INDIANAPOLIS (AP) The Indianapolis 500 was once considered one of the top sporting events of the year, an iconic, milk-drenched staple of Memorial Day weekend filled with patriotism and nostalgia, triumph and disappointment.
It is nearly impossible to maintain reverential status for 103 years, and the Indy 500, like almost everything in sports, has had its declines. Huge crowds no longer jam the grandstands to watch qualifying or Carb Day, and the economics of racing and sponsorship has pared down the entry list.
But IndyCar is experiencing a renaissance of sorts, and interest in a series largely supported by The Greatest Spectacle in Racing is slowly returning. The hype has certainly been high at Indianapolis Motor Speedway this year, where a strong infield crowd attended practice days and large groups of teens roamed the grounds as part of school field trips.