IMS has never heard so many "España!" chants...until Fernando Alonso came along

Fernando Alonso will test at IMS May 3. (Photo:
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INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) -- The Indianapolis 500 has entertained drivers from all over the world. This race will be no different with one exception--has Indianapolis Motor Speedway ever seen anyone like Fernando Alonso?

There was a horde following the man many regard as one of the greatest drivers in Formula One history.

He is a two-time Formula 1 World Champion. People follow him everywhere he goes in this world. Even to Indiana.

"Two time world champion. That's why we came out here to see him," Fred Boswell from Indianapolis stated.

Race fans overflow to get a glimpse of him during pit crew practice.

"I talked with one of his pit crew guys, and I think he's a little amazed with the crowds. He (Alonso) doesn't really know what to do with them," Amy Gore from Richmond said.

Well, he certainly knows what to do here. He's practicing at 213 mph.

"He's been running pretty good. Been out here all week following him the whole week so he's pretty good," said Boswell. "He seems to have a good personality too. I've seen him on his electric skateboard, always smiling."

It's not just Hoosiers who are enamored with Alonso. Formula 1 fans from Spain and all over the world have flocked to Indianapolis to see him.

"España!" a small group of Spaniards exclaimed, trying to get Alonso's attention.

"We are Formula 1 fans but this is the closest we can get," said Ariel Ream. "The only (other) time you can see him is in Austin, Texas, so why not come here? Easier access to the drivers and better exprience."

Indianapolis resident Doug Robinson has been visiting IMS since he was 8 years old. "For a regular practice I have never seen so much 'España! España!'" he said. "It's great for this sport to have somebody bring this much attention to it," Robinson concluded.

It is great for the sport, for the race, and quite possibly, for Alonso.