The Month of May …

Posted: May 11, 2013 in Uncategorized

Indy

By: Wm. R. LaDow

Friday, May 10, 2013

As reported for the Post-Tribune – A Chicago Sun-Times Media Company

 

It has begun this way for the previous ninety-six running’s of the Indianapolis 500.

The great speedway, a strikingly dormant behemoth overshadowing 1,025 acres of real estate in the city of Speedway, Indiana, seems virtually lifeless.

Then with the muffled sound of a gate being unlocked, the most storied speedway in the auto racing world is slowly awakened.

You are about to witness one of the greatest soap operas on earth.

As the Speedway comes to life, race team members arrive, followed by huge haulers, containing the fastest race cars to grace this planet.  Gasoline Alley doors open and from then on almost every movement of cars and equipment is done by hand, with the most extreme care being taken.

The “Month of May” at Indianapolis Motor Speedway opens its gates to all comers. Drivers from around the world, make their annual pilgrimage to the “Brickyard” in a quest for racing immortality.

Walking through the garages of Gasoline Alley will be drivers who have the sponsors, the cars, the mechanics and pit crews to make their case after 500 grueling miles on race day. But also venturing from garage to garage, are those with skills to race, but not the money nor equipment. They too are chasing a dream.

Pursuit of the art of the deal, followed by handshake agreements that sometimes work, but mostly are lost in a sea of rhetoric, lead to big plans being made, press releases being issued and lawyers quibbling over small details.

Cars and parts and crew members are all up for grabs. The questions get bantered about: “Will the equipment be ready in time?” “Do they have a backup car?” “Do they have enough sponsorship to support an entire team for the entire month?” “Who else can they call for an infusion of cash?” “Isn’t there anyone else who can be called to help close the deal?” 

Early mornings, long days and late nights brings everyone’s stress levels to a fevered pitch.

In the meantime, cars will crash, engines will blow, tires will fail and qualifying weekend will bring a myriad of ups and downs, ending with some driver (or drivers) being left out of the mix by 6pm on Bump Day.

That is just the first half of it as this soap opera will continue to play out through race day.

On Sunday, May 26th, the “Month of May” will reach its zenith and for those in the know, one of the greatest Indy 500 winner circle quotes … “You just don’t know what Indy means!” will ring true for the 97th time.

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