“The Greatest Spectacle in Racing”

As those who follow me on twitter are aware, I gave the invocation at yesterday’s Indy 500.  I had a blast “tweeting” about my first experience of the race at the Brickyard (at least until my iPhone ran out of power with about 40 laps to go).  It’s hard to describe the sense of the day. Huge. Over 250,000 people. The noise is incredible when the race starts (above photo). It is so loud it just fills your whole body. When the cars come roaring down the track and the crowd is screaming screaming screaming, it’s a “wow” moment.   For those who don’t have twitter, I here’s how the day was tweeted:

8:02 AM Here we go! Race Day! The greatest spectacle in racing!
8:04 Police escort down 16th St. to the track.
8:25 The humanity! The humanity!
8:30 Weather is supposed to be partly cloudy 80s no rain.
8:32 [Tweet from a follower; RT @StAlphonsusYM: @bishopcoyne are u texting and driving?] No. It’s “Driving Miss Daisy” time.
8:46 Parking space right next to the pagoda. Whohoo!
8:50 Just got interviewed by local tv. I’m a stah!
8:52 [RT @onalaskamom: @bishopcoyne Will you be on National TV? What time?]  I’m praying just before they say “start your engines.”
9:38 Getting all kinds of texts from friends sitting in traffic. Some not repeatable. Can’t imagine talking to a bishop like that.
9:41 [RT @gkubancsek: @bishopcoyne so, did u go with jc Penney black clerics?] No. Stayed with the regular suit.
9:41 [RT @mkubancsek1: @bishopcoyne don’t let it get to your head!] Too late.
9:44 Bloody Marys are available. I’m sticking with juice. [That’s Ford, the executive assistant]

9:53 [RT @SeanGIndy: @bishopcoyne So have you picked a winner for the race?] Couldn’t tell ya. Tiger Woods? Lebron?
10:06 Down on the track. Checking out the cahs.

11:13 Just fired up a couple of cars. Awesome. In your lung rumbles. Just met Fuzzy Zoeller, Florence Henderson

11:27 I’m praying at 12:01 PM.
11:29 [RT @angelmeg: @bishopcoyne Hope u aren’t wearing Patriots fan-gear today. That would be bad.]  Pats t shirt under clerics
11:31 [Still thinking about the RT from SeanGIndy: @bishopcoyne So have you picked a winner for the race? Seeking any divine intervention for him/her?] Tom Brady?
11:33 Standing in the ready room meeting all the drivers as they come out of the bathroom. Jim Nabors just came in. Take a picture.

11:36 Kelly Clarkson just blew through. [too fast, no picture]
11:54 Florence Henderson just sang God Bless America. I’m a wreak.
12:12 Finished the prayer. Got a big amen.

“Good and gracious God, we give you thanks for the gift of this marvelous day and for all blessings in our lives as we gather on this Sunday for this closing race of the centennial era, the Indy 500, the greatest spectacle in racing.  It is a blessing for us all to be here and enjoy a day of fun here in the great Hoosier State.  We thank you, Lord, and we are grateful. 

“Not only are we grateful to you Lord for all of your generosity but we are grateful, as well, to the Hulman-George Family and the Izod Indy Series for making this spectacle possible for all of us to enjoy during these past few weeks.  May they and their families be blessed.

“We also lift up heartfelt prayers of intercession on this Memorial Day Weekend for all of the women and men of our armed forces who died in defense of this great nation.  May they rest in peace.  We pray for the safety of all those now serving in our armed forces who stand in harm’s way for us, against all violence, war, and terrorism.  Lord, hold them in the palm of your hands, safely under your loving care.

“Finally, Lord, we pray that you protect all of the drivers, crew members, safety personnel, team owners, and spectators from any harm or injury today.  May we have good weather, a safe race, and lots of speed, noise, and excitement.

“Trusting in you always, we make our prayers in praise of your holy name, now and forever.  Amen.”

View from the Podium
After the prayer (from the Indy Star newspaper)
12:18 The race is ‘stahtin’! I can’t hear a thing but the cahs. I’m told it was not a good start. I agree.
12:19 What do I know.
12:21 First car pitted. One of the rookie women drivers. There’s a joke here somewhere but you won’t hear it from me.
12:25 She just pitted again. Btw. I’m going deaf.
12:30 What? I can’t hear you! What?  I’m moving inside.
12:33 Yellow flag. Japanese driver crashed. Not hurt. I’m heading in to the lunch buffet. I wonder if they have sushi?
12:37 Just saw a tire guy get run over in the pit. Not good. Hope he’s okay. 12 just came in on three tires.
12:44 iPhone is running low. Spaniard just crashed. #59. Not hurt. Now for the buffet.
12:59 Turn left. Turn left!
1:26 Buffet was good. Lots of NBA players here. I feel short.
1:48 Race is halfway over. So far so good. No serious crashes.
1:58 It takes about 35 seconds or 4 Hail Marys per lap.  Im shutting my phone off.
2:17 Everyone’s talking strategy around me. May as well be talking about Cricket for all the good it’s doing.
2:20 My iPhone …. running out of …. juice
And here is where the phone died.  The rest of the race was unbelievable, especially the finish.  I had a great time.  Met a lot of great people.  I can’t thank the Hulman-George family enough for their hospitality.



6 Comments. Leave new

Bishop Coyne: was in the infield with the family for the race yesterday. Your tweets made our day all the more enjoyable. Great prayer. Been to 35 races and never heard and amen like that. Loved it!

Great invocation. Nice touch on getting 250,000 simultaneous “Amens.”

One point, they are actually the Hulman-George family.

Can’t wait until next May.

Thanks for sharing. In all the years I have listened to the race you made it the most interesting with your tweets. Thanks for representing the Archdiocese so well.

Thanks for your descriptive post, Bishop Chris. I’m not a racing fan (yet – being in the South with 3 sons, I may become one) but you made me feel like I’d been to the field myself. Your prayers, as always, are inspiring. Please share more! I come back to “Attitude of Gratitude” daily.

The prayer before the race was wonderful. I was so excited to see you on the screen. I did notice one thing…I might be mistaken, but I thought the screen simply said “Christopher Coyne”.I was surprised “Bishop” was excluded. (Without my glasses on, I could have missed it though). I had to explain to a few people next to me who you were. I was very proud to be Catholic and share how exciting it is to have you here!

Most adorable. Recap. EVER. 🙂