Any doubt that people were excited that Fernando Alonso will be in this year’s Indianapolis 500 were obliterated yesterday. More than 2 million views on social media and a rather large crowd in person erased any questions of how big this is.
I arrived at the track around 9:30. The Museum lot was close to full. The viewing mounds likewise had a lot of people already there, many of whom appeared to be settled in for the entire day. A cheer when up when the #29 first came by, but Marco Andretti was actually in the car then on a shake down run.
Alonso began his rookie test runs a few minutes later. He was tentative at first, lifting in turn 2 and staying well above the line. As the session went on, you could see him gaining confidence. Eventually his line got closer to the white line, and he stopped lifting. His top speed was reported at 222.548, although this morning his official top speed was reported as a high 221. He looked very comfortable in the car. The next test is how will Alonso do with other cars on the track?
Fans on the mounds constantly checked the live streams and were amazed at the number of viewers watching.
It was great day at the Speedway, as always. We may be at the dawn of a new era in crossover drivers. Having a current F1 driver and former world champion drive in the 500 is a huge step for the race. We must remember that Stefan Wilson sacrificed a lot to make this happen. I hope Indycar follows through with their guarantees to him. They owe him a lot more than they promised.
My 33 Greatest Non-Winners
Thanks to all of you who sent in your grids. I’ve enjoyed reading how you put them together. Before I present the final grid, here is mine. I used a combination of statistics and how I feel about certain drivers, many of whom I have watched race. No, I did not see Ralph Mulford race. The first two rows were easy to fill. After that, things got tricky, especially toward the end. Why is Driver A 22nd and Driver B 23rd? I could argue that their positions could be reversed. I tended to give preference to drivers from the past over current drivers. My thinking is that current drivers stats will change, and some of them could still win.
So here is how I would line them up: