Patoo Ward 108thrunningoftheindianapolis500 By Danagarrett Refimagewithoutwatermark M107077
Pato O’Ward is consoled by Arrow McLaren crew members after finishing second in the Indianapolis 500. (IndyCar photo)

INSIDER: Sullivan —That’s What It Means

INDIANAPOLIS — Every single year at some point during the month of May a clip will be shown of a fresh faced Al Unser Jr. with his eyes ringed with tears saying, “You just don’t know what Indy means.” 

For many of us it still means a great deal. Sure, it is easy to be cynical. I had just spent a long day at Indianapolis Raceway Park watching drivers I still believe can succeed in the Indianapolis 500, knowing full well this opportunity may not exist for them. I also don’t get particularly excited when someone from another land moves to IndyCar as a fallback option.

That doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate the bravery required to pilot a low-slung missile at 230 mph. Should I be outraged that some drivers are bringing money to the table? News flash — that very thing is happening in midget and sprint car racing.

All of that aside, it now seems like an annual tradition for me to stand beside talented writer Bones Bourcier during opening ceremonies for the 500. We don’t even have to take a sideways glance; we both know that tears will soon stream down our cheeks. There is always a homage to Memorial Day and I instantly think of my father who served in the United States Marines during World War II.



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