Dual in Detroit- Race 2

First lets start with something I think everyone agrees on- NBCSN coverage is so much better than ABC. That was never more evident than today, especially for us Chicago fans. In Chicago the IndyCar race was tape delayed due to the cubs game. Then when I checked after the DVR the Cubs went into overtime and after the game was the news. No race for us Chicago fans—really?. Just another reason why I love twitter and my IndyCar family. Multiple live stream links were provided and I was able to watch from my iPad.

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So while I missed my nice HDTV, I was still able to watch live. I worried about the double file start with rain tires on but it went well. Will Power quickly took the lead from Juan Pablo Montoya and Josef Newgarden made his way to third. Carlos Munoz had trouble though and smoke coming from his car bringing out a local yellow.

Big debates about when to switch to slicks and James jakes, I believe, made the jump too early.

Will Power had trouble with his car, which kept popping into neutral. A new steering wheel fixed that.

By lap 36 JPM had a nearly 8 second lead over second place and at about that time Marco Andretti made the switch to slick tires. Rodolfo Gonzalez hit the tire barrier and there was a full course yellow. So at that time many cars made the switch to slicks. JPM slid in the pits and lost 2 spots. Conor Daly stayed out and claimed the number one position.

Lap 42- Daly had a good restart and kept the lead but Luca Filippi was into the wall and also Stefano Coletti. After these yellows, twitter was talking about a timed race but I hadn’t heard it mentioned on the broadcast so I wasn’t sure what was going on.

By lap 49 it was obvious that slicks were the tire to be on. But it was hard to keep up on both tire and fuel strategy and who was doing what. Newgarden pitted and then promptly hit the wall after putting on new tires. It was a hard hit too. Daly pit for slicks and Sebastien Bourdais claimed the lead.

Bourdais was told he did not have enough fuel but he said it was worth the gamble to stay out and hope for yellows. And there was no shortage of yellows. Daly, Hawksworth, Karam, Coletti, Kimball, Dixon and others were just some involved in the yellows toward the end of the race. Eventually Will Power and Helio Castroneves mix it up and bring out the red flag in an attempt to end the race on green.

There were only 6 laps left so I would have preferred to see the race go the distance but at least at this time the viewers knew what was going on. After 10 minutes and 18 seconds under red we were back to racing. Approximately 5 minutes on the clock. Green flag and Trisatn Vautier made it around JPM. Bourdais was able to stay out front and take the checkered flag. Takuma Sato was second, followed by Graham Rahal. Also noteworthy, Tristan Vautier was fourth and Conor Daly was sixth.

Wow, Bourdais made the right call to stay out and not worry about fuel. The yellows played right I to his plan. Great win for KV racing. Of course I also loved seeing Sato finish second. I was really hoping he could pull off the win.

Great race! Great season! When we watched the St. Pete race with all the crashes and debris and a Penske win you wondered how the season would work out with the new aero kits. The kits have been interesting but the racing has stayed fantastic. We continue to have new winners from new teams. I absolutely love that. Now we head back to an oval. That should be interesting.

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Dual in Detroit- Race One

Wow! Rain races are fun. I just love seeing things mixed up a bit. No Penske parade today and I love that.

So no pre race show which stinks especially after Indy but it’s ABC. Whatever. Booth was talking about how great Montoya is in the rain but it was Takuma Sato I had my eye on and by lap three Sato was leading. Yellow flag came out when Rodolfo Gonzalez brushed the wall. Race went green for a couple laps but then Stefano Coletti takes out James Jakes, Tony Kanaan and Graham Rahal. Poor Graham had no where to go and ran right into TK. Graham was out but Jakes and eventually TK were able to continue.

And then Marco Andretti decided to switch to slick tires. I thought he was nuts. It seemed way to early but it turned out to be a great decision. Well a great decision for Marco, Charlie Kimball also went to slicks and then he hit the wall. Hard. At that point everyone went in for slicks and Marco claimed first place. Will Power had trouble in the pits and lost five spots. Sato drops to eighth.

More action on track as Sato and Josef Newgarden make contact. Tristan Vautier was in the tire barrier. Then a very odd move by Sage Karam blocking Sato. It was so deliberate. Sage received a drive through penalty for it.

Scott Dixon made the first move to go back to rain tires under yellow but it hadn’t started raining yet. It wasn’t the right move. He tore up the tires long before the rain started.

Just as green flag was starting Conor Daly made contact but he immedietly ducked into the pits and kept the track from going yellow. Crushed for Conor but what I great move. Not sure what exactly happened and how he faired.

Next Marco had trouble with his gears possibly and lost several positions. He made them up as others went in for rain tires. Marco made his own rules as he stayed out on slicks for quite awhile. Marco did have to come in for fuel and changed to rain tires at that time. He made up a lot of time. Carlos Munoz did the same and then some and took over the lead.

Then the rain with lightning came followed by the red flag. Because the race was more than half over it could be a completed race but IndyCar officials waited about 15 minutes before making that call. I agree with the red flag and I probably agree with not continuing the race. I do wish though that the decision was made to end the race early without the red flag. Then it would have been a bit more exciting when Carlos Munoz was declared winner. It was very anticlimactic watching the cars sit wondering if Munoz won or if Marco would be given a chance to try and claim the victory. Guess the good thing is we get to do it all over again Sunday. Praying the weather cooperates a bit more then.

Finally attended the Indy 500

This post will be about our attendance to the race for the first time. In a couple days I should have something up about the race itself. I really need to watch the race on TV before I can write about it.

First, I want to thank everyone on Twitter for their encouragement and suggestions for attending. It gave me the courage to attend. Especially, Mike Knapp, @15daysinMay, who offered to have us sit with him and his boys. Mike was even willing to meet me outside town so I wouldn’t have to face the traffic on my own. I didn’t take him up on that as I was looking at a three hour drive before arriving and didn’t want to hold him up but was so grateful for his willingness to help. It was also great having someone to sit with so we could leave our bags when we went to cool off mid race. Thanks again Mike for everything. This is what I love about twitter and social media. I would not have met Mike and a lot of others without it. What a great way to connect.

One of my reasons for not attending in the past is the 500 falls near my husbands birthday and we always have a party on Saturday of Memorial Day weekend. I live near Chicago so it’s too hard to travel. However, due to my nieces wedding all plans changed for this year and boys and I took advantage.

Race Day- my boys and I were on the road shortly after 5:00 am. Of course that was 6:00 am in Indy. Time change does not help. We made good time until we neared Crawfordsville Road but once we were on the road it wasn’t too bad. We parked our car about a mile from the speedway. Boys were great about walking and helping carry our cooler and bags. I was very thankful for that. We made it to the Speedway and had no problems getting in the gate. We made it to our seats quickly and enjoyed seeing the vintage cars on track.

Pre race ceremony was great. This is always the time at home when I wish I could be at the track. We missed the former winners but saw the vintage cars and the military laps. We enjoyed “America The Beautiful” and of course the National Anthem. However, when it really hit for me was the singing of (Back Home Again in) “Indiana” and the balloon release. I teared up at that point. Straight, No Chaser did an excellent job. The song gave me goosebumps. That said it didn’t compare to Jim Nabors. I can’t even imagine having a chance to hear him perform at Indy. For those who did count yourself blessed. Then the call to start engines. I need to listen again but it wasn’t the call we expected. Still engines started and the green flag was nearing. Alex Tagliani had trouble starting but eventually did and was able to join the field. After the warm up laps and poor Conor Daly’s car catching on fire we were ready for the green flag. Cars came flying down turn one and the boys and I were thoroughly impressed. The cars did not make it through turn two though and we went yellow for a bit. After we returned to green for a couple laps the boys were ready to get into the shade and cool off.

We walked over to the museum area and we all dipped our feet in the fountain. I must have counted the nozzles in the fountain at least three times– Thanks George. (George Phillips, @oilpressureblog, had a trivia contest a couple weeks ago and one of the questions asked how many nozzles on the fountain). Needless to say I got that one, and many others, wrong.

We also visited the gift shop at the museum. We’ve made friends with one of the cashiers and wanted to stop and say Hi. Zach bought some popcorn, we visited the fountain again and eventually made our way back to our seats.

Now before you yell at me for not being glued to our seats let me say I’m right there with you. I knew by attending I would miss some of the race. I knew ahead of time my boys would never want to sit and watch the race in its entirety. By knowing this ahead of time we saved ourselves a lot of heartache. I was willing to give the boys a break and they were not driving me crazy complaining.

We returned to our seats right after Ed Carpenters crash. It was actually a good time to return. We had time to catch up on what had happened and get to our seats without getting in anyone’s way. We were also blessed to not have anyone sitting in front of us, giving us a little extra room for our things. We settled in for the rest of the race. The boys were really watching and enjoying. They especially enjoyed the last 15 laps or so. It probably helped that Mike and his boys were really excited about Montoya and I was pulling for Power (at the end anyway). Matthew went with Montoya and Zach was for Power. They loved watching the passes and hearing the crowd. They were pretty excited. Great way to introduce the 500 with an amazing finish. Our seats were great for all the action but man it would be nice to sit at the finish line for the finish. Not complaining- just saying.

We have nothing to complain about. It was a fantastic race on a beautiful day at the greatest place on earth. I honestly don’t think we will attend next year as we will be back on our regular schedule but i think we all will be wishing we could attend.

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After the race we walked over toward the garages. We saw Graham Rahal and Zach yelled out that we would be eating at Steak ‘n Shake. Graham thanked him and that put a smile on Zach’s face. We then walked up the stairs overlooking James Hinchcliffe’s garage area. Zach had a checkered flag necklace he wanted to get to Hinch. We were lucky enough to see Ryan Briscoe and Ryan came over and we dropped the necklace down to him. Wow, Ryan, that was really sweet. That is why we love the IndyCar series. The drivers are the best.

We had another super cool thing happen. Earlier in the day, before the race, a photographer saw Zach and all his checkered flag necklaces. He asked Zach if he was a big fan and if Zach had seen all the horrible crashes. Zach replied that he had. The photographer then asked if Zach wanted a piece of one of the cars that had crashed. Um yes please. He handed Zach a piece of a car. We don’t know whose but Zach is sure it belonged to Ed’s car. I was probably more excited than Zach. Wow! So cool!

Boys were amazing all day and happily hiked the mile walk back to our car without complaining. We had an amazing day. I made them promise to take a couple moments and reflect on the day because I wish I had done that after my first (and only) day at the track with my dad. We just attended our first 500. We don’t know when our next 500 will be but we will return.

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My journey to the 500

Finally in 2015 I will be attending my first Indy 500. I became a fan in 1985 so it’s been along time coming. Here is how my 30 year journey began.

Spring 1985- Language Arts class assignment– read a biography. The class took a walk to the library and we were directed to the biography section and told to choose a book. I picked AJ’s off the shelf but returned it. I was a girl, was I really interested in a race car driver. Well I must have been because I picked it up again and this time I checked it out. Of course that could have had something to do with me being a huge fan of Knight Rider. I loved the show so I had a bit of a thing for cool looking cars.
I really enjoyed the book. I don’t believe we had to write a report or anything. If we did I don’t have it.

May 26, 1985 – Watched my first 500 on TV– My dad was watching tv in our front room. I sat down next to him and asked what he was watching. (I never get tired of telling this story.) Dad said, “The Indy 500.” I replied, “Oh yeah, I read about AJ Foyt in school.” Dad said, “AJ is doing not so well, he is in ___? position.” OH MY GOSH! Are you kidding me? I had no clue that AJ was still racing. I watched the rest of the race with my dad. I don’t remember the race itself, including the spin and win (this is very disappointing) but I do remember watching and being amazed that I knew many of the drivers. AJ mentioned them all in his book. I felt an immediate connection. However, once the race was over I didn’t give it much more thought.

May 31, 1986- My dad didn’t forget though. He reminded me that the 500 was on and bonus– David Hasselhoff would be singing the National Anthem. Sure, I will watch. Again, I don’t recall much about the race but I was glad Bobby Rahal won.

May 24, 1987- you guessed it. I watched the race. I was disappointed that Mario Andretti didn’t win. I was even more disappointed that Al Unser Sr. tied with AJ Foyt becoming a four time winner. I liked having my hero, AJ being the only one with that honor.

May 29, 1988- Rick Mears won both pole and the race. AJ wrecks on lap 58. I didn’t really care for Mears (although I like him now) so I wasn’t too interested in this race.

May 28, 1989- At this time it became a tradition although I still wasn’t a huge fan. AJ finished fifth. Best finish yet (well since I had been watching). Little Al and Fittipaldi touched sending Al into the wall. Emerson Fittipaldi won the race.

May 27, 1990- Arie Luyendyk wins the race. I enjoyed watching him race. AJ had another good finish in sixth.

May 26, 1991- Rick Mears becomes a four time winner. I was not excited. AJ had no chance of winning so I was pulling for Michael Andretti (he finished second) or Arie Luyendyk (third). I’m really starting to enjoy this tradition though and know it is something I will watch every year. I’m hooked.

May 24, 1992- “Little All wins by just a few tenths of a second.”- Bob Jenkins. My dad and I were hoping Scott Goodyear would win. AJ finished ninth. I also enjoyed watching Lyn St. James. She had an okay race but it was fun watching a girl for the first time (for me).

OCTOBER 1992– notice the date. Yes October. This was my first trip to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. My family was in town for my cousins wedding and my dad suggested we go to the speedway. Sure! Sounds fun.
I wish I had better memories of this day. Dad and I had fun. We went to the museum and did the bus tour of the track. I still didn’t appreciate the race enough to be totally awed by this like I would be now. I do remember the banking and being on bus wishing it would go faster. Dad and I laughed and had a great time. We bought some souvenirs and they have become some race day swag to this day. It was the first of only two trips to the speedway with my dad but remains one of my favorite memories. I just wish I realized at the time what a special day it was.

May 1993- POLE DAY– my dad suggested we go visit my cousin and attend Pole Day at IMS. Sure sounds fun. Again I wish I knew what an incredible day this would be and how much I would try to recall it years later. As a matter of fact when we left the speedway last weekend (2015) I said to my boys as we left- just think about the fun things we did and let them all sink in. When you are older these will be precious memories for you. 1993 was my second and final trip with my dad to the speedway. I would return in 1994 with a girl friend and then not attend until 2008 with my son- by that time my dad had passed away. My dad died at age 60 from Melanoma.
Dad and I found seats in the main straight. Dad had a newspaper and wrote down everyone’s qualifying speed. We enjoyed our time very much and then A J Foyt announced his retirement. Wow! Such a bittersweet moment. I finally get to see AJ on the track and then he he decides to retire. It was a part of history though and I was there. I will never forget that. Sharing it with my dad made it even better.

May 30, 1993- the race had much more meaning to me this year for a couple reasons. One was we all picked names and paid $1 a car. Winner would win $33. I won with Emerson Fittipaldi. But it was bittersweet, dad was so disappointed with Emerson’s break from tradition by drinking orange juice that I had a hard time enjoying my victory. Also still disappointed that AJ was not racing. However, this was an amazing year in my 500 (and IndyCar) journey. I became a much bigger fan. I also had to pick a new favorite driver. I chose Arie Luyendyk. He would become my new favorite.

May 29,1994- earlier I attended Pole Day with my girlfriend, Deanna. She picked little Al in our family pool and won the $33. Disappointing race for me but was at the point in my journey that every race is exciting and something I enjoy more every year.

May 28, 1995- this year I was dating my husband. We had been together for five months at this point. He was invited to a wedding so of course I was to be his date. I wanted to skip the wedding and just attend the reception, giving me time to watch the race. Steve did not agree. I love my husband and we’ve been married 17 years but that he is not an IndyCar fan is still such a big disappointment. Ladies, don’t think you can change your guy– you can’t. However, I really should not have attended, the groom would later divorce and eventually marry my sister. I ever should have missed the 500 for that wedding. Fortunetly Jacques Villeneuve won and he meant nothing to me so if I had to miss the end of a race I guess that was the one to miss. I was able to watch all of qualifying and the first half of the race.

May 26, 1996- Buddy Lazier won with a broken back. Buddy was one of my dad’s favorites so he was very happy. Tony Stewart was a rookie and quickly became a favorite of my sister.

May 27, 1997- I had Arie Luyendyk in our family pool so I won the $33. At this time we began allowing everyone to pick their favorite driver and draw the rest from a hat. Arie was my favorite so I chose him. Dad was still pulling for Goodyear (2nd).

May 24, 1998- Biily Boat wins the pole for AJ Foyts team. That’s what I like. Eddie Cheever Jr. wins the race.

May 30, 1999- I had both Arie Luyendyk and Robbie Gordon in our family pool and I really liked both drivers so I was hopeful one would win. Arie planned to retire after this race so another win would have been a nice ending for him. Arie won the pole but crashed during the race. Robby Gordon made his last pit stop on lap 164. Unfortunately, it was too early and he ran out of gas with one lap left. Kenny Brack won the race. Another win for AJ at Indy. I was so happy for AJ but due to some out of town guests at my parents house it was bittersweet. My parents allowed them in on our family pool and they had Kenny Brack. They laughed when Arie crashed and again when Robby ran out of gas. That frustrated me beyond belief. And of course they couldn’t understand why I was glad Brack won when I actually lost money because he did.
A new rule was made- family only on Indy 500 pool.

May 28, 2000- Chip Ganassi crosses the “picket line” and returns to the 500 with Jimmy Vasser and Juan Pablo Montoya. Al Unser Jr also returned after moving to the IRL full time. On top of that there are two women in the field, Lyn St. James and Sarah Fisher. Unfortunately St. James crashed and took Sarah out too. Montoya wins and then departs at seasons end for formula one and then NASCAR.

May 27, 2001- In our family pool we choose one driver each and then pick names out of a hat. I picked Helio Castroneves but didn’t want a rookie with a name I couldn’t pronounce. My brother in law wasn’t there for the picks so I gave Helio to him and took a different driver- that was a mistake. More teams, including Penske and Green, return to Indy. Arie Luyendyk also returns. Great to have lots of favorites back. Helio wins the race after rain delays, including a 17 minute red flag.

May 26, 2002- I chose Arie as my pick for the family pool but quickly became I fan of Tony Kanaan. He would become my regular pick after this race. There was controversy over the end of the race. Paul Tracy still believes he should have been declared the winner of the race. Helio wins for the second time.

May 25, 2003- I’m a bit distracted during this race. I watched at my parents house and prayed my sweet three month old son would sleep through the race. I was still so sleep deprived I don’t recall much from this race. I was hoping to see Helio win a third time and was disappointed he didn’t. I also loved that AJ Foyt IV became the youngest driver to compete at age 19. Gil de Ferran won.

May 30, 2004- Matthew was just over one year old and I was pregnant with Zachary. What I remember the most of this race was Matthew playing with the dollar bills from our family pool. He loved putting the money in the back of his toy cement truck. My dad liked Buddy Rice so he was glad to see him win. The race was shortened due to rain.

May 29,2005- Tony Kanaan was on the pole. My favorite! Another girl was in the race- Danica Patrick. She made history becoming the first female to lead at Indy. Dan Wheldon won the race but Danica was the big story of the 2005 Indy 500. I had two little ones watching with me. Thank goodness for my mom. She was more than willing to help so I could watch the race. We learned earlier (November 2004) that my dad had Melanoma. He had surgery and was on medication during the race to fight the cancer. He didn’t feel great but made an effort to watch with me.

May 28, 2006- this would be the last 500 I would watch with my dad. He liked the winner Sam Hornish Jr. so I’m glad looking back that he won. I really wanted Marco Andretti to win. Dad probably would have enjoyed that too. We both would have loved to see Michael Andretti win too. Guess we were big enough fans that we were pretty happy with most winners. Dad and I discussed that we should really follow the whole season and not just the 500.

May 27, 2007- Dad passed away in February. I watched the race at home by myself. The race will never be quite the same. This year also leaves no doubt as to how big of a fan I am. It’s my husbands birthday and also my best friends surprise 30th birthday party. The race was delayed by rain. Steve took the boys to the party but I refused to leave until the race was over. Tony was leading- I wasn’t leaving until I knew the result. The race was restarted and Dario won on lap 166 when it began raining for a second time. I went to the party. My friend forgave me. I’m not sure if Steve has.
I did begin following the whole season and I loved watching more races.

May 25, 2008- We had moved to our new house. Three women qualified for the race. Scott Dixon was the race winner.

September 7, 2008- I convinced my girlfriend- the same one whose party I was late to during the 2007 Indy 500- to come with me to the IndyCar race at Chicagoland Speedway. I promised we would go out to eat and get pedicures. Since we both had young children at home this was too good to pass up. We had a great time. We left the race thinking Scott Dixon had won. When I watched the news after arriving home I called Kristen to tell her Helio actually won. Oh man we missed a fence climb. No fair.

Well I will have to update/finish this at a later time. Zach has been running a fever and we are out of town for a wedding. I had hoped to run through all the 500’s, IndyCar races I have attended and visits to the speedway leading up to the trip we plan to make tomorrow but have ran out of time. Kids will do that to you. Good news is after a trip to immediate care and some antibiotics, it looks like Zach will be able to attend the 500. I would have been heartbroken if only Matthew and I went. After all the Indy 500 is all about family in my book. Can’t wait to share this with my boys. 

Such a Fun Weekend at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway

As much as I enjoy watching the race, this weekend is also about family and all the things to do on a race weekend. Matthew is now twelve but we began our tradition of spending time at Indy in May when he was just five. Two years later when Zach turned five he joined us on our trips. This year did not disappoint. We had a great time.

You can read about qualifying day in my previous post- Fun Day at the Grand Prix of Indy. It truly was a fun day. Saturday was race day and just as busy and fun as qualifying.

We enjoyed breakfast at our hotel and got in a quick swim before heading to the track. We arrived at the speedway around 11:45. That gave us plenty of time to make the tweet up by the pagoda. It was good to see Eric Hall (@erock_in_indy, anotherindycarblog.wordpress.com) and also George and Susan Phillips ( @oilpressureblog, Oilpressure.com) among others. Pippa Mann and Tristan Vautier were there with Pippa running a Q&A. Unfortunately, with car noise in the background it was impossible to hear much at all. I also wish there could be someway to introduce those in attendance. I talked with some but I’m sure I missed some twitter friends simply because I don’t recognize the face as I do the twitter handle. I’ve enjoyed other tweet ups more. My boys however, had a great time. They had their checkered flag necklaces and were finding many takers. A couple people were especially appreciative. We talked with one man for quite awhile. He even bought Zach’s hat from him. Another woman liked the necklace so much she found us later and gave the boys t-shirts. And yet another woman, from IndyINtheLoop.com, interviewed the boys. They were having a blast.

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Time for lunch so we got a turkey leg to share. If you are looking for a cheaper way to feed a family always go for the turkey leg. All three of us ate from it and were quite full after. Matthew did have a hot dog too. We had drinks in our cooler (love that IMS allows outside food and beverages) so we didn’t break the bank for lunch. If you can find the vintage tenderloin sandwich that is an incredible value too. We weren’t so lucky this trip but plan to hunt them down at the 500.

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After lunch, Zach got a picture with the Firestone Firehawk. We were packing up our things, thinking about finding a spot on the mounds to watch the race, when a woman came up to us. She asked if we had seats. I said no and she asked if we wanted seats in the Northwest Vista. Umm sure. She then explained that she was an Angie’s list employee and saw me with my boys and wanted to do something nice for us. Looking back I think she thought I was a single mom. I’m not but it is overwhelming sometimes being at such a massive facility and keeping track of two boys. This has become easier each year and this year Matthew has a phone so knowing I can contact him should we get separated helped a lot. Still it is a hectic weekend and was such a sweet gesture from this woman. We had great seats– they were just a bit farther away than we had anticipated. Oh well we seldom get to that side of the track so let’s just enjoy.

We made our way to our seats. Saw Big Steve, winner of the Rickshaw races at the 2014 Milwaukee race and got settled in just in time for the short rain shower.

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The boys loved the rain and wished it had rained longer. They also really loved the start of the race. I know you shouldn’t hope for crashes but it does make it a bit more exciting, especially for young boys. It certainly grabbed Matthew’s attention and he watched the first ten laps or so pretty closely. Zach grew bored a bit quicker and attempted to take a nap. Eventually they went to buy an ice cream and all was good again. After the crash there wasn’t much to keep their attention but we would point out when one of our favorite drivers would pass by. The race ended with Will Power winning. Not one of our favorites.

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Zach had seen, on our way to our seats, where they were selling used tires from the Pro Mazda series. He had to have one. I tried my hardest to talk him out of it. We were on the exact opposite side of the track from where we were parked. I thought there was no way he could carry that tire the whole way back. It turned out to be the best ten dollars we spent. He fairly skipped back to the car. He was so proud of his tire and loved the attention he got carrying it back. Matthew begged to help carry it but Zach wouldn’t let him.

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As we neared the walkway overlooking the garage area went went up to see if we could see any drivers. We were lucky enough to see Takuma Sato with AJ Foyt. So very thankful he is doing well and was at the speedway. We also saw Hinch.

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IMS was offering a chance to go out on the track, a track invasion, but the boys were tired and not interested. We continued back to our car and barely made it before the rain began. Wow! Such a fun day.

We finished our day with dinner at Steak ‘n Shake to celebrate Graham’s second place finish. After that we played in the pool.

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Sunday was Mother’s Day and although there was no track activity we didn’t let that keep us from going back to the speedway. We visited the museum and the gift shop. The boys picked out my Mother’s Day gifts and I couldn’t be happy with their selections, after all they are from IMS. Well actually I do have one complaint. Zach bought me a t-shirt. He knew ahead of time to get an XL. I warned him that sizes run small. When he presented it to me I knew we had to exchange it. Thankfully the sweet woman working remembered us and it was an easy exchange. We got the 2XL. Okay people, I could definitely stand to lose a couple pounds but as a rule I wear a large—2XL– I should be swimming in it and actually it is still quite tight. It is absolutely ridiculous. I can’t even imagine once I wash it. Guess my nieces will be getting another t-shirt from me. This is not a one time problem.

We “opened” the gifts by the fountain before making our drive up north to the Chicago area. I can’t think of a better way to spend Mother’s Day and can’t wait to do it all again in two weeks and next year.

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The Second Grand Prix of Indy

At the time I am writing this I have seen many comments on twitter and have watched the start of the race and pre show. I attended this race with my boys and we had an amazing time but right now I want to write about the race itself and will follow up soon with our weekend experience. So what I really want to do is compare my experience with what I’ve heard others saying.
Others are saying–

1. Crowds are much smaller this year than last.

We sat in a completely different area so of course the crowd seemed different to me but I didn’t notice a dramatic difference in numbers. There was a threat for bad weather so I do think that kept some of your walk up crowd away but I thought it seemed like a good attendance. We were given seats in the Northwest Vista (see more about that in my next post). It was mostly full on the higher rows and still decent on the lower rows. The stands prior to ours (J stand, I believe) looked much fuller. The mounds also looked full. Again I thought attendance looked good.

2. ABC coverage was terrible.

Maybe I just heard so much negative about the coverage that I expected it to be ridiculously bad. I felt it wasn’t that bad. It’s ABC. They are not near as good as the NBCSN guys but it wasn’t that bad. Jon Beekus was back so that was good.

3. Helio caused the accident in turn 1, lap 1.

I watched Tony Kanaan with Dave Furst. Tony believed that Helio caused the incident and should be penalized. He was also upset about those who went through the run off area getting better track position than those who stayed on track. I’ve watched the start plenty of times. I admit repeatedly that I don’t always know the race line but it seemed to me to just be a racing incident. I don’t think it was avoidable contact. It was the start. Everyone was trying to find their spot and pass. I think it was a racing incident and don’t think Helio should be penalized. As far as the cars that went through the run off- I couldn’t see enough of the coverage to see if cars gained positions or not by going off course. If they did gain spots they should have been moved back. I completely agree with Tony on that part.

I have two other things to point out.

Josef Newgarden– if he had not been involved in the lap one crash he would have been a contender for sure. He held off Will Power for quite awhile to stay on the lead lap. I can’t wait to see what he will do in the 500.

Graham Rahal- second place for the second race. He has been great and he did it in a Honda and the Honda’s really struggled in qualifying. Keep your eye on Graham.

All in all the GP of Indy was not the most exciting race. Graham kept us watching the last couple laps but Power was able to hold him off and made it a ho hum race. However, it was a fantastic event. If you have not attended I highly recommend it. I will be posting soon about our trip to the race. The boys and I had an amazing time.

The last two races I’ve attended (GP of Indy 2015, Milwaukee 2014) Will Power won both the pole and the race. Sure hope that changes for the next race I attend which will be my first 500. I want Ed Carpenter, Josef Newgarden, Marco Andretti or Graham Rahal (or most other drivers especially if it is their first win at the speedway) to win. I’d be okay with a repeat winner if it was Helio. I’d like to see him join the four time winners club. The best part about the 500 is I will be in attendance for the first time. Woo Hoo. Can’t wait for that.

Look for posts coming soon about our trip to the Grand Prix and also my long journey to my first 500.

Update- 5-12-15 after listening to the May 11th podcast of Trackside.
I still think the turn one crash was a racing incident but people smarter than me believe Helio was at fault. Then Curt and Kevin discussed a similar incident involving Graham Rahal and Charlie Kimball during St. Pete I believe. Rahal was given a penalty for that incident. Well, that changes things a bit. However, at this time, it’s too late. The race is over. I’ve watched the replay over and over but I still think it was just one of those things. Curt and Kevin also mentioned that some people are saying that Dixon turned down in front of Helio. I’m more in agreement with that but then that also comes down to where is the racing line. As I’ve said before I often don’t know. I do know drivers go wide before a turn to be able to make the turn. The drivers know the line so if Dixon was just following the line, Helio would have known he would be turning down. Okay so I guess I’m just saying I don’t know how this should have turned out but I’m willing to give Helio the benefit of the doubt on this one.

Also there was talk about if Josef Newgarden should have pulled over for others to pass once Power had passed him and he was no longer on the lead lap. Absolutely not. We know Josef is a great driver. We’ve seen him pass Power before. He was still in the mix enough to keep fighting with all he had.

Fun Day at the Grand Prix of Indy

Wow! What a fun day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. My boys and I had a blast. Our drive down took a bit longer than planned but we still had plenty of time to get settled in before qualifying for the IndyCars started. We enjoyed watching the cars and the boys tried to pass out some checkered flag necklaces. Unfortunately many people passed on our FREE gift. Guess we weren’t sitting in the right spot. Oh well. We continued watching qualifying and saw Will Power once again win the pole position. No big surprise there.

After qualifying we grabbed a bite to eat and decided to check out the garage tours. That was the best part of our day. We had a great tour guide. You could tell he loves the Speedway. We learned a couple new things and were enjoying the tour when Larry Foyt walked by. Perhaps you remember that in Milwaukee last summer I had the opportunity to met Larry and promptly began to cry when I told him how I became a fan after reading AJ’s biography. Anyway I couldn’t let Larry pass without saying something so I said hello and mentioned meeting him (and crying) in Milwaukee. He was kind enough to say he remembered. He was also willing to take a picture with me. After the picture Larry invited us into the garage to take another picture with the car. I was able to ask about AJ and sound much more intelligible than I did last time. Wow! So cool! And all because IMS was offering free garage tours. We rejoined our tour and when it was finished thanked our guide. He said we were free to stay in the garage area as long as we liked. What!?!? I honestly thought we would be escorted out just as we were escorted in. Unfortunately, Matthew needed to use the restroom. We used the ones right at garage entrance but then were told we couldn’t go back in. Oh man I was disappointed. I had asked specifically if we could go back in and was told we could only to be stopped when we tried. Others were turned away too. One of the things we learned on our tour was that we could walk along the walkways overlooking the garages to get a glimpse of the garages so we decided to do that. We saw James Hinchcliffe from that vantage point. We yelled down to him and threw him a black and white bracelet with his name on it. He was great, taking time to talk with us and appreciated the gift.

As we made our way towards the back of the garage area we tried getting in again. This time we were told we were welcome in anytime until 6:00. Yeah! We walked around some more and met Arie Luyendyk. Zach was able to say hello to Helio Castroneves and we also saw Josef Newgarden. The boys have not had many opportunities to meet the drivers so this was so fun for them. Great job IMS. What a great way to grow new fans.

With sore and tired feet we left the speedway and found our car. Boys were eager to get to the hotel and swim but I’m a big enough IndyCar geek that I had to take a drive down Main Street to see the new AJ Foyt racing building. We drove up and down Main Street and the boys thought perhaps I was lost. No, just taking it all in. There is never enough time to do all I want. I really need to live closer.

We made it to our hotel grabbed dinner and went swimming. Can’t wait to do it all over again tomorrow.

Will Power is on the pole and the first three rows are all Penske and Ganassi. I hope somehow that changes as the race progresses and we have some great racing like we did at Barber. I loved watching that race and was thrilled with the outcome. Josef Newgarden won his first IndyCar race and I would love to see another first time winner tomorrow.

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