I was checking out M.B.'s 500 webpage about her trip to
the 500 this year (1998). She came from California. I was
amazed that she got right into the pits and the garages
after the race, got right up to the winner (Eddie Cheever)
and she met her favorite driver, Arie Luyendyk and even
got into the Pennzoil garage. I emailed her and asked her
how she pulled that off. Here is her reply.
"It's really weird...regarding the IRL, I seem to have this
incredible luck, like I have a halo over my head or something
(which resembles an Indycar tire evidently) because I have
been 'blessed' ever since I made contact with the IRL. Here's
"The '97 race, as you know, was rained out two days in a row.
The third day was a Tuesday, and the working class stiff that I
am, I had to go to work. So, I set up the VCR to tape it."
"My rambunctious cat, a kitten then, had the habit of getting
behind things and unplugging things. Get the picture? She
unplugged the VCR, so we got about 10 minutes of the race,
and then BLUE SCREEN."
"My husband had gotten me into watching the race in '92
(forced me to watch Little Al and Scott make history even though
I swore I wasn't interested) but I was hooked from that point on.
We watched it every year on TV...until 1997."
"We were devastated, and I got on the internet desperately
seeking a video. No luck. I finally called the IMS and was put in
touch with marketing. The Director of Marketing said they usually
didn't get things like that, but they would see what they could do,
and that his assistant, Lisa Mattingly, would be handling it. "
"In September, a large, padded envelope arrived with an IMS
label on it. IT WAS A TAPE OF THE ENTIRE BROADCAST,
NO COMMERCIALS PLUS A PROGRAM!!!!"
"We were so stoked, we knew we had to get to the race in
person. SO, I called Lisa and she explained that the tickets sell
out a year in advance but she'd see what she could do. The next
day, the Ticketing Director called to see where I wanted to sit(!)
and arranged for two seats in the Paddock for us!"
"So, we made the 2300+ trip to Indianapolis (I'm a terrible flyer,
scared to death), found the people in the area WONDERFUL
and kind, and our luck continued. We went to the IMS on Friday
before the race. I had this strnge feeling we'd meet Arie and so
I had brought the die-cast replicas of his '97 car with me on our
trip. Sure enough, he was at Fanfest, unscheduled. (See
"Saturday we went to the parade and got soaked. Sunday was
Race Day and our luck continued because it didn't rain :-) "
"We sat across from the pits which was great. Eddie Cheever's
pit was directly across and one space to the right from where
we sat (you probably got an idea of where we sat from the
"The people next to us had a brother who worked there, on the
Penzoil Team. He came to sit beside me and we watched the
race start. I guess what happened was that the cars made their
first warmup lap, and I had never heard them in person--and I
broke down and cried it was so wonderful (I think there's a Jeff
Foxworthy joke in there somewhere...). Everyone around us
comforted me and gave me tissues and hugged me. IT was
"So after the race, the people next to us asked if we had
to be anywhere because they were going to Gasoline Alley and
could get us in too."
"IF we hadn't had to get a shuttle to the hotel by 5:30 (the shuttle
service stopped 3 hours after the race), we would have stayed
longer and partied with the teams...darn it. But it's a matter of
counting our blessings!!!!!"
"The next day we took our shuttle ride around the track and were
interviewed on Fox '59."
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