|94th INDY 500
May 30, 2010
ET and I wanted to get to the track early, but left my house
at 11:20 a.m. The race starts at 1 p.m.
I decided to catch a race day shuttle on the south side of
downtown. Parking was $5 and the round-trip bus ticket
was $22. It did not take long for the bus to get us to
Speedway. They dropped us off on Main Street, just north
of 16th Street.
We got to our seats in the SE Vista, Sect 25,
row EE as Florence Henderson was singing.
Excellent view from these seats. The prayer
went on for a long time. We heard "Taps' and
saw 3 fighter jets fly over head.
We made our way over to turn 2.
We ran into Wheeler who had seats in the
top row of the South East Vista, which
provided both shade and a good breeze.
He said he'd try to get us some seats up
there eventually. He had 4 seats, but
brought his wife and 3 daughters and they
were currently all up at the seats. He
bought a general admission for himself
and was going to watch the start of the
race from the infield. What a hero.
ET & Wheels using someone's canopy set-up.
Shade was important on this 95 degree day!
Finally the cars came out for their parade lap,
with several red Camaros and a two-seater
IndyCar leading them. The two-seater was
something new - Mario Andretti was driving it
and his passenger was movie star Mark
Wahlberg. On the final practice lap, the car
sped up and left the field behind. I'm not sure
exactly what this stunt was all about. Just
something cool for a VIP I guess. Waving
the green flag was the Oscar-winning actor,
Jack Nicholson; not that I ever saw him from
The stands seemed very full this year.
I brought only my little camera this year. I had a
cooler of beer and a seat cushion. We didn't
smoke much in the stands today.
The race started off fast and furious. I saw 3
cars side-by-side going into turn two. 47 y/o
Davey Hamilton did not make it out the other
side. A few laps after the restart, Bruno
Junqueira crashed in turn two. After having
broken his back at the speedway once and
then struggling to get rides at Indy, I was
hoping he would have good luck today. Tony
Kanaan seemed to have the crowd's sympathy
vote after his qualifying disaster as well as
the tough luck he's encountered at Indy.
I chose a thin white shirt to wear today.
Unfortunately it didn't breathe, so I was drenched
immediately sitting in the hot sun. A caution came
out on lap 49 and I was ready to find shade.
ET and I walked back toward our canopy and ran
into Wheeler and his 3 girls. The girls wanted to
go for a walk-about and ET and I got their seats.
We enjoyed most of the rest of the race from those
excellent seats in the shade and breeze.
At one point, I was holding up one of Wheeler's
coolers so that they could get to a cooler below it.
The cooler I was holding was dripping ice water
on their 12 y/o who immediately pushed the cooler
away, out over the heads of the people sitting in
front of us. Those people got drenched. I later
found out the guy sitting next to them was the
president of a computer company I worked for
back in the 90s. Small world.
ET and I had left all our coolers and stuff back
at our seats, so we returned there when the
race had 20 laps to go, and finished watching
it from there.
Before the last lap, there was a horrific
accident on the other side of the track, which
I could not see. It caused the race to finish
under yellow, which was obviously
The accident saw Mike Conway's racer fly
up into the catch fence. His car got obliterated
and he ended up with a broken leg and back.
Hunter-Reay was involved too, but he only
injured his thumb. Two spectators were
hospitalized with some injuries from the flying
Dario Franchitti won the race for the second
The huge crowd stayed afterward longer
than they usually do. Eventually they
cleared out enough so that we could get
back up to the top row and the shade.
We moved back over to Wheelers so that
I could reimburse them some beer.
ET and I stayed up there for an hour. The
only people left in the stands were the
workers who were gathering up the rented
seat cushions. I also saw this one guy
going around and taking down all the race
flags - they sure weren't wasting any time
closing things down! No yellow shirts
ever told us to leave. We walked out at
We did a lot of stair climbing today.
I was shocked to find a sea of people waiting
in line to catch the busses out of there. They
stood in the streets in the boiling sun. I was
miserable! I wanted to be at home in the A/C.
I called everyone I knew who was at the race,
to see if I could catch a ride out of there. No
one was going to turn back to get me.
I found a small patch of grass in the shade of
a sign at the intersection of 16th Street and
Main Street, and I laid my head on my cooler
and tried to sleep.
I went across the street and bought some
food from a Church's Fried Chicken. I
had not eaten all day, and this food
revived me tremendously. I had not had
to use the restroom all day either because
I was sweating out all the beer I drank.
It was 96 degrees today - the hottest Indy 500
Some people in line apparently were falling
like flies, as ambulances drove up to take
them away. I thought that was a good plan
to get out of there, albeit a bit drastic. A lot
of taxis began to roll through. I heard they
were wanting $50 and more
By 7:30 pm the line had dwindled enough
for me to get in line. ET and I found a cool
megaphone that someone had discarded
in the street. It worked, so I kept it. We were
able to get on a bus and finally head back
to my car.
My car sitting all alone in the bus parking lot.
ET sitting in a sign's shade
When we got back to my car, the parking
lot was empty and it appeared we must have
caught the last bus. I WILL NEVER TAKE A
SHUTTLE BUS AGAIN!
I thought today's race was a good one.
The line for the busses hours after the
Dario Franchitti, his wife Ashley Judd &
team owner Chip Ganassi take a victory lap
in a Corvette Z06 convertible because the
pace car (Camaro) isn't available in
People seeking shade during race
Wheeler's great shady seats!
16th Street, across from the entrance
to the speedway
Once near our turn, we found shade under a
deserted canopy. There were chairs and a
table, so we hung out there. and drank and
I actually quit smoking May 1st, but made an
exception when ET showed up with some cigs.
We would return and spend some time here
during some stretches in the middle of the
Cigarettess were $8
at the snack bar.
Stand G was the
only stand that
wasn't full from my
Pre-race parade lap
With a crash in the
south short chute,
the other drivers
enter the pit lane
Cars in the pit lane
P.S. I later learned that 1500 people required
medical care today due to the heat!
P.S.S. I didn't make it to Carb Day this
year. It was a very hot day.
Reportedly, there were 20,000 people at
the ZZ Top concert. The stage was low and
only the few people at the front of the crowd
could see the show.
The Speedway needs to build a taller stage
for Carb Day!
I also heard from some attendees that it
didn't sound good, others said it sounded
fine. I guess it depended upon where you
were at in relation to the speakers.