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Thoughts on the 93rd Indianapolis 500

May 24, 2009

I’ll be the first to admit I don’t think I could ever watch an entire race from start to finish, but I still find the big races like the Indianapolis 500 fascinating.
Today, between watching the Red Sox beat up on the Mets (including yet another balk by a Mets pitcher) and old episodes of How I Met Your Mother (I just watched the Pineapple Incident again), I caught a few moments of the race.
The first thing I saw was the start of the race, and what a start it was. Less than 15 seconds into the race and the first crash occurs as Marco Andretti and Mario Moraes slide into the wall. Like any other non-racing enthusiast, I typically find crashes to be the most exciting part of a race, but a crash within the first 15 seconds? You have to feel terrible for Marco and Mario.
So after that happened, I tuned out for about 130 laps and nearly forgot completely about the race. When I tuned back in, I caught the most frightening part of the race.
On a lap 134 pit stop, Vitor Meira‘s crew spilled fuel and his car was engulfed in flames moments later. Fortunately, they doused the vehicle — and Meira — in water and he even managed to continue the race in 20th place. Unfortunately, he later crashed and was taken to the hospital where he was treated for two broken vertebrae.
Following the Meira car going up in flames, I tuned back to How I Met Your Mother for a couple more episodes before watching the Mets and Red Sox once again. When I tuned back in, I saw something even more remarkable than the Meira fire.
Helio Castroneves, who won back-to-back races in 2001 and 2002, took the title for a third time just over a month after facing tax evasion charges. Up until April 17 it was unclear whether the two-time Indy 500 winner would even participate in today’s race. Now, after starting in the No. 1 position, the Brazilian became just the ninth driver to win the race three times.
Watching Castroneves circle the track over the last ten laps was a truly incredible moment. While Dan Wheldon and Danica Patrick — who finished second and third, respectively — tried to catch Castroneves, it was clear they would not be able to. He continued to increase his lead, eventually winning by 1.9819 seconds, the largest margin of victory since 2000.
And when “Spiderman” made his signature climb up the fence around the track, you couldn’t help but be happy for the guy after what he’s been through.
Categories: Uncategorized
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