Romain Grosjean demonstrated tenacity and determination at the 107th Indianapolis 500 despite early exit
The Indianapolis 500 is known as the greatest spectacle in racing for a reason. With 33 drivers flying around an oval track at speeds reaching over 215 miles per hour (364 kilometers per hour) for 500 miles (804.67 kilometers), it is certainly a spectacle indeed. The Indy 500 draws the largest crowd in the world for a single-day sporting event, with last year’s numbers exceeding 300,000. The grounds for just the interior oval alone at its stomping grounds, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, span an enormous 253 acres of land. The race is now known for several traditions due to its rich history dating back to the inaugural race in 1911. The Speedway is also known as “Brickyard,” referring to a 1909 surfacing project that included 3.2 million street paving bricks being laid. Even though the bricks have been replaced by asphalt for the track’s surface, there is one single yard (.914 meters) of the brick exposed at the oval’s start-finish line, where race winners kiss the bricks, a tradition that began in 1996 after a NASCAR race held at the venue. The other noteworthy tradition became a regular occurrence in 1956 when winners would celebrate by drinking milk. Modern-day Indy 500 entrants choose which milk they’d prefer to have if they won, however, recent winners have tended to shower themselves with it rather than drink it.
Step One Motorsports Ambassador Romain Grosjean secured himself a spot in this prestigious, tradition-filled race during the qualifying weekend occurring one week prior. Grosjean began the adrenaline-pumping race in P19, full of determination to carve his way forward through the pack. Early on the Swiss-French driver reported handling issues and made an early pitstop before rejoining the field. Forty laps into the race Grosjean found himself in P22, fighting lap after lap to gain ground on those in front of him. The on-track action was relatively subdued for upwards of 50 laps before the first yellow flag of the race was waved and a flurry of action began in the pit lane, which caused a shift of positioning up and down the order. Not long afterward, Grosjean found himself in the pit lane at the same time as his teammate Colton Herta at which point they made contact before continuing onto the track to regain lost ground. Unfortunately, around 15 laps later the Andretti Autosport driver made contact with the wall at Turn 2 of the Indianapolis oval which prematurely ended his time on track. Luckily, Grosjean got out of the car safely and was seen and released by the series’ medical staff. Despite the race being cut short, it was an incredible feat to be part of a race as iconic and historic as the Indianapolis 500.
IndyCar’s next race weekend will find Grosjean competing on the streets of Detroit, Michigan (June 2-4, 2023).