 to 100 people attending to watch the race on a big screen outside. There will be a DJ, a slip ‘n slide, even a flyover courtesy of a nearby farmer with a crop-dusting plane. He doesn’t think a cannon blast will be possible, but they’re trying.
“We’ll probably just shoot a shotgun,” Blankenship told the Indy Star. “Something silly, redneck like that.”
It’s not Memorial Day weekend, and fans won’t attend “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,” but the time has finally come.
Gentlemen, start your engines.
Let’s go racing.