Tuesday, May 19, 2009

What are the top 5 biggest races in Motorsports? The Indy 500, Monaco Grand Prix…

It’s a beautiful Tuesday evening, 70 degrees outside and sunny up here in Massachusetts and yet I am already thinking about the weekend, but not just any weekend, Memorial Day Weekend. Memorial Day Weekend is the biggest weekend in motorsports especially for me, on Sunday, two of the biggest race in motorsports will get the green flag, the Monaco Grand Prix and the Indianapolis 500 and history shows that both races should be exciting.

This weekend also marks NASCAR’s second biggest and longest race of the season and ironically enough it is on Sunday as well, the Coca-Cola 600. Think about for a moment, I know I have, every year Motorsports fans sit down to watch one, two or even three (counting the NASCAR race) including me of these races in one day, damn that’s cool.

Since this is the biggest Motorsports weekend, I figure that this is the perfect time to ask, what are the top 5 biggest races in Motorsports? I have been thinking about this question for a little while now and while the list will most likely be among the same for just about everyone by way of what races should be on the list, the order and maybe even one exception might be different and to me it’s no different.

I got the idea for this article after watching “the grid” not too long ago where they highlighted there list. However after thinking about it, because I am a huge NASCAR fan and not a big Formula 1 fan, the order is different, is it for you?

It’s only right for me to count you down, so in 5th is the Dakar Rally for the Dakar Series, the Inaugural race was in 1979 in Africa, however the race was moved in 2009 to South America with a distance of 9000 km (2009).

In 4th has to be The Monaco Grand Prix for Formula 1, this race was first run in 1929 at Circuit de Monaco with a distance of 161.9 miles and continues today. “The race is held on a narrow course laid out in the streets of Monaco, with many elevation changes and tight corners as well as a tunnel, making it one of the most demanding tracks in Formula One. In spite of the relatively low average speeds, it is a dangerous place to race.” - From Wikipedia

Note: The Indianapolis 500, 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Monaco Grand Prix is considered the Triple Crown of Motorsports.

In 3rd, The Daytona 500 for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. This is one of my favorite races all season long, when it comes time for the Daytona 500, yeah know it. The race marks the beginning of the NASCAR season. The 500 was first run in 1959 at Daytona International Speedway with a distance of 500 miles, is NASCAR’s super bowl and still continues today. The 2009 Daytona 500 winner was Matt Kenseth.

In 2nd, 24 Hours of Le Mans, a 24 hour endurance race around a tough circuit. The first race was in 1923 and run at Circuit de la Sarthe with a distance of approx 5000 km. “The 2008 24 Hours of Le Mans was a great race between the Audi R10 and the Peugeot 908. After 24 hours of racing, the Audi managed to win the race by a margin of less than 10 minutes. For the 2009 24 Hours of Le Mans, Peugeot will introduce a new energy-recovery system similar to the KERS used in Formula One. Aston Martin will enter the LMP1 category, but still racing in GT2 with private teams.” – From Wikipedia.

I can’t wait until next month (June 13-14) to watch the Audi R15 TDI via the Peugeot, that one should be amazing to watch, but I wonder if the in the Audi will include a roof, enclosed cockpit.

And the number 1 race in Motorsports is The Indianapolis 500 for the IRL IndyCar Series. The 500 was first run in 1911 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway with a distance of 500 miles. In watching the Indianapolis 500 every year, I always seem to ask whether or not this race is still number one in Motorsports and the answer for me anyway it is. For 2009, the 93rd running of the Indianapolis 500 will have a Penske Racing 1-2 start with Helio Castroneves on the pole, his teammate Ryan Briscoe in the middle and of course the return of Dario Franchitti from NASCAR for Ganassi Racing. Can Dario Franchitti repeat as winner of the Indy 500, he won this race back in 2007 before leaving for NASCAR.

Do you agree? Is the Indianapolis 500 still the biggest race in Motorsports? What’s your list look like?

(Image From Wikipedia)