The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


May 30, 2013

Shawn Wood's Inside Track: A month to remember

When Tony Kanaan took the checkers under yellow on Sunday to win his first Indianapolis 500, it brought to a close a month filled with the highs and lows of racing.

The early pace and multiple lead changes was an indicator that this year's 500 was up for grabs. In the end, the record-setting pace and 68 lead changes only added to the lure of the 500. There's no doubt, Kanaan's win will be one of the feel-good stories of 2013. Here are some views on what makes May in Indianapolis is special:

n The post-race press conference following pole day was anything but a press conference. It was more like a night-club comedy show featuring James Hinchcliffe, A.J. Allmendinger and a host of others. Long-time racing announcer and author Pat Sullivan -- who moderates the press conferences at the speedway-- was relieved when Ryan Hunter-Reay came into the room, hoping he would help restore some order.

Instead, Hunter-Reay added fuel to the fire when he reeled off some thesaurus-like words, drawing strange looks from his fellow racers and the comedy show continued. In my 27 years of covering motorsports I had never laughed so hard in a press conference. It was one for the ages.

n There are few tracks in the world where you can have a four-wide finish and on Carb Day, yet that is exactly what happened in the Firestone Indy Lights Freedom 100 as Peter Dempsey made it four wide at the start-finish line for the win.

n As many people know, I grew up on the big block modified division at Flemington and there is nothing like the ground-pounding effect of a 467-cubic inch engine coming out of Turn 4 at the start of a race. This year I watched the start of the 500 from the north end of the pit lane. I will say that 33 turbo-charged cars whizzing by is a sight to behold.

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