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What I Like About Indy

As a music fan with eclectic tastes, I have always been drawn to singer songwriters, particularly those from Texas like Jerry Jeff Walker, Townes Van Zandt, Lyle Lovett, Pat Green, Robert Earl Keen, and Gary P. Nunn.  I don’t know what draws me to Texas songs, but one of my favorites is “What I Like About Texas” by Gary P. Nunn. [1]  The song is simple; it lists the people, places, and icons of Texas.  With that in mind, I have compiled a list of “What I Like About Indy.”  This is not an all-inclusive list nor just a historical list.  It’s basically what moves me in 2012.  And I did NOT try to replicate the song.  Just writing sentences and paragraphs stymies me.  And I apologize for the faulty parallelism[2] you find in the list below.  Sometimes you just say it the way you think it.

“What I Like About Indy”

  • One of the joys of the track is meeting all the people who are just like me.  We belong to a club whose only requirement for membership is to love the Indianapolis 500.  Being naturally gregarious and because of my work with the Indy Social Media Garage this year, I have tried to engage as many people in conversation as possible.  There are stories everywhere and people who love to tell them.  This year, I have stopped to listen.  Fathers talk about bringing their sons; sons talk about coming with their fathers.  In essence, I have been told love stories.  And I have been telling mine, too.
  • Even though I still think the DW12 is an ugly car, it did what it was designed to do in two accidents on Pole Day.  Bryan Clauson climbed out after a hard hit in Turn 1, and Ed Carpenter’s car lifted off the ground but did not become airborne after a very hard hit in Turn 2.  Good job, Dallara.
  • The grounds and facilities at Indy have always been immaculate.  The grass is cut, the stands are clean, and the restrooms are checked regularly.  I even like the year-old graffiti in the Pagoda Plaza restrooms, but I am a little puzzled that IMS has not painted it over.  I guess it’s one of the original forms of social media, and I’m all for that.
  • I love the access to the drivers, owners, and media personalities.  From the Alley Cats in Gasoline Alley to the stroll along Pit Lane, you can get up close and personal.  Drivers pass out hero cards, sign autographs, and interact with fans.  Not many sports work as hard to connect with fans as INDYCAR, and not many places provide the opportunity as IMS.  Just stand at Gasoline Alley for an hour or two and you’ll see.
  • The advent of social media (yes, I’m shilling for the Social Media Garage, and I understand the irony since I have mocked the shills in this space, but I have said before that I CAN BE BOUGHT) and its use by drivers, teams, and fans has created a connectivity that has never existed in sports before now.  I can’t wait to see where it leads.
  • This year, I have absolutely loved meeting so many of my social media (Twitter and blog) connections.  I thought I was too old to make new friends.
  • The night before the race is Christmas Eve.  I love the planning and logistics.
  • The morning of the race is special.  From the time the alarm rings until the green flag falls, the anticipation palpitates; you can feel it.  The choreography of the event is designed to bring you to a fever pitch.  It works.
  • The moment you pull into your parking spot, wherever it is, is beautiful  Stress is gone.  You have arrived.
  • I like the traditions: the “Spectacle of Bands,” the princesses, the Boy Scouts, the balloons, the police motorcycles with the officer standing on the seat, and the celebrities.  I am moved by the songs: “On the Banks of the Wabash,”  “God Bless America,” “Back Home Again in Indiana,” and “Taps.”  Don’t forget the invocation, the fly-over, and the “National Anthem.”  And, of course, everyone loves “Gentlemen, start your engines.”  Some things we never want to change.
  • Even though we don’t want our traditions to change, change they do.  I like the new qualification format.  It’s exciting.  I am happy that IMS was not so hidebound that they could not change when change was called for.
  • The fact that IMS is willing to try something new like the Social Media Garage is another example that they are looking to the future (or just acknowledging the present).  That’s good.
  • The Pagoda is truly iconic.  I love it.
  • Long’s Donuts, Charlie Brown’s, Mug-n-Bun, Dawson’s, McGilvery’s, and Kelly’s Pub Too are long time eateries and pubs.  And you might as well add White Castle.
  • I love the crowd when the stands are full.
  • The acceleration of the pace lap and the anticipation of the start cannot be matched.
  • The last laps of the race as you determine who is still in contention is thrilling.
  • Now that I think about it, I like everything.

There you go.  A short list of what I like about Indy.  Please feel free to add your favorites in the comments section. In the words of Al Unser, Jr. in 1992, “You just don’t know what Indy means.”  Kind of sounds like a song lyric, doesn’t it?


1.  Here’s link to Gary P. Nunn’s song “What I Like About Texas.”  Great song.

2.  Need a grammar lesson?  Here’s one on parallelism.

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3 thoughts on “What I Like About Indy

  1. Gary wilkinson on said:

    Great post. I agree with all of the things you like. Also like your review of parallelism (sp). How about roaming down 16th street the nite before the race finding new and different situations while making new friends and reconnecting with old pals. Also roaming the infield looking for someone who would invite you to share breakfast (not necessary to know those who offer the invitation) as most are mellow and friendly souls as long as you mind your manners and observe the traditions.

  2. Gary wilkinson on said:

    Plus I liked “That’s what I like about Texas)”. Oops wrong punctuation. Just too lazy to correct it. Am familiar with several references and places/people in the song. Will put it on my Spotify list.

  3. matt waite on said:

    Mark- enjoyed meeting you Saturday and talking about our similar experiences at the track. Glad I was able to clear up a couple things for you. (ha, I’m a drunker version of Donald Davidson). PS. Still think you look like Rahal.

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