Before I moved to Indianapolis from my native Ohio, the Indianapolis 500 was the only thing I knew about the city. To be honest, I just didn’t get it. Cars driving around in a circle…around and around…people screaming as the cars drove around and around.
May of the first year I moved here, I would constantly hear people say, “Nothing matters in the month of May except the race.” Checkered flags and "Welcome Race Fans" banners overwhelmed every neighborhood and retail shopping mall. Teenagers skipped school to sneak out to the track during practice and qualifying. Workers raced to the track after first shift to see the last few hours of practice and share a beer with co-workers. Weekends were reserved for the track…rain or shine because the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is in some type of weather vortex. It can be sunny one minute and torrential rain the next. But hard core fans are never deterred by the rain: they have their cooler packed with snacks and suds and always carry a deck of cards so they can play euchre underneath the bleachers while they're waiting for the rain stop. Back then, the Indianapolis 500 festivities, qualifying and practice lasted the entire month of May. It's condensed now, which has just created more energy or maybe compounded it since it is squeezed into less time.
The Magic of the Speedway
I was converted to the magic of Indy Car and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway the first time I went. It’s one of those “have to be there” places. The sights of the famed Pagoda and the people (such good people watching), the sounds of the cars whirring around the track, and the smell of track dogs, beer and hot pavement are hypnotizing and energizing at the same time. There’s a collective energy at the track—competition, a passion for excellence, the quest to go faster, the engineering minds that work to find an edge that will shave tenths of seconds of the run.
This video describes the reason for the hype pretty well.
This video is a great example of the tradition that surrounds the Indianapolis 500.
The Indy 500 + Memorial Day
The most important part of the Indianapolis 500 is the fact that the entire race day is dedicated to those who serve our country in the military, especially those brave souls who have made the ultimate sacrifice to protect and defend our freedom as provided by the Constitution of the United States of America. Some of the activities include the parade of military personnel who march up the main straightaway as part of the opening ceremony; a haunting moment of silence followed by "Taps" that has to be experienced to understand the depth of emotion it evokes as over 300,000 people stand completely silent, remembering and honoring the sacrifice silently; the military flyover; and of course the singing of the national anthem.
HURCO and the Indy 500
I’m fortunate to work for a company that understands how important IndyCar is to the fabric of our culture since we've been based in Indianapolis since Hurco was founded in 1968. Hurco is a sponsor of Indianapolis-based IndyCar team ECR (Ed Carpenter Racing). ECR has a Hurco machine shop where lead machinist, Robbie Ott, makes parts for ECR’s cars. Not only do we get to see the cool parts they make on Hurco machines, we get great access to the world of IndyCar. Even better, we get to share those experiences with our customers.
The HURCO Car in the Front Row for the Big Show
So, the big news last week was the fact that Josef Newgarden, ECR driver of the Hurco #21 car had the pole position until James Hinchcliffe beat him by .06 seconds. But the Hurco #21 car will be in the front row (position 2) so that's exciting for team ECR and Hurco. Newgarden’s four-lap qualifying speed of 230.700 mph gave him the provisional pole until the final Fast Nine qualifier, James Hinchcliffe, recorded a four-lap average of 230.760 mph...we like to say that machining and racing have a lot in common: speed, power, and precision is the name of the game.
Supporting the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 as an Indiana Company.
You might have heard this year is the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500. Hopefully, you noticed our ad in the May issues of the trade pubs promoting our love of all things IndyCar. As a company, we're also trying to elevate awareness of 21st century manufacturing, the machinist profession, and the importance of the family-owned job shops we serve by advertising in the commemorative program guide for the Indianapolis 500.
Inside Indy Before the Big Day
Our entire city is buzzing with excitement here in Indy. For the first time since 1950, the race won’t be blacked out in Indy since every single seat and infield (standing room) ticket has been sold. An estimated 350,000 will be in attendance Sunday. For those outside of Indiana, it's been a long held tradition that residents can only hear the race via radio because the TV stations don't show the race live on TV in Indy. All of us here understand the philosophy behind it, and most of us have accepted it and actually have built our own traditions around listening to the race on the radio (if we don't attend) and then watching the rebroadcast on TV at night.
ECR: Team AMERICA
Our IndyCar partner ECR has the identical driver lineup for the Indianapolis 500 this year as they did in 2015. The trio of drivers earned the nickname “Team America” last year because ECR was the only multi-car team with an all-American lineup in the Indianapolis 500. Hildebrand hails from Sausalito, Calif.; Newgarden is a native of Hendersonville, Tenn.; Carpenter, from Indianapolis, is a hometown favorite. So, look for the Hurco logo on the ECR cars (6, 20, and 21) as well as the helmets and driving suits and root for Team America as they test the limits of speed, precision, and power. Go team ECR!
P.S. Don't forget the 0 to 60 Financing Promotion we prepared to commemorate the Indy 500 ends 5/31/16. Click here to learn more.