Milwaukee Indyfest 2014 -Friday, Saturday and Sunday

I have to say I love attending a race weekend and was thankful to be able to attend two races this year. Milwaukee was tremendously fun and my good friend Kristen and I hardly had a chance to relax. But our experience was more about the event than the race. I actually found the race a bit dull and when a few things did happen on track I would not have really known what what happening except that I was keeping an eye on my Twitter feed. So I want to run down my race weekend but I will try and stick to the highlights.

Kristen and I always begin a race weekend with pedicures.

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Following that we went to David Hobbs Honda to meet James Hinchcliffe and Josef Newgarden.

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Later that evening we attended the street party where we stopped Tristan Vautier for a picture.

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And attempted to squeeze into an Indycar.

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Saturday morning we went to the tweet up at the Mile. Pippa was amazing as always. There was a Q & A with Matthew Brabham and Zach Veach.

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After that we wandered the fan village and the paddock. This was the first time I’ve had a paddock pass. That was quite enjoyable and we had a chance to chat with Justin Wilson, Robin Miller, Charlie Kimball and Larry Foyt. I will have to write about my conversation with Larry another time but A J is why I love Indycar so a chance to talk with Larry was very cool. I can’t imagine the fool I would’ve made of myself had I spoken with AJ although I sure hope I get to one day.

Kristen and I made a point of watching the Rickshaw race which was a fun event. We also attended an autograph session with the Pro Mazda drivers.

We made our way to the stands eventually to watch qualifying. Will Power won the pole position. He has greatly stepped up his performance on the ovals and with two of the last three races being an oval that might be just what he needs to finally win the championship. Tony Kanaan will be starting second and it’s good to see him consistently up front. Ryan Hunter-Reay did not qualify well and that is surprising given how well he has raced here in the past.

I would’ve loved to stay for the Pro Mazda race but Kristen had enough for one day so we went back to the hotel and out for dinner. (see my previous post for a fun blog we wrote that night at dinner and the name of a great place to have dinner in the Milwaukee area)

Also I have to note that booking the Fairfield Inn using the Champion Crew Conversations code is an amazing deal–$60 a night, free breakfast and three free drinks each both nights. Combine that with the deal we got on tickets from Living Social and it a very affordable weekend.

Sunday morning, for reasons out of our control, Kristen and I woke up exhausted from a poor night sleep. We made the decision to skip the autograph session. I’ve carried Helio’s book around a race multiple times, hopefully one day I will get it signed. When parking our car the rickshaw guys were all gathered near. Kristen and I splurged and had Big Steve, winner of heat 1&2 of yesterday’s rickshaw races, give us a ride to the gate. We then made our way to the infield and enjoyed some of the infield activities. Then we walked to the stands to watch the Lights race, back to the infield to see Arie Luyendyk, back to the stands for the Rickshaw finals, infield for lunch at the Simmer truck and finally back to our seats for the race. Thank goodness it’s a small track.

We enjoyed the race but while I used to feel that ovals had lots of passing and the road and street courses were just follow the leader I’m started to feel the opposite. Will Power started from the pole and basically led the whole way and easily took the checkered flag. A yellow came out for Carlos Munoz after a brush with the wall but had it not been for twitter I wouldn’t have known why the yellow was out. I happened to notice RHR on the video screen and then watched as he slowly entered the pits so I once again checked twitter as without a scanner I wouldn’t have known anything had happened. And so the cars all followed Will and eventually finished their 250 miles. An extra yellow or two might have made things a little more exciting.

Josef Newgarden had an awesome final run after having to stop for gas. His new tires helped him move back up the field for a top five finish. I hope he stays with the merged Carpenter Fisher team. I only see good things coming from that merger.

With only two races left and Helio and RHR dropping farther back in the championship points I’m thinking it might finally be Will Powers turn to win.

Just before leaving the track we met up with Mike Knapp (15days in May) and his new bride, Darcy. It was fun catching up with Mike and getting to meet Darcy. A couple years ago if you would have told me that I would regularly meet up with people from Twitter I never would have believed you but this weekend I met up with a few and I enjoy getting to meet everyone. Mike is the twitter friend I have known the longest and it’s always great seeing him at a race.

I could go on but I promised only the highlights so I’ll finish with a couple pictures.

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Kristen and I with Big Steve, winner of the Rickshaw World Championship.

One last thought, Saturday was a low attendance day but I thought Sundays crowd was very good. I’ve attended the last three years and I would say 2014 was the best year yet. I truly enjoy this event and would highly recommend it to all.

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