By Bob Priddy, contributing editor
(INDIANAPOLIS)—Imagine a sporting event so big that one out of every thousand people living in the United States attends it. Imagine everybody in St. Louis—and thousands more from St Louis County—came here to watch the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500. The Speedway is looking at its first sellout in decades and is allowing the race to be telecast live in the city for the first time in the memory of most of those living here.
Five former winners are in the field but only two start in the first nine positions, the positions that have produced the largest percentage of winners. Ryan Hunter-Reay, the 2014 winner, starts third, the outside position on the front row. Helio Castroneves starts ninth, hoping to join A. J. Foyt, Rick Mears, and Al Unser, Sr., as four=time winners. Starting farther back in the field is last year’s winner, Juan Pablo Montoya, hoping for his third victory.
Starting from the pole is James Hinchcliffe, who was in the Intensive care unit at nearby Methodist Hospital last year after a practice crash that came close to costing him his life. He is one of five drivers to qualify at more than 230 mph. However, the fastest driver in Friday’s final test session was 2013 winner Tony Kanaan, who was lapping at better than 226. But he will start eighteenth.
The Speedway is looking for a crowd of about 350,000 people.
(NASCAR)—Indianapolis might be the home of the biggest race of the day but Charlotte, NC is the home of the longest. Martin Truex hopes to pick up his first win of the year. He starts from the pole in a race that will begin In the heat of the afternoon and end well after sundown.
Columbia driver Carl Edwards, last year’s winner, starts ninth. Joplin’s Jamie McMurray, also looking for his first win this year, starts 23rd.
(Formula 1)—The shortest race of the year in Formula 1 will be through the streets of Monaco. The tight circuit has been part of the F1 schedule for more than a half century. It will be the first race since Mercedes teammates Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton took each other out of the Spanish Grand Prix early on the first lap. Rosberg maintains a big points lead, however, although shunt dropped Hamilton to third behind Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen.