By Mark Ambrogi
For 27 years, Scott Goodyear has been a constant at the Indianapolis 500.
Since 2002, Goodyear has been part of the broadcast booth as a color analyst. Prior to that, he only missed one race, 1996. Goodyear broke his back in a practice accident in Brazil before the 500 that year.
“When I got here in 1990, it was a dream come true,” the Canadian native told the Westfield Chamber of Commerce audience May 18.
Goodyear, a Carmel resident, proceeded to relay a story how three-time Indy 500 winner Johnny Rutherford “scared the pants off of him” by racing around in the pace car with Goodyear in the passenger seat during Rookie Orientation.
Two years later, Goodyear nearly became the only driver to go from worst to first. Starting 33rd, Goodyear placed second in the closest finish in the race’s history, losing by 0.043 of a second to Al Unser, Jr.
“I feel like I finished second and I lost the event,” Goodyear said. “It took me until 2006 calling that race and feeling the fans roar up and down the straightway. We thought Marco Andretti was going to win coming down toward the (finish). Sam Hornish, Jr. has such a draft off of Marco. Marco is about to thrust his hand in the air to say, ‘I won,’ and here comes Hornish zig-and-zag and beats him. It’s still the second-closest finish.”
Since Goodyear said he understands how Marco feels, he has always picked Marco to win the race since then
“This year I’m going to tell him, take no offense, I’m not going to pick you, it’s bad luck,” Goodyear said of the May 28 race.
Goodyear, who also finished second in 1997, said 12 to 15 drivers could have a chance to win the race this year.
Goodyear said he was single-minded when he was driving at the 500.
“Unless the president got shot or a bomb went off, you didn’t know what was happening outside of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the month of May,” he said.