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Dan's 2003 Speedway Journal
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F1 Pit Walkabout
Thursday - September 25, 2003
I took the
morning off
work and
headed to the
speedway for
a new "event"
- the F1 Pit
Walkabout.
IMS somehow managed to talk the
Formula One guys into letting down their
high barriers somewhat. While they still
had everything blocked off behind their
garages so that no fans could see in or
come near, they were going to let
ticketholders walk along the pit lane next
to the front of their garages as they setup
for tomorrow's action. While this may not
sound very exciting to Americans, I
believe this is unprecedented in the
Formula One world.
I expected to see
somewhere between
50-400 die-hard F1
fans like me who
would take off work
just to look in a
couple of garages.
On the pit ticket, it
even said that they
would park you
close to the pits and
to enter the main
gate.
As I drove closer
to the speedway,
through the town
of Speedway, I
began to wonder.
I saw cars parked
outside the track
and a lot of people
walking around.
Hmmm.
As I approached the main gate, I saw
that it was closed!? I had to drive a
mile past the speedway, make a
U-turn and get in line. All the infield
parking behind the tower and in Turn
1 was full! They directed us to turn
into the Speedway Motel, where we
s-l-o-w-l-y crawled all the way back
to park in the third turn infield. Dang,
this meant a lot of walking and it was
already 11:10 and the thing was
supposed to end at noon!
As I drove in, I noticed that IMS had
installed A LOT more p.a. speakers along
the viewing hills on the back straight and
along the F1 infield. As I hustled the mile up
toward the control tower, I was jamming to
the music they were playing. As I
approached the entrance to the pit lane, I
found that they were wanting to see your pit
pass. I'd left mine back in the car! Ack! For
a second, I was thinking of the 2 miles I was
going to have to run, when the guy nodded at
me and let me through. Whew!
By some
coincidence, I ran
into my friend
Dave just as I
was entering the
pit lane. I don't
know who that
girl is; she just
walked up and
starting hugging
him. Girls just do
that to Dave. It
must be his
BMW shirt.
There were thousands
and thousands of
people here, I couldn't
believe it. I also heard
many different
languages, but French
was the only one I
recognized. The pit
lane was packed and
you could hardly get
through to snap a
picture.
MICHAEL
SCHUMAK
ER'S
GARAGE
LOOKING
SOUTH
LOOKING
NORTH
These Ferrari
stools even
had the
Scuderia
insignia on the
back.
Some teams
had their
garage doors
open and the
mechanics
were setting
stuff up.
McLaren
JARN
O
TRULI
'S
GARA
GE
USA!
USA!
USA!
JORDON
JENSO
N
BUTTO
N'S
GARA
GE
OLIVI
ER
PANI
S'
CAR
Some
teams
were shut
up tight as
a drum
I did not see any
drivers while I was
in the pits. Later I
saw on the
Jumbotron that
Michael
Schumacher came
out in front of
people and was
interviewed.
I walked over to the Museum giftshop
and bought some shirts, then began
the long trek back to the car. While I
never heard an F1 engine start up, I
really enjoyed my 2 hours there.
Having such a big crowd made it feel
like a bonafide event! I was also
happy to be walking on the beautiful
grounds of the speedway while
enjoying perfect weather. However, I
forced myself to go into work in the
afternoon.
That's ok,
I'll be
back the
next three
days in a
row! Stay
tuned.
SEPT
EMBE
R 28,
2003
- U.S.
GRAN
D
PRIX
SEPTE
MBER
27,
2003 -
F1
QUALI
FYING
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