He is calm and quiet. Precise in his movements, both in and out of the arena. Fernando Alonso gives the impression of being unwavering and brave. He was all the rage at Indianapolis Motor Speedway this year, having chosen to forgo running at Monte Carlo in a sadly noncompetitive car, and having a tilt at the Indy 500. He’s never run on an oval, let alone raced on one. Yet he managed to be at or near the top of the time sheets for every session he ran and managed to qualify fifth. He has outpaced such Indy luminaries as Juan Pablo Montoya and Marco Andretti.
The international press, lead by a throng of Spanish reporters, were mobbed around him everywhere he went. Last year, there were two Spanish reporters at the track. This year there were 25. Alonso was gracious with the press and even thanked them in a post-race conference.
Tony Borroz attended the 101st Running of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 28th, 2017. This series, Bricks And Bones, explores the cultural significance, endearing legacy, and the nitty-gritty phenomenon of The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.
The prologue of this series here.
Chapter 1: Real Wronghere.
Chapter 2: St. Elmo’s Firehere.
Chapter 3: The Quiet Racerhere.
Chapter 4: Hang Tenhere.
Chapter 5: Female Perspectivehere.
Alonso is twice a World Driving Champion. At the time of his first, he became the youngest ever at only 24. He is quick and methodical, fearless and precise on the track. To win his first championship he took apart The Great One, Michael Schumacher, piece by piece, corner by corner, race by race. A seasoned professional at 24.
In Speedway, Indiana, he carried on in the same manner. He showed no signs of rashness or impulsiveness. Smooth and mistake-free from the moment he rolled onto the track. Comfortable even at the immense speeds this track brings, his style was easy to see during practice: closer, ever closer to the car in front, whether chasing a veteran or an impetuous young gun. Trail them down the main straight. On the rear wing through one. Closer still in the short chute and out accelerating his opponent exiting two. Leaving him as if he had been doing it for years.
He is the new Belmonte. His suit of lights is fireproof and adorned with the names of corporations. His feet never waiver or shake in the ring. Each corner is a faena. Each pass an estocada. He is unwavering and true. If he can remain unwavering and true he will attain new heights. No Spaniard has ever won the Indianapolis 500, and although this year wasn’t his year, if there is to be a Spaniard to drink milk on this scared track, it will be him.
Tony Borroz has spent his entire life racing antique and sports cars. He means well, even if he has a bias towards lighter, agile cars rather than big engine muscle cars or family sedans.