Yesterday was qualifying for the Indianapolis 500, bringing back many memories from years past. I could almost hear the words of Tom Carnegie, long time track announcer who passed ten years ago, “it’s a new track record!” Scott Dixon set a new mark for the pole position at 234.046 mph. I watched on TV from a thousand miles away, closer than the last fifteen years, having not been to the track in 20 years. We’ll celebrate this year with a race party this Sunday, treating our neighbors to the experience that was once a regular part of our lives.
My interest in racing anymore is Conor Daly, son of Indianapolis friends. His father Derek was a Speedway celebrity back when I was involved in the sport in the mid-1980s. His mother and I worked together at WIBC radio, the voice of the 500. I last saw them in Portland when the race came to town in September of 2018. Conor led 40 laps of last year’s Indy 500 after finally securing a steady ride. He’ll start in the middle of the pack this year. I saw him from a distance at last year’s St. Pete Grand Prix.
We’ll decorate with race flags, black & white checkered tablecloths, and memorabilia. Then we’ll all gather around the TV to sing “Back Home Again in Indiana” and wait for the “start your engines” command. Sarah Fisher will drive the pace car and the rest of the day will be a blur of brunch and booze. I’ll probably talk about my checkered past!