While the New York Knicks managed to stave off elimination last night against the Indiana Pacers in Game 5 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series, the latter team is still one win away from setting up a veritable “Racers and Pacers” party for the city of Indianapolis as we head for next weekend’s Indy 500.
Notice that it’s Racers and Pacers, not Racers vs. Pacers. It’s true that a tough economy has created more spirited competition for the fans’ hard-earned money, but both the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Pacers are wishing each other well and insist that it’s all good for their home city.
“As people promote the Pacers and the NBA, often times they are saying, hey it’s big time in May because it’s Indianapolis and the ‘500’ is there. I think it’s great for both of us that there’s plenty of room to share it,” said IMS spokesman Doug Boles to Indy television station WRTV earlier this week. “This is one of the best sports communities in the country and we love the idea that you’ve got basketball going while we’ve got racing going.”
Pacers spokesman Eddie White also told WRTV that many “500” figures have made their way out to Bankers Life Fieldhouse to attend the games. On that note, “500” legend Mario Andretti received a standing ovation from the crowd in Indianapolis when he was spotted at Game 4 of the Pacers-Knicks series on Tuesday.
“I was very proud to carry the Pacer banner because they were kicking butt and there’s nothing better than to go out there and the team you’re rooting for is winning,” the 1969 Indy winner told The Indianapolis Star yesterday.
The Pacers, now up 3-2 against the Knicks, will get another crack at advancing to the Eastern Conference finals tomorrow night in Indy. Be sure to keep up with that series by reading ProBasketballTalk here on NBCSports.com.