Motorsport’s Big Sunday

That’s right Sunday of Memorial Day weekend is a high water mark for motorsports fans.

The big four Monaco, Indy, The 600 and the Springfield Mile all happen on this same Sunday every year.

All four of these events have a long storied past. Indy is the oldest starting in 1911, the streets of Monaco hosted their first race in 1929. The first AMA National was held on the Springfield Mile in 1937, this one race determined the National champion until 1953. The relative new comer is the World or Coke Cola 600 first run in Charlotte in 1960.

The day will start with F1 breakfast here in the states. Because of the time difference lights out (F1 starts from a standing start and when the starting lights go out above the grid, the race starts) will be 9:10 am here, 3:10 pm in Monaco.

The 500 is the midday event with the command to start engines at 12:38 pm, green flag about 12:45 pm eastern.

The Springfield Mile consists of several heats, semis and features with the big twins 25 lap feature scheduled for 4 pm central/ 5 pm eastern. This event you will have to stream to see live or watch a rebroadcast about a week late on NBCsports.

The Cole Cola 600 green flag is schedule for about 6:18 pm eastern. The 600 in the ne refers to 600 miles on a mile and a half race track. Depending on yellows and weather this race can and has gone into Monday.

Along with these four important races the world of motorsports is truly at it’s busiest time. The Isle of Mann TT will begin practicing for that annual event. Look for practice times and updates throughout the day on Sunday. This motorcycle race is probably the most dangerous event on the motorsports calendar.

Teams are also finishing up preparations for the mid-June 24 Heures du Mans, the final jewel in racing’s triple crown combined with Monaco and Indy. Graham Hill is the only driver to have won all three of those races in his career. Indy and Monaco used to both be on the world driving championship schedule pre-F1 days.

Fernando Alonso has won both Monaco and Le Mans which is why this year’s failure to qualify for the 500 stings.

Alonso failed to qualify by .0129 of a second over a ten mile/four lap run. At the close to 230 mph avg. that IndyCar is running at the Brickyard, that equates to about four and a half feet at the end of ten miles.

That is the type of drama Sunday will bring. From the tight extremely difficult to pass streets on some of the worlds most expensive real estate in arguably the pinnacle of automotive machines.

To the open wheel almost spec series racers at Indy, that should feature plenty of passing and puts a premium on driver and strategy.

Onto the raw horsepower and guts of motorcycles racing on a mile long dirt track. Drafting in the straights and sliding sideways within inches of each other through the turns. Running so close together that riders have been known to turn a competitor’s bike off. An action which is highly frowned upon.

Capping off the evening in the hometown of stock car racing. A throwback to rear wheeled, V8 powered machines built to withstand the kind of car to car contact most series frown on. Racing in over engineered 1980’s technology combined with the pressure to produce in one of the few series that a driver can earn a comfortable living. Put 10-15 too many cars on the track and often the engines aren’t the only thing to boil over.

There will be smiles, tears and blank stares of wonderment Sunday. The wide world of motorsports will deliver “The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat,” Sunday.