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Monday, May 30, 2005

It Was Dan, Not Danica!

Some post race thoughts:

FIRST: DAMN that was one of the best races I've seen in a long time. 22 lead changes I think, lots of passing to get other positions, not too many crashes (only 6 and some were more love taps than anything else).

SECOND: I think Danica Patrick actually managed to live up to all the media hype. She has skills, she has the first rate team (Rahal-Letterman). Barring the rookie mistakes of stalling out in Pit Lane and spinning out when trying to go for the restart she just might have won. I knew Danica Patrick couldn't win when her last fuel stop was lap 155. You can finish the last 45 laps on one tank but when you have to conserve fuel you don't win the race (max power needs max fuel). That being said...I'll discuss a downside later on.

THIRD: I don't know which of my race companions said this, but he is right: The 500 is the closest we get to Mardi Gras. You will never find a more interesting mix of humanity in the Midwest than at the Indianapolis 500. It is a HUGE party with a generous cross-section of social strata combining at one location. The things you see are amazing. Rednecks, checkered flag bikini tops, some mid-40s guy just dropping his jeans in the North 40 (sir I'm glad you're wearing tighty-whities for your comfort, but I didn't need to see them), special t-shirts, whoa those jeans are so tight we got her credit card number, totally drunk woman cooling herself off by pour Coors Light down her back (why is my leg and shoe so wet?), drunk guy bumping into every pole along a driveway (I couldn't tell if he thought it was a game or if he couldn't move the 6 inches to the right to avoid them all), the aforementioned drunk guy having a wardrobe malfunction when his pants just came off his butt (at least his two girlfriends tried to put them back on), some guy getting out of the car that was stuck in traffic and peeing at the edge of the woods, two guys playing Chinese Fire Drill to swap seats in traffic, liquid refreshment transfers between two vehicles, screaming of a Foreigner song between vehicles, blatant violations of the Open Container Law, just having another tailgate after the race to wait for traffic to die down. If you're a Bible-Thumping person you would hate Indy 500 experience. If you've always wanted to go to Carnival or Mardi Gras this is a reasonable facsimile.

FOURTH: the t-shirts deserve their own category.
  • I'm A Liability (so very funny to me and on a neon orange tank top no less)
  • Tit Crew (other than that I didn't see anything resembling the old 'Show Us You Tits' shirts. The crowd has calmed down since the Snake Pit days.)
  • My First Indy 500 (on a 5 year old girl with her daddy. So sweet I had to mention it to remind you not everything is a drunken debauchery fest there.)
  • Party Till Your Crotch Smells (to remind you this is a drunken debauchery fest).
  • Don't Make Me Take Off This Shirt (this man had to weight 400lbs)
FIFTH: I've noticed this in the papers and on TV and to be honest I'm a tad miffed by it. The whirlwind media frenzy that is Danica Patrick is amazing. I cheered her on when she had the lead. I wanted her to win just so the Reichschancellor would have to acknowledge women exist in motorsports (his head would explode I think). But here is the deal: Dan Wheldon WON the race, but looking at the media reports you wouldn't know it! Most of the newspaper, many of the online articles, all the interviews today deal with Danica Patrick and her fantastic finish (4th place). It is a great story, but she didn't win the race! Call me old school, but I think the limelight should be for the winner.

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