The Hoosierist: Quick Question
Ridiculous track speeds, parking-lot ashes, and pro soccer. Ask The Hoosierist.
Q: How fast can a racecar safely travel at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway?
Stephen B., Cicero
A: No one has shouted “It’s a new track record!” at the IMS for a long time. Speeds have plateaued since Arie Luyendyk turned in the fastest-ever lap of 239.26 mph in 1996. Rule changes restricting engine performance have kept speeds in the 220s ever since. This was done for a number of reasons. While watching cars flash by at 250 mph would be entertaining for fans, The Hoosierist guesses that drivers careening into the wall at that speed would find it less so. And there’s the fact that the IMS still sports the same tepid, 9-degree corner banks it had when it opened in 1909. They were fine when racecars were glorified go-karts, but they’re problematic for today’s supercharged racing machines.
Q: My fashionista sister wants her ashes spread in the Fashion Mall parking lot. Is that legal?
Elizabeth L., Indianapolis
A: You shouldn’t do that for a couple of reasons. The first is “Yuck, gross.” The second has to do with state law. In Indiana, disposal of cremated remains is pretty straightforward. You can stick them in a grave (or in a container on your mantel), scatter them over uninhabited public land, or disperse them on private property with the owner’s consent. In theory, if the Simons gave their permission, you could scatter your sibling around the mall lot. But The Hoosierist is pretty sure such a phone request would be met with a curt “No,” followed by a dial tone. Which means her chances of using The Fashion Mall as a final resting place are as good as finding a parking spot near Saks on Black Friday.
Q: Is the Indy Eleven a top-tier pro squad or a farm team like the Indians?
Owen H., Carmel
A: The Hoosierist came of age in a time when soccer (in America, anyway) was rarely played outside of PE class. But judging by the number of bearded hipsters in Manchester United jerseys who scream at brewpub TVs during matches, watching men kick a ball around has caught on stateside. And yes, the Eleven qualifies as a professional team—occupying roughly the same spot in the soccer pecking order that our Indians do in baseball. In the U.S., pro soccer teams are divided into three divisions. Division I contains Major League Soccer. Below that sits the still-pro-but-not-quite-as-pro North American Soccer League, which includes the Indy Eleven. And below that comes the United Soccer League—the purview of guys for whom soccer is a glorified hobby.
Percent increase in Indiana’s population in the last five years
Which doesn’t exactly make us seem like a destination compared to the national average (3.3 percent). And curse those North Dakotans, who, thanks to an energy boom, can’t keep ’em away (9.9 percent).
Have a question about anything Indiana-related? Email it to [email protected].