(Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Jason Porter)
There’s just something about Indy.
With its deep-rooted college sport rivalries, Indianapolis, Indiana has a foothold as one of the world’s great sport cities. But it is open-wheel racing in particular that has placed the city into the annals of sport history and tradition with its famed event, the Indianapolis 500.
Long known as the birthplace of organized autosport racing in the United States, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, or IMS, is home to the storied race and remains one of the most influential playgrounds for automotive development. Its reputation as a breeding ground for top racing talent continues to this day as drivers from Harroun to Andretti to Franchitti have graced the historic oval over the years.
In 2011, the “Brickyard” celebrated its 100th anniversary. The milestone culminated in May of that year with events that honored its heroes, community and contribution to motorsport. Special moments such as the opportunity to meet the drivers, (every living 500 driver was formally invited to the celebration) and witness the return of the races’ first winning car, the Marmon Wasp, was not to be missed. And with the distinction of being the largest one-day sporting event in the world, (approximately 300,000 fans attended in 2013) there was no doubt that this edition of the race would be a sight to behold.
Not wanting to miss the opportunity to be among racing’s legendary names and machines, I packed my photo gear and hitched a flight to Indy to capture the moment. Like many fans, my first memory of watching the race was on ABC’s Wide World of Sports as a child. Upon arriving at Indy to shoot the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing”, it was evident that the nostalgia of watching the race as a child had never left me. This 500 turned out to be one of the most memorable days of my life.
The excitement returns with the 98th running of the Indianapolis 500 this Sunday, May 25, 2014.
How to watch:
Pre-race coverage begins on ABC at 11am ET. To stream online, click here.
[words & photos | Jason Porter]