In two days 33 men & women will set out on a 500 mile journey, each vying for the top spot, complete with a floral wreath, a cold bottle of milk and their face forever displayed on the Borg Warner Trophy. It’s a 101 year-old tradition and one that has seen its share of both triumph and tragedy. The Indy 500 is known around the world and to win it is one of the greatest accomplishments for a race car driver. The Greatest Spectacle in Racing, as it is known, takes place just 12 miles—as the crow flies—from Fanimation. It’s right in our backyard and the excitement in the greater Indianapolis area is palpable.
Here are some interesting facts for this year’s race:
- Ryan Briscoe will start from the pole for the first time, edging out James Hinchcliffe by the slim margin of .003 seconds.
- Andretti Autosport drivers James Hinchcliffe, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Marco Andretti will start 2nd, 3rd and 4th respectively after the team struggled to get their racecars into last year’s field.
- Five of this year’s starters, Rubens Barrichello, Takuma Sato, Justin Wilson, Sebastien Bourdais and Jean Alesi, have Formula 1 experience.
- Three women, Ana Beatriz, Katherine Legge and Simona De Silvestro will start this year’s race.
- Last year Charlie Kimball became the first driver in history with diabetes to qualify, start and finish the Indianapolis 500. Charlie will be starting 14th for this year’s race.
- For the past six years Honda was the sole engine supplier for the Indy 500. This year, Chevrolet and Lotus join Honda to once again provide engine competition for the race.
- There are 3 past winners and 8 rookies in this year’s field.
- There are 3 Fanimation customers in this year’s field: Alex Tagliani–#98 Team Barracuda-BHA Honda, Ryan Hunter-Reay–#28 Team DHL/Sun Drop Citrus Soda Chevrolet & Graham Rahal–#38 Service Central Honda.
Graham Rahal is a second generation IndyCar driver. His dad, Bobby Rahal, won the 1986 Indy 500 and the 1992 IndyCar Championship. That ’86 race was Bobby’s 5th Indy 500 start and this year will be Graham’s 5th. Perhaps #5 is a lucky one for the Rahal family.
In 2010 when Graham, an Ohio native, signed to race for Indianapolis-based Chip Ganassi Racing, he decided to move to the Indy area to be close to the team and set out to build a house. He tweeted (a post on Twitter) about going to a local lighting store to pick out a ceiling fan and, within minutes, several of his followers tweeted back that he should check out Fanimation fans. Graham wound up purchasing Fanimation’s The Andover and a few days later added The Huxley and The Benito, The Fitzgerald and a Fargo to his list of Fanimation fans. Almost a year later Graham added The Keistone, a DC motor powered fan, to his collection of Fanimation fans.
Personally, I’d love to see Graham win this year. He’s a likeable young man (I feel weird calling him a young man—makes me feel old—but he is) and gives back through his Graham Rahal Foundation. Go get ‘em Graham! We’ll also be pulling for RHR (Ryan Hunter-Reay) and Tag (Alex Tagliani). Here’s wishing for a safe and exciting Indy 500! If you’d like to watch the race, tune in to your local ABC station at 12:00PM EDT.