Racing fans flock in great numbers and in a good-natured atmosphere. The Speedway is absolutely packed with a record 380,000 spectators in attendance. The many hamburger and hotdog stands are bustling with activity just as four F14 jets fighters fly low above our heads in an incredible roar, immediately echoed by the crowd’s applause.
The official Speedway speaker then calls up to the podium a group of legendary drivers. Each time he announces a name, the fans react with more cheering and whistling. A.J. Foyt, Rick Mears, Johnny Rutherford, Dario Franchitti and Al Unser are among the most popular figures. And when 1978 F1 world champion Mario Andretti slips behind the wheel of a two-seater car to take pop star singer Lady Gaga for a spin, the crowd goes bananas. And the 1969 Indy 500 winner is not hanging about, ripping the track in a series of hot laps. You can tell Mario is having fun. I am pretty sure he is itching to race this afternoon.