This is a big weekend for famous car sports.
The memorial day weekend will host some of the most important and prestigious race car RACES: the Indy 500, the Coca-Cola 600 and formula one Monaco grand prix. Tripp Mickle of sports business magazine talked to Mary Louise Kelly about the game.
MARY LOUISE KELLY, host:
Fans of the memorial day weekend will be watching some of the biggest events on track and television. Sunday marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of Indy 500. That’s right. It first ran in 1911.
But this is not the only competition this weekend. And Coca-Cola 600. This is the longest NASCAR race. Formula one, the famous Monaco grand prix.
In the preview, we’ve reached Tripp Mickle of sports business magazine.
Mr. TRIPP MICKLE (author of sports business magazine) : hi. Thank you for your hospitality.
Kelly: let me start with the Indian 500. There are many plays in this year’s competition. The most famous driver, Danica Patrick, was barely able to compete. Tell us what happened.
Mr. Meeker: yes. Danica is IndyCar’s biggest star, but she didn’t qualify for the Indian 500 in her first attempt on Saturday, and when it rained on Sunday, it looked like she might have missed the game. Luckily, the rain cleared, and she dived into the field at 224 miles per hour, enough to get her 26 slots in 33 slots in the race.
Kelly: does she seem to have the chance to win?
Mr. MICKLE: it’s not impossible, but 26 is far from the first. This is likely to be one of IndyCar’s first two teams -Chip Ganassi Racing or Penske Racing. Ganassi’s car performs better in qualifying. Its driver, Dario Franchitti, won the race last year. Pansk won 15 games. So it must know how to win the circle.
Kelly: I guess it’s going to be a lot of excitement. I mean, indiana 500 is already a big deal in indiana, marking the 100th anniversary of the race. How does it feel there?
Mr. MICKLE: the game has lost some of its national appeal in recent years, but it is still a big deal in indiana. More than 300,000 have been turned out. And…
Mr. Meeker: yes.
Kelly: 300,000 – wow.
Mr. MICKLE: they basically took the circuit as a small city. This activity is full of great traditions. There’s the piper. They sang “home to indiana” before the game. Finally, winners drink milk and kiss bricks. It’s just a lot of pomp and circumstance.
Kelly: now, we should mention that you’re not in indiana now. You’re in north Carolina and there’s another big game this weekend. This is NASCAR race – Coca-Cola 600. Generally speaking, how does NASCAR play a role as a sport? The score was temporarily suspended.
Mr. MICKLE: the last few years have been tough for NASCAR. Its ratings have fallen by about 25% over the past five years. The recession has hit its fan base particularly hard, causing many of them to stay away from the track and lead to a drop in attendance.
But this year is a good start for them. They had a relatively unknown driver named Trevor Bayne who won their biggest game, daytona 500. Their interest in the sport has increased since then.
Kelly: now, I want to move on. We mentioned a third game this weekend. This is Monaco’s charming formula one grand prix. And, you know, F1 is a very important sport around the world. There are football, some of the highest paid athletes, some of the highest income owners. Formula one, but never took off in the United States. Why is that?
Mr. MICKLE: it doesn’t. Part of the reason is that it may be hard to understand. This is a bit of a European center. There has been no real American driver since Mario andrade’s competition in 1978. For this reason and the fact that there is no real competition, F1 has not attracted americans as much as the NASCAR and IndyCar series. .
Kelly: thank you very much, tripmikel.
Mr. Meeker: thank you for your invitation, Mary Louise.
Kelly: terry Mickle covers sports for sports magazines. He’s been giving us a preview of three big games this weekend.
This is NPR news.