|100th INDY 500
Sunday May 29, 2016
I decided late to throw a "After Carb Day" Party. I provided
food, booze, a keg and live music. Getting set up for the
party took more time than I expected and as my friends left
for the track on Friday, I stayed behind to finish. My sister
and friend Lynn also helped me. By the time we were ready,
the concert at the track was over and everyone was on their
way to my house.
Everyone said that the track was a blast with a nice vibe.
My friends who were close to the stage said Journey was
great. Others were so far away they said they could not
even hear it.
The party was a success. Everyone enjoyed the food and
drink and consumed it all. As the night wore on, some
joined the band on stage singing or playing guitar. As
midnight struck I started trying to get things quieted down,
since I have neighbors. At 1 a.m. I had to insist that the
amplifiers be turned off. They were still making a pretty
good racket though. At 2 a.m. I said they would all have to
come inside to continue playing. With that, most people got
the hint and departed. I had to withhold the money from the
band though untill they physically took their guitar player and
got him out of there - he didn't want to stop!
ET had driven in as usual for the weekend. I had some
cousins from North Dakota arrive for the race too and they
also attended my party.
ET and I were wore out after Carb Day so we just hung out
and watched TV all day on Saturday. We did have to make a
liquor run though so we'd have beer for race day. Priorities!
The day was partly cloudy and there was a nice breeze, so it
was not too hot up in the air where I was. We later
learned it had rained in other parts of Indianapolis during the
afternoon, but it never hit Speedway.
I was rooting for three drivers today - Juan Montoya, Scott
Dixon and Josef Newgarden. Montoya, the winner last
year, was the first out of the race this year when he lost it in
turn 2 and smacked the wall about lap 63 of 200. Dixon was
not having a great month and he never challenged for the
lead. Newgarden, however, started the race from the front
row and he was in the first four spots all day long! He led
some. Other drivers who challenged for the lead include
Ryan Hunter-Reay, Townsend Bell and Helio
Castroneves. Amazingly, Bell smacked both the other cars
in the pits, which likely prevented the former two's win. Tony
Kanaan and Carlos Munoz also challenged Newgarden for
Most of the crashes happened in front of me. Sage Karam
smacked the wall coming out of turn 1 and slid by in front of
me on lap 94. On lap 100, as he was exiting on pit lane,
Buddy Lazier's tire rolled right off his car! Apparently they
didn't get the lug nut on in the pits. He didn't crash however.
I saw Mikhail Aleshin's car wiggle in the first turn and I
stood up and watched him lose control and smack the wall.
As his car kicked up tire smoke, Conor Daly, behind him,
lost control and crashed into him.
It totally worked and we were in the track in no time. We
finally found a spot to park in the middle of the Speedway.
We exited the car at 11 a.m. and began walking toward the
They had Gasoline Alley blocked so that people could gawk,
but not cross. We had to walk up and down stairs to cross it.
We ran across a garage full of famous race cars. I was
thrilled to see my favorite car - the 1971 Johnny Lightning
Special that Al Unser drove to victory in 1970 and 1971.
As I looked across the garage at the race cars that were
pulled in at all angles, I spotted the Marmon Wasp in the
corner! As I made my way over toward it, I saw Al Unser
himself. I imagine all of these cars had taken a parade lap
On race day, I got up at 8 a.m. As I got ready, Ron and DR
showed up to go with us. The four of us headed out at
10:13 a.m. The weather was nice, but I was worried about it
being too hot and muggy. There was also the chance for
The race was completely sold out and the crowds were going
to be bigger than normal. The news was telling everyone to
leave 2 hours earlier than normal.
I had a placard for my car that would let me cut through on a
street near the Speedway which the police would have
blocked off. I was relying on this to save time getting in to
the infield with my car.
There's a little strip of grass and some people lined up along the inside of Turn 1.
It might be a great little spot to watch the race!
We made it to our seats in the South Vista Deck in time for
the songs, the flyover and the balloon release. This year a
bald eagle flew down to a man waiting for it in the first turn.
The cars finally pulled out about 12:22pm.
Leading the cars was the 50th Anniversary Camaro Pace
Car and in front of that was the IndyCar 2-seater driven by
Mario Andretti. His passenger was Lady Gaga, a pop singer.
|Row 5 = Scott Dixon, Marco Andretti and JR Hildebrand on the outside
|Row 7 = Sebastien Bourdais, Ed Carpenter and Gabby Chaves on the outside.
My five pints of craft beer and one sandwich lasted me the
entire race. We all made it through the race without having
to trek all the way down to the restrooms.
Once back at the car, I got my charcoal grill fired up. I had
brought lawn chairs and a cooler with more beer and food to
wait out the crowd that was leaving.
It was hot and muggy by the car, so we moved over to some
pine trees by the glampers. It was surprisingly cool there in
the shade with a nice breeze blowing in.
I spoke with one of the glampers. He was from San Antonio
and this was his first trip to Indy. He liked glamping
(glamorous camping in the infield where the Speedway
provides them with everything they need including beds and
electricity.) I found out that glampers are allowed to bring in
their bicycles and to use them every where. That's a nice perk!
This long white structure in turn 1 are some temporary suites that were erected due to demand.
|Alexander Rossi with team owners Bryan Herta and Michael Andretti
|People lining up to get on shuttle busses to get back to their cars.
|The crowds exiting in the middle of the Speedway
Ron and I were tired of walking so we waited on the coals
while ET and DR trekked off to the garages. ET was
wearing my Simon Pagenaud shirt and he got it
autographed by Simon. So I let him keep it. DR got to
pose with the winning car.
Once they came back, we moved back to the car and I
threw on my burgers. These were special German
burgers called Frikadellas. I bought them from a local
German Meat company. They are big and fat and so
delicious and spicy. That filled us up and we didn't eat
any of the other food.
We packed up and left at 7pm. We ran into a little traffic on
Holt Rd while trying to get onto I-70; otherwise our exit was
without trouble. I imagine there were lots of people today
who sat in traffic for hours - but not us!
The race was broadcast live today in Indianapolis for the
first time in 66 years. They also rebroadcast it at 8 pm as
usual. We all sat around till midnight watching the race.
After that I had to watch the newest episode of "Game of
Thrones" then off to sleep, still wondering who won the
Monaco Grand Prix.
The contact in the pits did not hamper Castroneves as he
worked his way back into contention. However, JR
Hildebrand bumped into the back of him breaking his rear
bumper which cost him a chance at victory. Takuma Sato
also smacked the wall coming out of turn 4.
I pulled out my camcorder to record the last 5 laps. This
caused me to lose track of what was happening I guess.
Apparently during this time, the leaders had to pit for a
splash of fuel. The next thing I know, the rookie Alexander
Rossi has won the race!
I was shocked and angry and bewildered. What had
happened? I hadn't noticed Rossi all day. But you can't
keep track of eveyone, you just concentrate on your favorite
driver and the guys leading the race.
This was Rossi's second time racing on an oval! He raced
at Phoenix last month. Bryan Herta hired him, then
merged his team with Andretti Motorsports this month, likely
due to money problems. Andretti cars have been powerful
Rossi lost his ride in F1 and decided to fill the gap racing in
IndyCar as he planned to go back. In March he was rehired
as Manor F1's test driver. He should be driving in both
series this year.
While Rossi is much more familiar with European racing, he
is an American.
|They mowed the grass in a way that made the infield look hilly. Cool.
Friday May 27, 2017