Alonso Storms Indy

The recent announcement that two-time Formula One World Champion and current McLaren driver Fernando Alonso will skip the Monaco Grand Prix this May in order to compete in the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500 rocked the racing world … in a good way. Rarely has a major announcement come as such a surprise. Such a welcome surprise.

This is the news IndyCar marketing executives could only dream of. Struggling to make the race after the momentous 100th running relevant, IndyCar was gifted this historic news. Despite all the media tours and press releases, Alonso’s announcement is the first thing to, as President & CEO of Hulman & Co. Mark Miles is fond of saying, “move the needle” – definitely more than announcements about who’s singing the national anthem or which bands are playing on Carb Day, and even more than any other driver announcement.

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Indy at 100 – The day in pictures you might not have already seen everywhere

It was, without a doubt, the most overexposed event in the history of IndyCar. Yet it still held up to the hype.

Here, with gratitude to Getty Images, is the day in notable photographs.

Side it sideways across the bricks, Alexander:

The Borg-Warner Trophy is THIS big!

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Indy at 100 – The Place in Pictures

With gratitude to Getty Images, a look at Indianapolis Motor Speedway over the years:

The Getty Caption: “1909: Workers lay bricks at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway preparing the facility to host the first Indianapolis 500 two years later. A motorcycle event was conducted in 1909, however, and was won by Cannonball Baker on an Indian. Baker later became NASCARÕs first commissioner.”

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Why 100 Matters: A Racer’s History of the Indy 500

Special to Race-Week.com

In the early years of the twentieth century when automobiles were new, cars raced on public roads. What is now considered rallying was first formalized as a competition in France in 1894 with a race from Paris to Rouen. One year later racing hit the streets of Illinois for America’s first sanctioned race.

The few existing roads were rough, rutted and sometimes muddy former wagon paths that meandered around obstacles such as trees and boulders. They were brutal on cars. Not only did that make for difficult and dangerous racing, but it also hampered everyday travel by automobile.

Realizing that the burgeoning U.S. automotive industry, while having captured the interest of the general public, needed further development if it was to compete with European design and craftsmanship, Carl Fisher, entrepreneur and automobile enthusiast, envisioned an immense test track to develop and promote this new phenomenon. Auto makers needed a place to test prototypes.

Because it was flat, the 328-acre Pressley Farm west of Indianapolis lent itself to becoming the perfect test track. Fisher bought it for $72,000, paved it with several layers of crushed stone and renamed his new automotive proving ground the Indianapolis Motor Parkway.
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An Icon Turns 100, A Truly Special Indy 500 Experience

Special to Race-Week.com

Thanks to a deluge of advertising, it’s hard to escape the fact that this year is the 100th running of the 500-mile race at Indianapolis.

Commonly referred to as the “greatest spectacle in racing,” it has become renowned as the biggest single-day sporting event in the world. This year’s race looks like it’s going to be bigger in every way than it has been since “The Split.”

A once-in-a-lifetime milestone like this is a must-see event.

Race fans evidently agree. Local hotels began reporting “no vacancies” for Race Weekend months ago. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway announced in early May that grandstand tickets were sold out for the first time in years.
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Simplicity leads Logano to victory in Sprint All Star race

Apparently, Joey Logano was as confused as anybody else about the format for last night’s Sprint All Star race.

Asked afterward, Logano said ““There was a point I came over the radio and said, ‘I don’t know what’s going on. I don’t really want to know what’s going on. Let me drive the car and you call the race’ because I was confused. All I know is if there’s a car in front of me, we should pass them. That’s kind of where my head was.”

“It doesn’t have to be as complicated as you think it is,” he said.

Logano, who of course won the event, said grand strategic moves largely went unrewarded. “The whole falling back and trying to position yourself to the front didn’t really play because there were only two or three cars – I think a lot of cars got trapped on pit stops when the caution came out and they got trapped down a lap.”

“It didn’t really play out like a lot of us thought it would when there are only three cars on old tires in front of you, so we got through them in the first corner and then it was like, ‘Alright.’ It was Larson and I for this thing. I felt confident that we had a very good shot at racing for the win when we were restarting there at the end.”