Indycar 500 Live: The 33-driver field of the 104th Indy 500 will take the green flag Sunday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway with a competitive starting lineup that ranks among the best in its history.
Susan Peverill was expecting Doug Boles, dressed in one of his typical pinstripe suits and a perfectly matched shirt and tie to roll up in a Chevy Corvette pace car, maybe an Indianapolis 500 gift bag in tow. She’d gotten a call Wednesday evening from someone at IMS, telling her to make sure to be at her home off Georgetown Road right outside Turn 4 for a couple of hours starting around 11 a.m. Saturday morning.
As it turns out, Boles, the IMS president, may have been the fourth-most impressive person or thing that strolled or rolled up her driveway, black and white checkered flags wafting in the breeze.
Britain’s Max Chilton is hoping to achieve the highlight of his career on Sunday and win the Indianapolis 500 after coming so close three years ago.
Chilton, 29, is one of three British drivers in the legendary IndyCar race – 200 laps and 500 miles. In 2017 he led for 50 laps, including 47 of the last 72, but was overtaken with seven laps to go and came fourth, 1.1 seconds behind winner Takuma Sato.
“It’s the biggest single race sporting event in the world,” said Chilton.
“There’s a saying that the race will choose the winner and you have to hope something falls into place and the stars align. Maybe it will fall into place.
“Would winning change my life? I don’t know but it would definitely change my feelings for achieving what I wanted to do. It would make me overall a more satisfied human being, that I’ve accomplished something I set out to do.
“It would definitely be my career highlight – now and probably going forward too.”
The winner of the Indy 500 is often pictured celebrating drinking milk – a tradition that has been followed since the 1950s – although Chilton’s chances appear to be slim as he starts 30th out of 33 entrants.
But his experiences of three years ago show anything is possible. “In 2017 at 40 laps Fernando Alonso was winning,” recalled Chilton. “I was a lap down in the pit lane due to a red flag, after an awful accident for Scott Dixon, then on lap 80 I was leading, so it can turn around very quickly.
“I was leading for more laps than anyone else and was super chilled – it was the easiest race of my career. I got out in front, my car was stupidly fast, no-one could touch me, so I just focused on being flat and on every corner. I led for over an hour.
“I feel like I slightly tasted the milk and someone snatched it away from me, so I definitely want to have that chance again, hopefully, sooner than later.”
First, it was a white IMS van, backing up toward her garage were a race car banner hung from the roof – stock cars on it, ironically. And then two yellow shirts climbed in the back and started bringing out two half-circle pieces that made up what looked like a stand of sorts. On the front, it read “Borg-Warner Trophy”.
Seconds later, Peverill was on the phone, practically screaming. “You cannot believe what’s in my driveway!” she exclaimed. It was THE trophy, in all its majesty, followed by it’s a most recent winner, Simon Pagenaud, and the man that 15 months ago pushed him to the absolute limit, runner-up Alexander Rossi.