Friday, March 18, 2011

The Greatest 33 Website Is Unveiled

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway officially unveiled its Greatest 33 website this week. The site is very slick, and I think it is a great place to learn more about the Speedway and the drivers themselves. I also like the place where fans can share stories and memories of their favorites.

Still, the starting list of 100 drivers is sure to cause some discussion.

Debate the rest of the list all you want, but here is my No. 1!
That's probably the point, of course, and what people think about the final 33 will probably be even more hotly debated. It will be interesting to see the results of the fan vote when they are released in May.

I know that the list is what it is to appeal to a broad list of fans of all ages, and to cover the entire length of the 500 era. So I'm not going least that much.

There are 57 winners is on the list, as they all well should be. But that left choosing 33 drivers among the other 660-plus starters, and that's where a few of my questions come from.

There are seven drivers on that list who never even led a lap in the race. Outside of Janet Guthrie, who should be on any list given the significance of her achievement and the impact it had on racing, I don't see how you can be on a list of "greatest" without leading a lap.

I understand why Danica Patrick is on the list, but I'm on the fence as to whether she should be. Marco Andretti probably shouldn't be, and while Nigel Mansell is one of the greatest drivers in racing history, and his 1993 drive was amazing, he doesn't belong on the list either. Mike Moseley and Robby Gordon are two other drivers that I question their inclusion as well.

But those are just a few little things, because on the other hand, most of the list is awesome, and a representative of the greatest drivers who ever lived. The lifespan of the 500, not to mention the Speedway, which opened two years before the first race, covers almost the entire history of racing in this country.

For the last century, drivers have come from all over the world seeking fame at the Speedway. Some found that fame, others fortune, while a few gave their lives in search of their dreams. All of them help give life to a living, breathing place that is so special to so many people.

I'm fortunate to have seen 34 drivers on the list drive at the Speedway. How many have you seen?

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