Wednesday, May 20, 2009

You Know You're a Hoosier When...

I was listening to NPR this morning on my way home from taking Michael to school, and there was a story about the 100th anniversary of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. For those of you not from the Midwest, the Indy 500, the premiere auto racing event, is this Sunday, so the age of the 2.5 mile oval is significant.

To enhance the story, the reporter incorporated clips from famous moments in the track's history with his facts. I heard the announcer say, "The first lady ever to qualify at Indianapolis..." and then the story segued right into another sound bite! I shouted at the reporter, "Tell me who it was! Don't leave me hanging like this!"

I picked up the phone to call my dad, who I knew would know the answer. As I was dialing, however, my Hoosier heritage kicked in, and a name came floating forth from my mental filing cabinet. Before I would speak it aloud, though, I wanted to confirm it with dad. You see, my father was the one who instilled the love for the race in his girls.

He went to Butler University in Indianapolis, and during his years as a student, he served as an usher at the race. Yes, he helped race fans to their seats. So, although he never was a slave to sports television, he followed the weeks leading up to the race each year to see who would qualify and what the fastest times would be, and we always listened to the race on the radio after church while we ate lunch.

Well, dad wasn't home and had left home without his cell phone. So I googled it and found out that the name that had popped into my head was correct: Janet Guthrie was the first woman ever to qualify for the Indianapolis 500, and this is a picture of the race car she drove. That was 1977, and Danica Patrick owes a lot to this pioneer and Lyn St. James, the first woman Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year award winner. Danica's starting in 10th position this year, and there are 2 other women in the qualifying field of 33 cars. Helio Castroneves claimed the pole position.

I know this has nothing to do with stamping, but now you know a little more about me, and a little more about auto racing. Oh to be back home again in Indiana this weekend...NASCAR's just not the same.

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