The Greatest Spectacle In Racing

?The Greatest Spectacle in Racing? is made up of many key elements. There is probably no other sporting event on Earth that is more rich with tradition. This year, on the eve of another Race, one more slice of history is about to be written……on Georgetown Road.

My personal relationship with the Madness of Georgetown Road began in 1956. In those first years, my Dad and I spent the night before in a rented room right on Georgetown Road, in the home of the Wall family. As we would walk to and from the 16th Street Speedway for the ‘Night before the 500’ midget races, I got my first impressions of the Madness of Georgetown Road. For a pre-teen from Northern Indiana, it was an amazing experience.

Then, in possession of my driver?s license in 1962, my life on Georgetown Road truly began. ?The boys? and I became part of the backdrop…we were there! This was still in the era of the legendary Larry Bisceglia, the ?first in line? guy, who would arrive from California weeks….even months…..prior to Race Day to stake his claim to P-1. To us, there seemed to be almost as much tradition outside the Speedway grounds as there was inside…

If anyone ever tries to tell you that there is only one Mardi Gras, don?t believe them. The Speedway?s biggest side show can definitely hold its own! For years, sleeping in the vehicle and acting semi-stupid on Georgetown Road became as much a part of the Indy Experience as, “Gentlemen, Start Your Engines?. Like countless others, I did a lot of growing up on Georgetown Road. But then, a funny thing happened: I got old.

During the 80?s & ?90?s, our Race routine changed. Some years, we?d pop for a room in town; other times, we?d drive down the morning of the Race. Georgetown Road was still there, but the memories were starting to dim.

Finally, in 2000, my twenty year old daughter DEMANDED the chance to experience the Madness. This was the excuse I had been waiting for….. They say, ?you can?t go home again?. Bull! It was still all there…..nothing had changed…..except the faces. Loud music, alcohol and stuff, carnal knowledge, vomiting, fighting, kick-the-can; you name it. The years blended together…

One definition of, ?tradition? is something that is time-honored. The night before the ?500? on Georgetown Road certainly meets that criteria and, on Saturday night, it?s gonna happen again.

Personally, I won?t be out there that evening, but it really doesn?t matter any more, because Georgetown Road is firing up, there?s 500 miles to go, and the clan is gathering. Like my old buddy Larry Bisceglia, I?ll be watching.

Share Button