Month of May

Excitement builds in Speedway with fans back ahead of Indianapolis 500

SPEEDWAY, Ind. (WISH) — With the Indy 500 getting ever closer, excitement is building along Main Street and in the neighborhoods of Speedway.

After a one-year break from fans, it is starting to feel like Speedway is back and, even at reduced capacity, a bit closer to normal.

This year marks the 26th consecutive race for Paul Spaeth and his wife, Julie.

Their honeymoon 25 years ago in the South Pacific was not enough to keep them away, nor was not being allowed inside the track last year. They flew in from Denver to sit outside and hear the engines.

“There’s no words to describe it, it’s a magical weekend,” said Spaeth. “There’s 52 weekends a year, but there’s only one weekend at the track and we’re ready for it.”

Technically, that’s only partially true.

They flew in Friday for qualifying and will fly back on Sunday, only to return again Friday for the race. So it’s really a two-weekend affair.

“Oh yeah, takes a few days to recover from this weekend to get ready for next week,” Spaeth said.

Veronica Shook is a fourth-generation Speedway resident.

“Oh it’s exciting; it’s nice to have people back in the neighborhood,” she said.

Shook’s grandparents used to rent out their basement to drivers and crews 50-60 years ago. She missed the excitement and camaraderie last year.

“Racing has been in our family,” she said. “Being here and not having the race cars, not having the crowd, it was kind of sad. To have it in August didn’t feel the same.”

Her house is taking part in the 500 Spectacle of Homes, basically a reverse parade with 33 drivers coming to visit 33 homes.

Shook and her mother landed on a theme with milk and cows that you could call ‘udderly impressive.’

Four inflated cows, black and white, are racing to kiss the bricks of their home’s sidewalk, with a blow-up cow wearing a dress like a 500 Festival princess looking on. On a table nearby sits a bottle of milk.

The No. 48 cow of Tony Kanaan is edging out the No. 9 of Scott Dixon by just a snout and sunglasses.

There’s been no announcement yet for where the Spectacle of Homes parade is stopping, but Shook hopes to be one of the locations.

“I do; I’m hoping Tony Kanaan comes,” she said with a laugh.

While the Spectacle may be a one-time event, the food and the friends are the big pulls to keep tradition alive for Spaeth, not to mention the beverages.

“Landed 20 minutes ago, have had one beer already,” he said, holding up his can. “Walking down the Speedway, it’s going to be a great weekend to continue our tradition.”

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