Race day was cold, upper 40s, so we weren’t in a big rush to get to the Speedway. After breakfast we packed up what we had to keep warm and wished we had packed more. It was windy too so all warm clothes were needed. Fortunately, the rain had passed so we didn’t need to worry about getting wet.
We left for the Speedway around noon and walked past the garages when we got there. We all pulled our hoods up to protect against the cold and I feared it would be a long day. We saw James Hinchcliffe do a news interview and yelled out to him that we hoped he had a good race. We then ventured down to the kids zone. The boys played in the bounce houses until I dragged them to the tweet up at the Cooper Tires stage. After the q&a with the Pro Mazda drivers I talked with some Twitter friends and met Mike Silver (@tudorindie). Mike just started a blog about his experiences at IMS. I’ve really been enjoying it. You can find it at Thefirstfiftyracesarethehardest.wordpress.com. After that we just had enough time to grab a snack and find our seats. I still wasn’t sure where we were going to sit.
We discussed sitting on the bleachers but I wasn’t sure which ones were open. The first year we sat in the turn two (oval) mounds but you can’t see much racing from there. We decided to see if we could find a spot viewing the 7-8-9 turns. As we walked along the mounds I saw this big blue tarp. Mark Wilkenson (@NewTrackRecord) had tweeted about it earlier so I looked to see if it was his tarp. Sure enough there was Mark (he also has a blog I enjoy- NewTrackRecord.com). I stopped to say hello and Mark invited us to sit with him. What a blessing! We didn’t have to use all our blankets to keep off the cold wet ground and were able to keep dry while enjoying great views of the race. Thanks again Mark! Just before the race began another friend came by, Eric Hall (@Erock_in_Indy, oh and of course I enjoy his blog too- anotherindycarblog.wordpress.com Hmm I’m ditecting a theme). Eric was joined by Katie and we all talked before the race began.
As I’ve said before I always struggle to follow a race in person and a road course is the hardest because you can’t see the entire course. The led displays did help tremendously though. You also couldn’t miss Simon Pagenaud’s car in the bright Menards colors. A couple cars went off in the grass near us and that helped keep Matthew’s attention for the first half of the race. Zach promptly covered up with blankets and didn’t really watch.
As the race neared the final laps I really began to get cold. There were some good battles and Connor Daly led for a bit but it was Simon Pagenaud that took the checkered flag. That is the third race in a row that Pagenaud has won. It will be interesting to see what he does at the 500.
We packed up our things. Thanked Mark again for letting us join his group and made our way to the garage overlook one last time. It was cold and garage doors were down so we walked to our car and made dinner plans. Since we missed the activities on Main Street Friday night we decided to head that way to have dinner. We ended up at the 1911 Grill. We all enjoyed our meal and after we checked out the karting facility. Next trip we will try the karts but this time we just watched. When we left I drove the length of Main Street to see the new entrance to the Speedway and then once again down main street to leave the area. As we neared the 1911 Grill a man and woman were crossing in the cross walk in front of us. As I watched the gentleman walk with a slight limp I realized it was A. J. Foyt and his wife. I will regret for the rest of my life that I didn’t put the car in park and jump out to meet him. I know that would have made me look like a crazy fan but you don’t get many opportunities like that and I let it slip away. We circled around the block but by then they were in their car. I’ve met many drivers but A. J. is the driver I want to meet most. Fingers crossed I get an opportunity at Road America.
We returned to our hotel and went to the pool. The hot tub felt amazing after a long cold day. The race might be over but we still had one more day to our trip and a visit to the IMS museum and Cars and Coffee car show were still on our agenda.