Three friends joined me today: Keith, Russ and Russ's 13 y/o son Jordan. We planned to leave for the track by 9 a.m., but didn't leave until 11 am. Georgetown Rd was blocked so we had to continue west on 16th. I noticed they were still letting cars in to park in the infield. We were going the wrong way though and just parked across the street. I expected less traffic this close to racetime.
As soon as we entered, we saw the motorcycle parking lot was crowded.
We were too late to catch any of the first three races (Porsche Supercup, Infiniti Pro Series and Formula BMW USA.) We walked over to the Honda tent and then headed toward the pagoda as there was only 45 minutes to go until race time.
Fans streaming toward their seats in anticipation of the big race.
We decided to watch the start of the race at the south end of Tower Terrace. The 70's R&B group "The Commodores" were performing on the pagoda stage to our left.
Soon, the teams began hauling their gear out to the circuit. About 12:30, the cars began coming out of the pits, some doing a practice start, and driving all the way around the circuit to take their place on the grid.
A children's choir sang the national anthem and there was a USAF fly over.
The teams getting everything ready to go...
This was young Jordan's first grand prix and I was explaining to him how the cars would all take off as they did their warm-lap, come back around on the grid, and how the starting lights worked.
I could not see the pits from my seats, but I could see part of the grid. I quickly noticed that the only cars in sight were the two Ferraris.
I jerked around to look at my friends in dismay. "Where is everybody?"
No sooner had I done that, than the Ferraris took off! "What the hell? Is someone not ready? Are they making another warmup lap?"
They were soon followed by four other cars. Two yellow ones and two black ones. "What happened?! Did the race start?!?!?! They sure took off like it was a start. I've never seen anything like this. DUDE, What the hell is going on???
It soon became apparent that these F1 idiots were going to start the race even if everyone was not ready. As a few laps went by, I kept waiting for a red flag and restart, but nothing happened. Ok, now I was mad. This was absolutely ridiculous. It was beyond belief!
We got up to move down to the opposite end of the very long Tower Terrace where are seats were. As luck would have it, we got tangled in with all the U.S.G.P. pit girls. Jordan and Keith look happy.
But I was stewing. We bought some food and went back in. If I hadn't brought my friends, I would have just left. My seat was the very last seat in the stand. There was some guys there in our seats who started to give me some grief, asking to see my ticket, etc. I was in no mood for any more bullshit, and I was none too kind making them move.
The idea of sitting here was that I could see the main straight and first turn like many people, but I could look over to my right and watch the infield section of the race too. Good idea, but these seats were too low to be much good (row L). My best view was of Turn 6 where I took the following photos of the cars in this "race".
The two Ferraris raced each other I guess. The other two teams to compete were Jordan and Minardi - the two slowest teams in F1. They finished 1 and 2 laps behind respectively. There was one exciting moment when Michael Schumacher came out of the pits as his teammate was going by. They hit turn 1 at the same time and Rubens Barrichello was forced to the grass.
Everyone pretty much knew that the seven teams who did not race were all using Michelin tires and that Ferrari was using Bridgestones. I knew F1 had come up with a new rule where teams must not only use the same engine for two race weekend, but also use only one set of tires over one race weekend. Sounds like a dumb idea to me.
Before the race ended, we made our way back down toward the pagoda to see the award presentation. Too many people were in the way to see anything though.
There were quite a few spectators who seemed as upset about this event as I was.
Guys began climbing the catch fence for a better view.
Local government was concerned about a riot over this stupid "race", so they called out every copper in the city to come to Speedway. These sheriffs soon had everyone climbing back down to the ground.
The majority of spectators are Ferrari fans, and some of them were happy about the win for Michael.
All I know is I want my money back.
October Update: Thanks to Michelin, everyone received a complete refund!