Pole qualifying for the Indianapolis 500 stared today.
The unofficial start to The Great American Race is especially notable, as the May 25th event will be the first since the bodies of IRL and Champ Car unified in February.
For the first time in over a decade, America’s premier open-wheel race will have all of its drivers competing, and the excitement is contagious.
From Terry Blount at ESPN.COM:
“This is a very positive thing,” said Roger Penske, the man whose team has a record 14 Indy 500 victories. “A lot of people were bruised because of the split, but now I’m seeing some momentum.
“I’ve told people it isn’t going to be a rocket ship liftoff to the top. It’s going to take time. What we’re trying to do is rebuild this sport.” It’s working.
For more than a decade, open-wheel racing struggled like two fat guys in quicksand. No matter how hard they tried, they weren’t getting out of the mud as long as the two leagues remained separate.
We’re guaranteed better drivers at the event and a better race as a result of that. As someone who typically doesn’t watch racing (even Indy), this event will surely become appointment viewing. Hopefully Danica won’t run over any other crew members in the interim. Unlike Death Race 2000, no additional points will be awarded for that.