Wednesday, May 25, 2016

A real century mark

So, you want even more history, with the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 coming up on Sunday?

Fine. I'll give you more history.

I'll give you the first sellout ever (ostensibly) for the 100th running, an occasion that has prompted the Speedway to lift the long-standing local TV blackout for the first time since 1949 and 1950. Which is saying something, considering in 1949 and 1950 about 12 people had TV sets, and they only had two channels: Milton Berle and Test Pattern.

So this is a Very Big Deal, and already those of us prone to freaking out on Race Day (i.e., me) are freaking out about what kind of traffic situation we're going to run into Sunday morning. I mean, a sellout of all available tickets means a crowd well north of 300,000. So I'm figuring I have two options if I want to avoid the epic Indy traffic jam of all Indy traffic jams:

1. Set my alarm for 2015.

2. Learn how to parachute.

Seriously, though, I'm sort of looking forward to this, in a morbid sort of way. Where will the traffic come to a standstill? I-465 before the 38th Street exit? High School Road at 38th? It'll be interesting to see. And it'll be interesting, sort of, to get stuck in the middle of it.

While I'm waiting, I can reminisce about the old days, when 300,00-plus was the norm. The difference now is, there's not as much room for the traditional sea of humanity in the infield. Will the real Snakepit (as opposed to the Speedway-approved fake Snakepit) make a re-appearance? Will there be drunks sleeping it off in the bed of pickup trucks while their buddies bury them in empties? Will there be rickety OSHA-defiant scaffolding in the beds of those pickups? And, with less room to roam, will the glamping area be invaded by hordes of unkempt Snakepitites, rampaging through the chi-chi tipis and indiscriminately answering calls of nature?

CHI-CHI TIPI DWELLER: Oh, my God! Is that man -- ?

Or words to that effect.

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