The two words above sum up the Indianapolis 500 this year.  Total domination by Dario Franchitti and his Target Chip Ganassi Racing Team.  Starting on the outside of the front row, Dario drove by Team Penske teammates Helio Castroneves and Will Power in the first two turns and never looked back.  Several miscues by Helio and Will in the pits kept them away from the lead all day, but it really didn’t matter.

This was one of those few races where the fastest car DID win the Indianapolis 500.  It would have been a darn shame had anyone else won this race.

Unfortunately, the race finished under the yellow flag due to a horrific accident between Mike Conway in his Dad’s Root Beer Dreyer & Reinbold car and the Izod liveried Andretti Autosport machine driven by Ryan Hunter-Reay.  Conway came speeding up on an either fuel starved or just flat empty Hunter-Reay.  Conway ran over the left rear of the Izod machine and was launched into the north short chute fencing.  The fencing ripped the car apart and sent Conway barrel rolling down the track in what was left of the Dallara tub.  Say what you will about the Dallara Indy Car being ugly, crapwagons, the same, boring, whatever. These cars have saved a lot of lives, including one on Sunday.

I didn’t see the accident from my seats in the North Vista since I was looking toward those chasing Franchitti in Turn 4.  But, I heard it…  Conway hit the fence about 12 sections down from our seats.  I turned and saw nothing but cuisinart-ed Dallara parts.  Then Conway came into view and ended up upside down directly in front of us.  A collective gasp was heard from the crowd as the Holmatro and Philips safety crews rolled to a stop at the crippled car.  A safety worker was under the tub in a flash and came out showing one finger to the rest of the team.  I relaxed a bit at that point knowing that the G load that Conway experienced during the accident was on the low end of the scale,  We all felt better when the tub was rolled over, and Mike waved to the crowd.  Conway suffered a broken leg and a fracture to a thoracic vertebrae.  He will be out of action for approximately 3 months.

I don’t have a lot of detail in the middle of this race since I brought a new Indy Car fan to her first race.  Since 2006, my buddy Joe Sites, who asked me to be best man at his wedding, and my oldest son Alex have been attending the 500 weekend.  This year, we added my “curling wife” Michelle Crown.  Now, let me explain before you start screaming – Polygamist!!  Michelle and I have been curling, yes the game on the ice with brooms, together since 2006.  We have become incredible friends as well as curling teammates.  Since my “paper wife” (license=paper) wants nothing to do with Curling, I like many other Curling widows and widowers have adopted a Curling Wife.  We travel together and play in Bonspiels and have just a great time.

She also is a racing fan, but was exclusively focused on NASCAR.  Last weekend, she got her first experience with open wheel racing.  And I think we got a new fan.  I spent most of the race watching her reactions, much like I did my “paper wife” at her first race at Nazareth Speedway in 1989, my friend Joe in 1994 and my son Alex in 2002 both at Michigan International Speedway.  I don’t remember much of those races either.  But I do remember the looks on their faces when the cars went by at speed.  The excitement these cars generate cannot be measured if one will just stop and watch.

So, after shedding tears during the singing of Back Home Again in Indiana, one of two songs that makes me cry in public (the other is Silent Night just before midnight on Christmas Eve) I enjoyed watching my 2 best friends and my son watch what is truly the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.

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