"I think of Indianapolis every day of the year, every hour of the day, and when I sleep, too. Everything I ever wanted in my life, I found inside the walls of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway." -Eddie Sachs
For those of you who don't know who Eddie Sachs was, he drove at Indy in the late 50's - early 60's. He perished in a fiery crash with rookie Dave McDonald in 1964 coming out of turn four. Eddie never won the greatest race in the world, but he truly embodied the spirit of Indy with his enthusiasm, his sense of humor, his dedication, and his pure love of the place.
When he won for the first time in 1992, Al Unser, Jr. simply stated, "you just don't know what Indy means." Tony George, former CEO of IMS, was quoted as saying, "its spirit touches all who enter."
It is that spirit, along with all the memories of races, family, and friends, that make it such a special place for me too. The race is the greatest single sporting event in existence. But the Indianapolis Motor Speedway itself is a temple. A shiver truly runs up my spine every time I walk into the place, see the Pagoda, the Pits, Gasoline Alley.
This week I plan to spend a few days there, taking in practice and qualifications. I'll walk around a lot. I'll sit and watch the cars a lot. I'll enjoy some beverages. And I'll think about all the great memories I have collected since I first walked into the place as a kid.
It's May! Time to get race ready!