What a nearly perfect day at Indy on Sunday.
Fan favorite Tony Kanaan wins. Finally. And the racing — unbelievable. Nearly 70 lead changes, and the final order is in doubt up until the Dario Franchitti crash with two laps left.
Open wheel has taken a back seat (or a trunk) to NASCAR for most Americans the past 15-20 years, and maybe perhaps as far back as the days of Mears and Sneva and Johncock and Cogan and Foyt, but you can’t argue the sheer speed and breathtaking nature of what happened at the Brickyard, especially over the last 50 laps. You don’t need three-wide racing to bring fans to the edge of their seats. No lead was safe today until the very end.
I could be totally wrong on this, but I think the end was the only downer to this year’s 500, and not because it was Kanaan who came across first. Reason being: once Franchitti crashed, you knew what the outcome was and what the final order would be. And after over 490 miles of shuffling leaders like card decks in Vegas, it was disappointing to see the leader come across the bricks at 60 mph instead of 200-plus with what could well have been the top three drivers finishing within half a second of each other.
I have loved watching the Indy since I was young, but perhaps organizers could take a page from NASCAR and guarantee a green-white-checkered finish…or at least three spins at it. Just me, but I think that could have elevated an already unbelievable race into one for the ages.