For Colts Players, The “Greatest Spectacle In Racing” Was All That

Like many Americans, it was back to work after a long holiday weekend for the Indianapolis Colts, now in week seven of offseason training activities. And like many Hoosiers, the talk on Tuesday was still about the race on Sunday.

It was a sold out crowd at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the 100th running of the Indy 500.

Defensive tackle Henry Anderson watched practice last year, but didn’t go to the race. This year, he wanted to see what all the hype was about. And he wasn’t disappointed.

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“It was awesome,” he said. “Those dudes are moving so fast. It was definitely fun to be at. The atmosphere and being there for the start and the finish was cool. Definitely going to do that again.”

Defensive tackle T.Y. McGill wasn’t much of a race fan before Sunday, but all that changed when he got there.

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“From the pre-race, the band, to the princesses, all the American songs, the National Anthem, the flyover, and then once I saw those cars, it was just crazy,” he said. “I’ve never seen anything go that fast with my naked eye.”

And then, he was hooked.

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“I was just trying to learn. I was tapping people in front of me like, ‘What does that mean?’” he said. “This one lady was like, ‘We’ve been coming here for 40 years.’ I was like, ‘Wow. This is my first time.’ So, she was letting me know everything.”

For cornerback Darius Butler, it was also his first time at the track.

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“I’ve never seen so many people. I couldn’t even fathom seeing 400,000 people in the stands on the way there. But then actually seeing it, like a half a mile each way, it was nuts.”

Butler watched from a suite in the Pagoda (with linebacker Robert Mathis) and got to meet some of the drivers. And what he found out, is that racing and football have more in common than he thought.

“I spent the most time with Scott Dixon’s crew. I met him. I was talking to his pit crew for probably about 30 minutes before the race. And just how much teamwork and execution and timing is so important and everybody has their different jobs. You just kind of relate a lot to football, obviously,” he said.

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It may have been his first time, but Butler said it won’t be his last.

“You gain more of a respect for it when you actually talk to people in it and witness 200 miles an hour going into a turn, it’s just nuts.”

For punter Pat McAfee, the Indy 500 was a month-long experience.

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“Let’s just start at the Angie’s List Grand Prix all the way through, I think IMS hit it out of the ballpark. The press conference all the way through, from teaming up with Conor and Dale Coyne racing, the whole thing was just a really surreal, really cool situation.”

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McAfee, who was already a regular at the track, sponsored Conor Daly’s No. 18 car with his  company, ShirtsForAmerica.com.

Would he do it again? Absolutely. Does he think he’ll have to? Absolutely not.

“This was just kind of helping out a friend, really, in the last week and a half before the race. If Conor or some other guy that I became friends with was put in the same situation, I would do it again, 100 percent. But I think Conor’s future is so bright, I don’t know if he’s ever going to be struggling for sponsors ever again,” he said.

Now that it’s over, we can’t wait for the 101st running of the Indy 500.

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But in the meantime, we have something else to look forward to – football season, which starts 100 days from today.

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Ladies and gentlemen, start the countdown…