SPEEDWAY, Ind. – Embracing the clear skies and warm temperatures, thousands of race fans descended on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the 98th running of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday.
A highlight of the pre-race ceremonies was Jim Nabors’ final rendition of “Back Home Again in Indiana” to the delight of the crowd.
Margaret Palinosky made her first trip to the Indianapolis 500 from her home in upstate New York and is already considering a return trip.
“I’ve wanted to come for years,” she said. “My brother said ‘come on’ so I figured I better come now or never gets here.”
Palinosky has been a fan of the race for many years and arrived in Indianapolis on Wednesday, spending a day at the zoo and at the track on Carb Day.
She was rooting for a win by James Hinchcliffe, whom she met at an Atlantic’s race in Cleveland.
“I told him I’m his No. 1 race fan,” Palinosky said.
St. Louis resident Jerry Gray came to his first race in 1965 and has made the trip every year since 1975.
“I like coming for the race and seeing how the cars change a little bit every year,” he said. “The cars keep going faster and the race keeps getting bigger.”
Gray said his father and uncles started coming to the Indianapolis 500 in the 1930s and he learned about the race from his father.
“This is the biggest one-day sporting event,” Gray said of his annual trip. “If you’ve never seen it, you don’t realize how fast the cars are going. Television doesn’t really capture the whole thing. You need to be here to really appreciate what it is.”
For Mark Carlson, of Sheffield, Mass., it’s his fourth trip to the Indianapolis 500.
“My brother-in-law is the crew chief for Simon Pagenaud,” he said. “I wish I had been here for the Grand Prix (won by Pagenaud). I look forward to the 500 every year.”