TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) – The Indianapolis 500 is full of traditions and one of them is George and Susan Brattain attending the race. The Terre Haute couple has done that every year since 1969. It’s a family tradition that runs deep and one which they share with their children. Sadly the streak will come to an end in 2020, a year which has seen constant change as the world deals with the global COVID-19 pandemic.
The couple has been married for nearly 55 years and for almost 50 of them they have been fixtures at the famed speedway. Even though organizers are allowing fans at 25 percent capacity, the Brattains will watch on television but will miss the family atmosphere. “Not being able to go to the race this year is like not having the 4th of July it’s just an annual event that’s a family thing everybody looks forward to it it’s going to be, it’s hard to miss it,” George said.
Susan says there will be a high demand for tickets but is looking forward to a new race experience this year. “Who will actually get the tickets and be able to come I think that’s the issue they’re encountering now is who will actually get to come but I’m thrilled it’s going to be on television because we’ll get to watch it on TV,” Susan said.
For those lucky enough to see a race in person, you can understand what all that energy can do to someone in the crowd. “I passed out once on the opening I got so excited I was like wooh I just like passed out. I don’t know if it’s sad so much it’s just unfortunate I’m disappointed I’m disappointed because you know we go racing in May we wear black and white and just part of all the getting ready for it,” she said.
It’s not just the racing, many important family moments have happened at the track, like for George and Susan’s daughter. “One of my daughters was proposed to on ESPN at the speedway by her now husband and we got to see it live the proposal at the track,” George said.
George and Susan enjoy watching the race from their seats in turn one, but it’s what happens before the green flag that always catches his eye. “One of the most exciting things there half an hour before the race there aren’t many places in the world where you can sit and see two hundred thousand in one eyeful looking down the front straight away that’s quite a site to see,” George said.
And another site everyone wants to see is the day we resume a sense of normalcy, perhaps with the onset of a vaccine. George and Susan hope that day comes soon so they will be able to return to the place they love so much. “Well I hope so I hope so hopefully we’ll be past all this problem and we can safely congregate again for competition,” he said. The 104th running of the Indianapolis 500 will air on WTWO on Sunday August 23rd starting around noon ET.