5 Reasons Why the Indianapolis 500 Is Still Relevant

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Which Reason Tops the List?

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

It has been more than a week since the Indianapolis 500 was run, but I have been thinking a lot about the race ever since it ended. I have been thinking about why the race is still relevant in this day and age with all the other entertainment options in sports. It led me to come up with five reasons why the race is still important and will continue to be.

I know many people have better things to do on their Memorial Day weekends than to sit in front of a television for three or four hours to watch cars drive around in a circle just watching for a crash. However, I think that we as a society are dismissing the race, and are many reasons to spend more time watching or going to NASCAR. I will be curious to see what happens next year with the race and whether or not the excitement from years past can be brought back.

It will probably take one of NASCAR’s big names to try to run both the Indy 500 and Coca-Cola 600 in the same day for any excitement to return to the race. I will be hoping that it happens in 2014 because we are seeing the slow death of one of the greatest events on the sports calendar. There are many reasons why the race isn’t the same, and we are seeing that year after year. Here are my five reasons why the Indianapolis 500 is still relevant.

Andy Schmidt is a columnist/writer for RantSports. Follow him on Twitter @ASchmidtSports, like his Facebook page or add him to your network on Google.

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5. The Name Game

Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

The name of the game is the name itself. There is a lot of value in just hearing or seeing the words “Indianapolis 500”. It brings up a lot of things for different people, and it will always have people watching on television or at the racetrack. I don’t see a day where we won’t have an Indianapolis 500. It is a part of sports that will never go away.

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4. Television Sets Have the Race On

Josh Holmberg-USA TODAY Sports

This is a big point of conversation. The race got one of its TV ratings since it began airing live in 1986 and there is obviously not as many people tuning in for the race these days. The problem could lay a lot on not having the name value that it used to. There aren’t names like Rick Mears or the Andrettis anymore that bring people to the television. The race is getting hammered by other TV options, but enough people are still watching to keep it around.

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3. Tradition

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The race has been run since 1911 and has survived a lot of things. I don’t see any reason why the race would go anywhere anytime soon. There is the milk at the end for the winner and the excitement for a crowd that can get close to 400,000 on a great day that makes it worthwhile as time goes on.

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2. Speed Matters

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Everyone wants to see people go fast as possible. There is no way that is ever going to stop, which is a good thing for the future of the race. The safety barriers have made the sport better overall and decreased the amount of serious injuries. This is the most appealing aspect of the race that keep people coming back year and year. It is also the one part of the sport that makes it different than anything else.

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1. Fans are Still Showing Up

Guy Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

If you take a good look at the stands in Indy during the race, it was mostly full. There may not be the same interest that there was in the race’s heyday, but the fans are still there. It is going to be very important over the next decade that the race doesn’t become a complete afterthought. The problem is that it may be easier said than done because more and more people have moved along to NASCAR.