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Welcome Back To The Brickyard

Andy Clary Photo

by Allan Brewer

It never fails to impress.

Whether it’s your first time or the latest in a litany of celebrated holidays, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway grabs your attention like nothing else and refuses to let it be pried away.
Walking around the Speedway on a beautiful, sunny Hoosier Friday it’s apparent the old Brickyard has renewed itself for its 101st Greatest Spectacle in Racing.

Everybody who’s anybody in the world of racing is about: Courtney Force is looking splendid strolling through Gasoline Alley in her bright red lipstick and open-shouldered tank top, with beau Graham Rahal signing autographs in the background. It’s apparent who the “star” is in this “star couple.”

The biggest TV set in the world, the towering multi-screened pylon structure that looms over the start-finish line of the 2.5 mile oval, is brightly lit and colorful. And if you don’t like what’s on it now just wait a few minutes and another magnificently wrought display set on its sides will make you marvel at the creativity of some of our ad-makers.

Drivers are out enjoying a little sunshine on a relatively quiet day. Following morning practice and a PM warm-up they are looking forward to a qualifying session that will determine the pole-sitter for Saturday’s Indianapolis Grand Prix.

The fans are out, perhaps because the weather here today (67 degrees F ambient, humidity 40 percent, with a mild easterly breeze) is so enticing for playing hooky from school or work.

Back in the garage area the cars are prepped at Technical Inspection and look just a little bit shinier here at Indianapolis than they did in Phoenix, in Alabama, in St. Pete. Close at hand is the gloriously-white Corvette pace car that will take the field in hand to a flying start on Memorial Day.

Welcome back to Indianapolis. We made it through another year, a winter, a fall and spring to arrive at this hopeful place in time when every driver can still win the 2017 Indianapolis 500 and every fan dreams of standing aside him in Victory Lane.

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Allan Brewer covers IndyCar and other racing series for RacingNation.com. Allan is a fixture at the race track, armed with keyboard and camera, eager to take you inside open-wheel sport where the news is being made. He comes to RacingNation.com with multiple professional awards from the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association (AWWRBA). He began his motorsports writing career at FastMachines.com; and solely published IndyProRacer.com and A1GP.com, two award-winning websites for open-wheel racing’s junior leagues, prior to becoming IndyCar correspondent at Motorsport.com. He has also covered Formula 1, NASCAR, Formula E, the Indy Lights Series and its predecessor Indy Pro Series, NHRA events and major auto shows. His major interest outside of competition is automotive technology and its application to the cars we drive every day on the public highways.