I'm counting down the days until the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500.
I'm not a race fan in the fanatic sense. I've only been to the Indy 500 a handful of times. My memories center around listening to the race on the radio in the backyard while filling out the leading laps grid from the Indianapolis Star.
I do love Indianapolis, tradition, and most of all a theme! Each day I will share a memory or tidbit of history.
Peter DePaolo won the 1925 Indianapolis 500. He was the first driver to complete the 500 miles in under five hours, and have an average speed of more than 100 mph.
He had a huge lead in the '25 race, when his fingers became badly blistered around in the middle of the race. Car owner Fred Duesenberg pulled DePaolo out of the car and put the substitute driver in his place. DePaolo had his hands repaired in the infield medical center, and returned in the race after missing 21 laps. He had dropped to fifth position when he re-entered the competition and he raced his way to the win. Peter did not consider this to be his greatest win since he was replaced for the 21 laps.
Media coverage of automobile races in those days seems to center more around the fashion in those days. According to New Yorker writer Eric Hatch, Peter DePaolo wore a white sweater and bow tie in the race, but didn't say a dang thing about the excitement of coming-from-behind for the win.
Peter DePaolo also has the distinction of being the only driver to sing "(Back Home Again in) Indiana" before the start of the race. And he seems to have wrecked it for future drivers to give it a go. According to all accounts, Peter was a wonderful singer, but not a professional and was off-tune that 1971 afternoon. Jim Nabors took over the microphone the next year (1972), singing it most years from then to 2014.