We Are More Than Halfway There

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I trust everyone had a nice Thanksgiving. I know we did. I have always enjoyed Thanksgiving and the nice restful break that comes with it. It is now December. Soon Christmas will come and go and we’ll be ready to totally focus on racing.

If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you know that I have kept a running monthly countdown to each Indianapolis 500 for the past several years. It is usually a simple statement like “The 106th Running of the Indianapolis 500 will take place exactly six months from today”. I ran that exact tweet this past Monday Nov 29, because the 2022 Indianapolis 500 will run on May 29.

If my math is right, that means we fans of the Indianapolis 500 are now past the halfway point between the 105th and the 106th running. To sound even more optimistic, we are now closer to the next Indianapolis 500 than we are to the one that ran last May when Helio Castroneves won his fourth.

While many fans seem to appreciate the calendar updates; a small, but vocal, group always reminds me that there are sixteen other races on the IndyCar schedule, and the season starts in less than three months. Many of them are CART loyalists who still like to downplay the importance of the Indianapolis 500 on the schedule.

For the record, I was a CART loyalist in the 90s and early 2000s. I was against the formation of the IRL. Not to get into a discussion of The Split, but at the time – I was firmly in the corner of CART. It’s not that I loved road and street races in Denver and The Meadowlands, or makeshift ovals in Rio de Janeiro. There was only one race on the CART schedule that made me an IndyCar fan – the Indianapolis 500.

I grew up loving that race. As a kid, I didn’t keep up with the races at Langhorne, Trenton or DuQuoin. There was only one race my ten year-old self cared about each year – the Indianapolis 500. As I got older and TV coverage became more available, I started following other races and grew more interested in the season championship – but that never came close to replacing my love and devotion to the Indianapolis 500. My interest in following full seasons was brought about my being a fan of the Indianapolis 500. Quite honestly, they were just something to pacify me until the next May rolled around again.

Does this mean that I’m not excited that the NTT IndyCar Series starts back up the weekend of Feb 26-27? Of course not, but nothing gets my blood pumping in December than thinking about being in Indianapolis during the Month of May. That’s why I mark that milestone each and every month. It’s the one most important to me, and I don’t think I’m alone in that.

I can’t remember when I started doing my social media countdown to each 500, but it’s probably been over ten years now. The most depressing one I send out is in June, when I say that the upcoming 500 is eleven months away. Probably the one that excites me the most is the one I sent out on Monday, when I can announce that we are at the half-year mark. December is a cold and dark month. I love Christmas, but if it weren’t for the holiday season – this would be a very depressing month. It warms things up for me when I think we are less than half a year away from the magical Month of May.

We are still undecided about what races to attend for next year. With Susan no longer working and me with a surplus of vacation days, we could probably go to even more than usual in 2022. But with the pandemic still hanging in the balance with the omicron variant and who knows what else by then, I’m a little hesitant to book flights for the flyaway races. I feel like St. Petersburg is safe and would be a nice drive-to destination in late February, but we would also like to go to Long Beach and/or Toronto. But things are so dicey in those areas, I’m afraid we would get stuck eating airline tickets. Right now, I can only say for certain that we will attend races at Barber, Road America, Nashville and Gateway…along with the July race at IMS and of course, the Month of May. Reaching the halfway point for the Indianapolis 500 has reminded me that we need to revisit the subject of the other races.

As we recover from the turkey coma of Thanksgiving and head into the Christmas season, it’s nice to know that our other favorite time of year is less than six months away. Before we know it, we’ll be talking about car and driver combinations for another Indianapolis 500. We are more than halfway there.

George Phillips

10 Responses to “We Are More Than Halfway There”

  1. Yes, the 500 is always a party day over here especially after we came over to see it live back in ’16. All things being equal we’ll be arriving in Nashville in 245 days time!

  2. James T Suel Says:

    May has always been my favorite time of the year. I was 9 years old in May of 1960 , my first race . It’s still the same thrill for me as it was then.. I don’t believe I’ll ever tire of the month of May.

  3. Rick Johnson Says:

    I, too, follow and enjoy all the IndyCar races, but my anticipation mostly revolves around the Indianapolis 500. I look forward to it as much as I did Christmas morning as a child. My saddest moment each year is exiting the IMS Stand E knowing I have another year to wait until the next 500.

  4. billytheskink Says:

    Nothing wrong with anticipating the 500 more than the other races, I do it too. But I don’t want to downplay how much I am looking forward to the season starting, either… because I am very much looking forward to it.

  5. Since I started going to Pole Day in 1978 we have always called that month of the year the “Glorious Month of May.” It starts with my favorite horse race, The Kentucky Derby, then what would follow was two weeks of practice and qualifying at Indy (now one week after the Indy Grand Prix) and then race week ending with the INDY 500 near the end of the month. For quite a few years I went to the Derby in Louisville, a day of practice at Indy, always Pole Day and often Bump Day for qualifications, and the race.

    Still get up there for qualifications and occasionally the Indy Grand Prix, as well as the race.

    It just doesn’t get any better than that.

  6. Love the updates, George. Keep them coming.

  7. Speaking of Denver. You should youtube the 1991 Texaco/Havoline Grand Prix of Denver. The intro by Paul Page is Amazing!

  8. halfway there, living on a prayer…..
    had to look that up on Youtube.

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