The 1956 Indy 500

If you have been following GP Evolved, you probably already know my stance on the Indianapolis 500.  If not, let me summarize: the Indy 500 remained an official part of the Formula 1 Championship during the 1950’s.  However, the governing bodies could never agree on a uniform set of rules.  Consequently, there was little to no crossover between the Indy 500 participants and those teams that participated in the remainder of the Formula 1 events.  In essence, the Indianapolis 500 was a member-race of the F1 championship in name alone.  Thus, for me, covering the 1956 Indy 500 is a perfunctory result of my goal to cover all Formula 1 championship races.  Regardless, in my mind the Indy 500 still raises some interesting questions, in relation to F1 racing.

The following clip is the first half of a twenty-minute clip of the 1956 Indianapolis 500:




If you are skipping the clip, which is fine in my book(since it is only the Indy 500), let me fill you in on what you are missing.  Basically, the clip is just a summary of the 1956 race – with one oddity.  Singing is involved.  Yes, the clip starts out with a TROLOLOL-esque ode to the race.  Then, the commentary starts.  Periodically after that, our race-summarizing crooner steps back up to the microphone to belt out a bit more of, well, race summary.

I find this to be absolutely awesome.  On the one hand, singing a race summary is something that only 1950’s American television could (or would) produce.  On the other hand, I think Mr. Race-Summarizing Crooner needs to make a come back.  Imagine a world with a singing  Leigh Diffey, Bob Varsha, David Coulthard, or even Murray Walker?

Well, if you really have a lot of time on your hands, check out the second part:

[And, yes, there is  more singing.]

For the last couple days, I have been pondering what I should cover in the next few posts.  One thing keeps coming to mind.  Why did only circle-track, and not road circuit, racing take hold in the US?

Certainly, there are pockets of US fans passionate for turning right in addition to just turning left – over and over and over.  But, on the whole, ‘Merican’s prefer watching left turns.  Although I lament this historical development, I am not sure that I have a good reason as to why it occurred.  I could speculate, but that would not serve any useful purpose.  But, the converse can also be asked.  Why was the European so resistant to circle-track racing?  What if a circle-track race was added to the F1 calender nowadays?  Would this not be a more complete test of the best driver in the world?  But, alas, it’s not practical.  But, at least Austin is on the calender.  Hopefully, the return of the Austin Grand Prix will spark more enthusiasm among US fans.