The month of May is a special time in Indianapolis, capped off, of course, with the Indianapolis 500 at the Speedway. It's been awhile since the Pacers were part of the May festivities as a playoff run had them playing deep into the month of May. I used to love the pre-race invocation when Archbishop Buechlein would add, "...and God bless our Pacers." The silence would be shaken by a quick roar of approval.
Until those days return, it's nice to see some Pacers invovled with the 500 festivities. Today, Danny Granger waved the green flag to open the track for practice. The honor includes a quick trip around the track in a pace car driven by legendary 500 driver, Johnny Rutherford. Danny seemed pretty amped up about the whole experience.
"It's unbelievable how fast they drive those cars,” Granger said trackside of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “I've never experienced anything like that. I got kind of dizzy when the first one was coming at me so fast. I kind of flinched because I wanted to make sure I didn't fall onto the track. It's amazing, it really is.
"It's just amazing to be that close to the Indy 500 cars. I've never been that close before. You just don't get to do that every day. When I was in the Pace Car, I was getting sick to my stomach, and we were only going 100 miles an hour.”
I had the same reaction the first time I witnessed the field go by at full speed. Really, there's no way to explain it. You have to see it in person to feel it.
Danny and Jeff Foster will also take part in the 500 Festival Parade the day before the race. Don't recall any Pacers being involved with the parade last year. Jim Morris is on the job, making sure the Pacers show up with a positive presence in these big, community events. Well done.