WORST (or BEST) of the Indianapolis 500 Infield People Watching

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The Indianapolis 500 is the world’s highest attended single day event. Its total capacity is approximately 400,000 with about 125,000 located in the cheapest and most “festive” seats of the infield.

All newbies marvel at the sheer size of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway upon entering it the first time. The modern day answer to Circus Maximus is large enough to hypothetically house the Vatican, Churchill Downs, Yankee Stadium and the Rose Bowl all at the same time.

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All seems right at 96th Indianapolis 500

The Month of May has come and gone again with the completion of another 500-mile stroll around the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

There have been plenty of Mays in the last 16 years — the time in which U.S. open-wheel racing endured a crippling 12-year civil war and its aftermath — that have gone by without much of the luster that traditionally has accompanied the Indianapolis 500, that have left observers wondering if the race could ever again truly live up to its billing as “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”

I’m here to tell you this: On Sunday, the 96th running of the 500, which Dario Franchitti claimed for his third career Indy victory, it did. In every way imaginable.

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The 96th Indianapolis 500 ushers in a new era

Perhaps what truly makes the Indianapolis 500 “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” is tradition.

Indeed, few things change about the most significant annual event in motorsports. Whenever you enter the storied 2 1/2-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway, you often feel as if you have never left.

As firmly steeped in tradition as the 500 is — the festivities during the Month of May, the singing of “Back Home Again in Indiana” before the race, the drinking of ice-cold milk in Victory Lane — one of those very traditions is evolution.

We’ll get just that in this, the 96th running of the race, which begins at noon Sunday. New cars, new stars, new hope — a new era.

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Indy 500 starting point to see rule changes

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IndyCar racing officials have decided to eliminate double-file restarts this season at three major ovals: Indianapolis, Texas and Fontana. Race director Beaux Barfield said the decision was made for two reasons: the location of the acceleration point at those particular tracks and drivers’ concerns.

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Danica Patrick to do Coca-Cola 600 instead of Indy 500

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For the first time since 2004, the Indianapolis 500 will not include Danica Patrick. She is skipping it to do the Coca-Cola 600 instead; giving up her self-described favorite race in order to focus on her full-time shift to NASCAR.

Patrick never won the race, but she finished in the top 10 in all but one of her seven starts. She is also the first and only woman to have ever held a lead in that race.

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