This weekend is the height of the racing season, starting in Monte Carlo with the Monaco GP, coming back home to Indiana for the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing", and finishing in Charlotte with the 600. While I do like NASCAR the first two represent 2/3rds of racing's triple crown (the other being the 24 hours of LeMans). The main event for me is the 500. With all due respect to the Daytona 500, the Indianapolis 500 is the still the most significant race in the USA in my opinion.
This year's race is loaded with story lines, the biggest of which is the new car. First off it's slower, second there is noticeable gaps between engine manufactures. Its Chevy > Honda >>>>>>>>>>>>> Lotus. Lotus is way off pace to the tune of 16 MPH off of the pole speeds (yet IndyCar decided not to let them use extra boost). Its a borderline safety hazard, they will be moving chicanes. If they don't maintain 105% pace they will be removed though.
There are also new names in the fray, the biggest star thus far in the month of May has been James Hinchcliffe who takes over Danica Patrick's (and what was to be Dan Wheldon's) ride in the Andretti Go Daddy Chevy. He is quite the character, he is the mayor of his own imaginary internet town Hinchtown. He missed the pole by a whopping .003 mph average. You've also got Josef Newgarden driving for Sarah Fisher's team who was the best Honda in the field in 7th as a rookie. He was the Indy Lights champion last season and won at Indy in that series. Sarah Fisher is also entering Bryan Clauson, a rookie Indiana boy who took the traditional USAC ladder to Indy. He had a very promising qualifying effort going on pole day before he took a hard hit on lap 4. Being that there were only 33 cars, all he had to do was get in 4 clean laps on bump day which he did. He will start 31st, ahead of the two Lotus snails.
Here are some recent clips to get you in the mood for The Greatest Spectacle in Racing...