Saturday, May 29, 2010

Indy 500: Film & 4 Women

The first Indy 500 race was in 1911, but due to races being canceled during WWI and WWII, this weekend's race will be the 94th.

As the biggest motor race of the year, the Indy 500 has been not only a part of sports history but pop culture as well.


There has actually been a surprisingly high number of car racing films (and successful one's at that) including Cars, Days of Thunder, Fast and Furious, and Talladega Nights: The Legend of Ricky Bobby.

None of those successful stories deal directly with the race held memorial day week at Indianapolis Speedway.

But that doesn't mean there hasn't been films, just not necessarily popular films that have withstood time.

Films about the Indianapolis 500: Racing Hearts (1922), Speedway (1929), The Crowd Roars (1932), Speed (1936), The Big Wheel (1949), To Please a Lady (1950), and Winning (1969). [Image of Paul Newman from Winning, pictured above]

Surprisingly the Indy race was featured more in the first 50 years of the race, then in the most recent 50 years.

4 Women

One of the interesting evolutions of racing has been the addition of women to the race. Unlike most sports, as women have entered the sport, they compete alongside men, not in separate races.

This year's Indy 500 stands apart in that of the 33 qualifiers for the race, 4 of them are women, the most ever. These women (Sarah Fisher, Danica Patrick, Ana Beatriz, and Simona Silveresti) owe there opportunity to Janet Guthrie (pictured left) who was the first woman to race in the Indy 500 in 1976.

It will be interesting to see how the movie Secretariat performs this year, as a story about Penny Chenery a woman in the world of horse racing. If that film is successful, I have a feeling studios could be wise to snatch up an woman race car film, such as the story of Janet Guthrie.

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