500 Traditions

We all have certain traditions we follow. Be it religious, or family, or personnel, we follow certain rituals in our lives. I must admit some the traditions I follow are deeply rooted to my earliest memories.

Now I am not a great baseball fan and yet I always seem to find the time to watch at least the last game of the World Series. Back in Brooklyn the Dodgers were the only team for me. When they moved to Los Angles there went my love of baseball.

The same applies to football. I admit to watching a pro game or two during the season, but I always watch the Super Bowl.

When spring comes along I watch the Kentucky Derby, and not long after this race I have to watch the Indy 500. I have followed this race for years. Even before it was shown on TV I would listen to the race reports on the radio, and before that I would read about the race in Speed Age magazine.

In the 1950’s I remember pictures of Bill Vokovich, Roger Ward, and A.J. Foyt and the wonderful race reports. These guys drove the typical race car of the era, big Sprint cars with Offy engines and usually Kurtis chassis. They did not differ from the cars raced around the country on dirt tracks.

By the end of the decade the cars started to change becoming lower with engines layed over on their sides.  Newer drivers started to appear and we had the likes of Johnny Rutherford, and the Unser family coming along.

One of the greatest Indy races was held in 1985. I favored Danny Sullivan as he had come from the sports car school of driving. I remember listing to the race on the radio, and was stunned when Sullivan spun his race car one complete revolution while trying to pass Mario Andretti for the lead. To my surprise he hit nothing and kept on going to actually win the race. I sure wish I could have been there to have seen this.

With the TV coverage came the arrival of the great women drivers. Janet Guthrie showing the way for Lyn St.James and all those who have followed. Indy was the last race track to ban women from the infield and pit areas. When Janet appeared these old rules had to change, and fortunately they did change.

Much has changed in IndyCar over the years, but tradition stays the same.

I’ll be watching the Indianapolis 500 this year, or at least be listening on the radio. I will be interested to know who drinks the milk!

What are some of your Traditions that you follow, racing or otherwise?