The 2014 Indy 500 was an event to remember. It was the 100th running of the race, which is certainly a significant milestone. There were a variety of standout moments, including a historic passing of the torch from Tony to Ryan, which was a fitting sendoff to the iconic three-time Indy 500 winner. It was also the first Indy 500 race to be shown abroad, with millions watching on television in other countries. It was a fitting end to a legendary career. So it makes sense that Tony’s final race would be recreated as a statue in his honor.
Unfortunately, the 2015 Indy 500 also had many memorable moments. The most talked-about race this year was the incident between Dario Franchitti and Will Power, which resulted in a frightening crash. The race was eventually stopped for nearly two hours while the two drivers were assessed. Ultimately, Power would go on to win the prestigious race, further solidifying his status as the best in the sport. The following weekend, Power also won the season-closing race in Houston, giving him the championship.
While the aforementioned instances were certainly memorable, most fans will probably remember the 2015 edition of the Indy 500 for BTS, the band that took over the airwaves for the entire month of May. They were spectacular, and their performance was a real highlight of the year. Fans will also likely recall 2015 for the infamous drivers’ meeting, which featured several major players talking about how they were going to beat the system and take down Michael Schumacher. Sadly, that never materialized, and Schumacher won the race, finally ending the conspiracy theories. Nonetheless, there was a lot of talent in that room, and we will probably see many of them in the future.
So what will history books say about the 2014 and 2015 Indy 500s? More importantly, will the fans forget about the riveting moments that made headlines this year?
The Fastest And The Most Famous Race Of All Time
You might be wondering, what is the most famous race of all time? The answer is the Indy 500, which is easily one of the most recognizable sports events in the world. The race was first held in 1914, with the first modern version taking place in 1936. Since then, it has become an annual event, always drawing in record numbers of people, especially since 2002. The following year, the Indy 500 was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated. The iconic image of an open car door with the headline, “Indy 500: The Race That Makes History,” still makes people smile more than 80 years later.
The race is legendary for a variety of reasons. First, it is the result of a well-designed racing circuit. The original plan was to have the cars race on a road circuit that was closed to traffic. The cars would start at around 11 a.m., with the first few finishing at around 1 p.m. The race would then be over, and the drivers would return to the starting grid for the next year’s event. However, since cars back then were much slower than they are today, the organizers decided to extend the afternoon session by three hours. Since then, the cars have been traveling at much higher speeds, which has made the entire event more exciting. To this day, the speedway still holds the World Series of Racing record with an average speed of 185.946 mph.
But the Indy 500 isn’t all about speed. Many people argue that the race is iconic because of the unique atmosphere that surrounds it. The stands are always filled to capacity, with fans coming from all over the country. Many of them watch the race for the entire month of May, as there are usually several races during the month. The atmosphere at the track is something else. There is always something going on during the event, with everyone from the drivers to the staff to the fans cheering on their favorite team. This year was no different, with several well-known drivers battling it out for the prestigious Larry H. Miller trophy – the richest individual trophy in the history of racing. It really was a memorable month for Indy car fans, and it wouldn’t be surprising if the race was voted one of the five greatest races of all time.
So, will the Indy 500 continue its streak of being one of the most famous races in history? Will the fans forget about the moments that made headlines this year, such as Dario Franchitti’s successful return after two years of retirement? Only time will tell, but for now, let’s take a look at some notable moments from this year’s race.
Dario Franchitti’s Comeback
After two years of retirement, Dario Franchitti decided to return to racing for the 2014 season. To do this, he joined forces with car collectors extraordinaire Bob and Doug MacLeman and former crew chief Ray Peters. Together, they formed Dario Franchitti Racing, with the trio deciding to target the Indianapolis 500, the most prestigious event of the season, to prove themselves. With Peters at the helm of the No. 69 car (which was formerly driven by Dan Wheldon), they went on to become the first team since 2000 to claim a pole position and finish the race.
The trio’s strategy of going against the grain paid dividends, as they went on to win the Brickyard 400, the first of three consecutive victories in the first half of the season. They eventually finished fifth in the standings, 16 points behind championship contender Will Power. It was an excellent return to racing for Franchitti, who had last competed in the Indy 500 in 2008. He went on to have a brilliant career, winning four times and claiming five pole positions. He still holds the record for the most wins in a single season by a fourth-place competitor. So, will history repeat itself in 2015, as Franchitti tries to defend his title? To this day, his comeback story is one of the sport’s great success stories. We’ll have to wait and see what happens.
Will Power’s Incredible Season
If you thought that 2014 was an incredible year for the Indy 500, then you’ll be pleased to know that it was even more incredible for Will Power. The season started horribly for the 2015 champ, as he crashed during testing for the first time in his career. The accident resulted in a leg injury that cut short his season. However, it was still an incredible year for Power. He won five out of six races and racked up nine top-five finishes, including a dominant display in the season opener, where he won by over thirty seconds.
The win in Jacksonville was especially memorable, as it was his first in over two years and came in his 200th career start. Since then, Power has won the championship four times. What’s more is that all of his victories have come at prestigious tracks, with his only defeat coming at Pocono in 2011. So, will Power return in 2016, determined to defend his title? We’ll have to see. He is an incredible racer, having won the Indy 500 three times. The fact that he hasn’t lost in so long gives us hope that this year will be his year.
Alex Tagliani’s Debut And First Career Victory
Another driver who benefited from the MacLeman’s and Franchitti’s unique perspectives was Alex Tagliani. The 2014 Indy 500 Rookie of the Year will be making his third consecutive bid for the championship, with Peters at the helm of the No. 34 car. Tagliani was looking for some career help, as he had only mustered up a single top-five finish in the ten races prior to the Indy 500. Although he didn’t win a single race this year, he did finish on the podium five times, including a third-place showing in Houston. He also set a new track record in the process.
When asked about his goals after this year’s Indy 500, Tagliani stated, “I want to continue to develop as a driver and continue to get opportunities. I think the results that I got this year, considering how I started out, were pretty good. I definitely exceeded my expectations.” So, will Tagliani continue to develop his game, or will he be content to rest on his laurels as one of the greats of the sport? We’ll have to see. He has already accomplished so much in his short time in the sport. We’re certain that he’ll be back, and this year will be his time to shine.
The Clash Of The Titans
Since the inception of the World Series of Racing, motor racing has been dominated by European and American teams, with relatively little representation from the other regions of the world. That is, until this year, when several Asian teams scored some memorable wins. The 2015 edition of the Indy 500 was no different, with several young drivers taking the opportunity to shine. In fact, four out of the ten starters were from outside of North America.