Saturday, August 29, 2015

The Indianapolis 500 - “Dogs versus Cars”

One of the most common phrases that mushers say in order to describe the unique race-like culture of the Iditarod is: “There is only one Indianapolis 500 and there is only one Iditarod!”

Aliy and Allen were in Indianapolis last week. They thought it would be a crime to be in Indianapolis and not visit the Indy Motor Speedway (just like it would be a crime to be in Wasilla and not swing by the headquarters of the Iditarod.) So, Aliy, Allen and Bob McDonald (Aliy’s uncle) drove to the ‘Brickyard’ just before noon one day to simply get a glimpse of the historic 2 1/2 mile race track.

As they neared the enormous, famed race track they got excited and could almost hear the cars engines revving (maybe that was Bob's heavy foot on his accelerator!) But, when the three of them walked through the doors to the Motor Speedway museum they were immediately surrounded by racing memorabilia and excitement. The thrill of competition was everywhere! Needless to say, Allen wouldn't stay out of the Indy cars!

For racers, like Aliy and Allen, that excitement became quite overwhelming. They couldn’t help but compare everything to the Iditarod! And, of course... it came down to a competition between dogs and cars.

Dogs versus Cars

Heat 1: The Indy 500 started in 1909. Iditarod started in 1973. The cars win.
(Note: the 400 mile All Alaska Sweepstakes Sled Dog Race did start in 1908.)

Heat 2: The Indy 500 is 500 miles. The Iditarod is 1000 miles. The dogs win.

Heat 3: The Indy 500 cars moving average speed is 161 mph. The Iditarod sleds moving average speed is about 8 mph. The cars win.

Heat 4: Number of Cars entered in the 2015 Indy: 33. Number of Sleds entered in the 2015 Iditarod: 78. The dogs win.

Heat 5: The Indy 500 Motor Speedway has 300,000 fixed seats for race fans. Iditarod… probably not so many. Aliy did say that in 2015 “Race spectators lined each and every street in downtown Anchorage this year!” But, let's be honest, the entire population of Anchorage would have had to be in attendance in order to achieve and audience of 300,000 and we know for a fact that at least one couple was on their Honeymoon in Hawaii that weekend. The cars win.

Heat 6: The first woman to race in the Indy 500 was Janet Guthrie in 1977. The first woman to race the Iditarod was Mary Shields in 1974. The dogs win.

Janet in her racing gear; Mary in her racing gear.

Heat 7: The first woman to win the Iditarod was Libby Riddles in 1985. The first woman to win the Indy 500... hasn’t won yet. The dogs win.

Heat 8: The Indy 500 Race song is sung by Jim Nabers. The Iditarod song is sung by Hobo Jim. Tie.

Results: 4 Heats to the Dogs. 3 Heats to the Cars. 1 Tie.

The Indy 500 Motor Speedway was a lesson in history as well as an inspiration to keep up the racing passion! As the Alaskan mushers pulled away from the race track Allen quietly remarked... “The Indy 500... the Iditarod... neither of them have anything over the Yukon Quest.”


Anonymous said...

Aren't numbers 1 and 5 the same? Doesn't removing that redundancy put the dogs ahead?

Mary Lynn Roush said...


SP Kennel Crew said...

I'm glad someone is editing this website! THANKS "Anonymous" for picking up the fact that THE DOGS WON! - SPK Crew

Anonymous said...

You might be able to bump up the numbers on Heat 5 if you count all the fans in their "fixed seats" glued to the computer night after night watching movement in the race every "refreshing" 3 minutes. Not to mention catching up with interviews and articles and doglogs. And both Starts are watched live thanks to the Iditarod website.

Anonymous said...

And isn't it Hobo Jim? Love this fun post and enthusiasm. The facts seem clear to me. The Yukon Quest is like nothing else! Padee Santa Rosa

Anonymous said...

#% - and don't forget all of us who follow SPK and the Iditarod online. I'd say that makes that at least at tie too!

Dawn E said...

I agree...because on #5 about the spectators...I personally think the time I spend on the computer staring at the GPS and hitting reload counts for 1. Times that by the number SP Kennel fans doing the same alone counts for infinite #'s and therefore... DOGS WIN! C'mon, it's all about the dogs!

Anonymous said...

The dogs win paws down!!!

And Ranger could make as much noise as any Indy car, IIRC. Loved Allen's thought. Perhaps he will make a few upgrades to the sleds for balance as well as a few new openings to reduce drag???

Woof, woof, woof!!!



Cal OSME said...

AND...even if the entire population of Achorage weren't there for the ceremonial start, don't forget all of us visitors who descend! And then there are all of us who are glued to our computers throughout the entire race....for sure DOGS WIN!! And Allen you got it....Yukon Quest tops them all. Thanks for a great post and even though these are Indy cars, Allen's comment that with all the patches he feels like a NASCAR competitor, I guess that says it all....everyone wins with the help of sponsors. Have a great day SPK!

Barb said...

So funny. Great analogy no matter what the count is. And I never ever watch the Indy 500 but I do spend 24/7 glued to the tracker while SPK is racing. Hours of great anticipation and excitement = the dogs win.

Anonymous said...

Indy racers only have to race for a few hours. Mushers, well, you know.... Dogs win again.

Indy racers sleep in five star hotels. Mushers, well, you know... Dogs win again.

Indy racers have pit crews. Iditarod mushers have dog handlers. Tie.

Nessmuk said...

This post was very insightful to a sport (car racing) I know nothing about,,,,,but I roared with laughter with this quote from Allen "neither of them have anything over the Yukon Quest.”....spoken like a true Yukon Quest Champion my friend....nuff said! Glad you all are enjoying the last days of your summer vacation.....September IS arriving NEXT WEEK after all!

Gaye Morgan-Walton said...

Well OF COURSE the dogs win. LOL. Fast cars are cool but they cannot love you back, give you their whole-heart best and be your friends for always!

Moosekahl said...

Here, here Allen!

Cindy Schaus said...

Ditto, Ditto on the comment anonymous said way up there at the top about heat #5.. and all the others as well. I think SPK fans may be a little competitive where the dogs are concerned. So glad to know there are many others refreshing the tracker and checking in to see what's on the blog too. Fun stuff!

marilyn cozzens said...

Great analogy. Love the post and all comments. And of course thedogs win by a large margin.

Linda Toth said...

Allen, I am sure you brought down the house with that zinger!

A-town's Becky said...

Indy 500 fans have the patience to watch the race for a FEW hours.
Iditarod and Yukon Quest fans watch for over a week.
Dogs win again!!!
Nice to see you have a fun and inspirational vacation.