With one big race behind us and three more ahead today, several things have been keeping my thoughts occupied this holiday weekend.
The first is the impression left by the Indy Lights racing league from Friday’s spectacular finish at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It was the most exciting finish I’ve seen at any level on any track in my entire life.
The finish, if it had only included the top two cars, would have still been enough to be the closest finish ever at IMS. But to have the third- and fourth-place cars also finish within a single-car length of the winner was unheard of.
It shows that with the right cars and the right setup, IMS can have just as exciting a race as any place.
Kudos also to those four young drivers involved. Three of the cars were side-by-side through Turn 4. Had any of those drivers made a slight error, it would have been disastrous. If any had tried to block, there would have been a four-car pileup, and there would have been carnage in place of one of the great finishes ever.
This type of action should make Carb Day at IMS a can’t-miss occasion in May.
But enough of the past. Now let’s move forward to today.
Obviously the Indianapolis 500 is next up, and it might be a very special edition or it might be a stinker. The answer could hinge on whether the Andretti team has been sandbagging through the month as much as some suspect. If that proves to be true, there might not be that much competitive racing being done at the front of the field.
But if that conspiracy theory has been overhyped, then there could be many cars with a chance to get into the winner’s circle. There are certainly some good storylines.
Many will pull for Ed Carpenter, who has family ties back to Anderson, and that would be a good pick. Not often lately has a car won from the pole, but it can happen any year. So why not this one?
There are a ton of good young drivers in this field so it could be a year when one of them breaks through.
Later in the evening, Sprint Cup takes center stage for a 600-mile event in Charlotte.
I think this is finest test of men and machines to be found on the NASCAR circuit. The driver has to battle fatigue, physical and mental, from such a long haul. The crew chief needs to make the right calls as the track goes from sunlight to nightfall. It is one of the most intriguing races of the summer.
Finally, there’s the Indiana Pacers taking on the Miami Heat at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
This is the most dangerous game for the rest of the series for Indiana. Since the Pacers established they can win in Miami, the Heat will want to do the same thing in Indy. If the Pacers win tonight, they will win the series.
Sports Editor Rick Teverbaugh’s columns appear twice weekly.