Race Weekend Central

Open-Wheel Wednesday: How the 2015 Indy 500 Fared on the Crowd-o-Meter

You could maybe make an argument that social media reflects mainly the opinion of the squeaky wheels and in some cases this could be true. People are more apt to go online to post a bad review than a good one. There are some exceptions to this though I think, and a huge event like the Indianapolis 500, which, incidentally, trended worldwide during its running on Twitter, would be one of those. The Indianapolis 500 generated excitement, and excitement, whether good or bad, inspires people to speak up.

So what did the Indianapolis 500 look like from a social media perspective?

Leading up to the event there was concern after several scary practice crashes, particularly the one involving James Hinchcliffe. There was worry and fear for the safety of the competitors, at least until race day. But race day was something different, because it was also the #GreatestDayInRacing, and it seemed the excitement of the day outweighed the earlier concerns, which became less of the emphasis, at least in social media land.

Those on board for all of the GDIR started with the Monaco Grand Prix. It’s almost unfair. It’s an iconic race, no doubt, but it’s not really known for excitement. There’s virtually no passing and this year’s upset win was due to a botched pit call, not any on track excitement. It’s like lobbing a softball at IndyCar because, honestly, it doesn’t take much to be more exciting than that.

Everyone was ready to go for the Indianapolis 500, and everything, including the pre-race fare, was fair game for the tweeters. The race got off to a stutter of a start with the early caution and then the weirdness of more wrecks under caution and waved off restarts, but it finally fell in to place.

Ultimately, the race did not disappoint. The DW12, at Indy at least, with or without aero packages, is a hit. Race winner Juan Pablo Montoya, a driver whom those in the NASCAR world were proud to lay some claim to, had to drive through the field twice. Contact under the first caution and the resulting repairs sent him to the back. He’d just overcome that when a botched stop that saw him slide through his stall and run over an air hose put him to the back again.

The closing laps were a nailbiting exercise in slingshot passes that had everyone on the edge of their seats. Including those in other media centers covering other races.

Credit to NASCAR, the Coca-Cola 600 turned out to be a pretty good race as well, and it can’t be easy to have to follow up a lead-in like they got from IndyCar.

Now, for the one downer: was this enough to see everyone tune in next week for Detroit? Probably not. It never is. Let’s face the fact that the Indianapolis 500 is something special, a stand-alone event of sorts. It’s great to have the whole world tuned in, excited, and talking about it. Let’s enjoy that for what it is.

Here are a few highlights from some folks those who follow NASCAR might recognize:

About the author

A writer for Frontstretch since 2002, and editor since 2006, Toni heads up the NHRA coverage for the site. She’s responsible for post-race coverage in the weekly Pace Laps multi-series round-up along with the weekly Nitro Shots column featuring news and features from the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. An award-winning former writer for the Presbyterian Church, Toni works in web design and freelances with writing in North Carolina.

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