Indy 500: Five Reasons Average Americans Watch the Race
Once a year Americans migrate to the Midwest to see the climax of the Indy Car season. There's hardly any mention of Indy Car outside of the race except for the build up and post coverage.
So why has it become one of the most important sporting events of the year?
America's Melting Pot
The US seems reluctant to remember its melting pot origins, as seen in the new laws passed in the state of Arizona; however, its ultimately the cultural diversity within the country that makes it unique.
That's what makes the race unique in itself.
In the top five this year were drivers from four countries and three continents.
It recreates the creation of America: people coming from around the world to realize their dream in the US.
America has regularly been known as one of the most violent countries in the world, not only due to having the most violent deaths per year, but also for the common carnage found in blockbuster movies.
Americans may be prude but their penchant for violence has always been there.
It's horrible to admit, and few will do so, but the morbid anticipation of a crash as cars careen down the laps at over 210 miles per hour is a reason many watch the race.
As the race ended, there was just as much coverage of Dario Franchitti doing his victory lap as there was of Mike Conway exiting his totaled car.
The Who's Who of Celebrity
The guise of celebrity will always attract Americans and the Indy 500 is never weak on attendance. Many at home were watching just to see Ashley Judd rush the track as her husband won or to catch a glimpse of the Kardashians sitting in the stands.
Many people going, aside from Indy Car fanatics and local regulars, are going simply to say they went—just as many attending Lakers games during their playoff run this summer.
Equality. Progress. Prosperity
The US claims to be the leader in bringing civil rights to minorities, especially when it comes to gender. Despite this, only one women's sport (tennis) seems to be truly respected by the general public.
Motor sports are one of the few categories in which women and men compete together and do so at generally similar levels.
Simona de Silvestro and Ana Beatriz were part of the race and once again Danica Patrick was extremely competitive, finishing in the top five despite a slow start to the race.
The race is 99 years old.
Its the 94th running.
The image of the winning driver chugging that bottle of milk can be recognized throughout the country.
The tradition will be forever altered with the technological changes that are proposed for next year, but it won't cease to be an important part of the American psyche.
Due to its seniority and constancy, the race is a trademark of American life; it has always been here and as far as anyone is concerned will never leave.