2019 Indianapolis 500: Five Things to Watch on Sunday

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It’s almost Memorial Day weekend, and you know what that means- the next running of the Indianapolis 500. When you hear “start your engines” on Sunday, the key has been turned on for summer.

The sunrise of summer as a whole is now here. That said, let’s take a look at five things to watch during the 103rd running of the Indianapolis 500.

We start by assessing the betting odds on “the greatest spectacle in racing.” If you look at the honest sportsbooks you will see Will Power and Simon Pagenaud as 7-1 co-favorites. Alexander Rossi, Ed Carpenter and Josef Newgarden are next at 8-1.

We also talked about the race last night on CLTV Sports Feed tonight, where I appeared alongside Jarrett Payton. Video is below:

“Racing Fans” People Watching

And by “racing fans” we mean an obvious euphemism for something else. Go here for more about the worst of the worst (so, actually the best) in people watching.

There is also material about the hijinks and weirdness, Broadripple and the Little 500. It’s about the kind of stuff that is featured in my new book “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned from a Life in the Sports Media Industry.”

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Jingoism to the ninth power/patriotism to the tenth power

There will be four, count ’em four different patriotic songs played before the start of the race on Sunday. If your red, white and blue boner lasts for more than four hours, please consult a doctor.

The extremist patriotism and ramped up jingoism is something we discussed in detail last year over at this link.

american military

The Andretti Dynasty Renewed?

Mario Andretti is considered one of the greatest auto racers of all time, but he only won a single Indianapolis 500. Michael Andretti was an accomplished racer in his own right, winning 42 races and one championship, but he never won a single Indy 500.  Auto racing, is pretty much all its forms, is often dominated by dynastic privilege.

Andretti has had so many incidents and near victories at the track that critics have dubbed the family’s performance after Mario’s 1969 Indianapolis 500 victory the “Andretti Curse”. This marks a half-century since that achievement.

On Sunday, you’ll see Marco Andretti, No. 98 Andretti Herta Honda, 228.756 mph just outside the fast nine, as he’ll start 10th in row four. Can he reverse the curse?

indy 500

The French Connection 

Three Frenchmen have won the Indianapolis 500, but the last one was none other than Gaston Chevrolet, and that came in 1920. Pole Position on Sunday belongs to Simon Pagenaud, No. 22 Menards Team Penske Chevrolet, 229.992 mph.

You also have Sebastien Bourdais starting 7th in the No. 18 Dale Coyne Racing Honda, 228.621 mph.

Other Contenders and Key Competitors

Other names to keep an eye on this Indianapolis 500 include 2. Ed Carpenter, No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet, 229.889 mph, 6. Will Power, No. 12 Team Penske Chevrolet, 228.645 mph and Alexander Rossi, No. 27 Andretti Autosport Honda, 228.247 mph.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, the author of “No,  I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” regularly appears on WGN CLTV and co-hosts the “Let’s Get Weird, Sports” podcast on SB Nation

Banks, a former writer for NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, also contributes to Chicago NowFollow him on Twitter and Instagram. The content of his cat’s Instagram account is unquestionably superior to his.

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