This trip to Road America has us in town and at track for four days in a row. I know that is a lot to ask of the boys so we took our time in the morning and arrived around 12:30. We missed the first practice but would have plenty of time before the second practice. We strolled through the paddock before going to the Paddock Store for the book signing of Josef, The Indy Car Driver. The author, Chris Workman, was appreciative of the piece I wrote promoting the work and offered to give me a book. That made my day. I just write about things that mean something to me. I wrote about the book because I love that kids can become fans of IndyCar after reading it, the same way I became a fan after reading AJ Foyt’s biography. The gift is extra special to me. Both Chris and Josef signed it and I will treasure it.
After the book signing we grabbed a bite to eat at the car and then went to the paddock to see if we could find some drivers. As we passed AJ Foyt’s area I looked in as I always do and way in the back was AJ, sitting with some others talking. I stood looking in but it was obvious AJ wouldn’t be moving any time soon. However, you could walk to the opposite side of the tent which had a opening the size of a door and that is what I did. I had my book with me. I stood at the doorway not wanting to bother AJ and yet I desperately wanted to get his attention. I was patient and eventually he looked my way. I held up the book and a pen. AJ waved me in. That was all it took for me to start crying. I asked him to please sign my book explaining that I became a fan after reading the book. I told him I’ve watched every race since 1985 but didn’t get a chance to say that I was at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway the day he retired. I showed him the picture of the boys and I with Larry. He seemed touched to hear how big of a fan I was and was put his hand on my shoulder and thanked me for sharing. He was also kind enough to take a picture with me. I thanked him and left and was pretty emotional as I left. I’ve waited years to get a chance to meet him. The only thing that would have made it better would have been if I could share that moment with my dad. I returned to where the boys were sitting and they couldn’t believe I met him and then laughed because of course I was crying.
Still feeling super excited over my encounter I looked up and saw George Phillips (Oilpressure.com) and went to say hi and share my experience. I was still a bit worked up but I’m sure George understood, he is a big fan of AJ too. We talked a bit and I met the winner of George’s annual trivia contest. I love attempting the contest but I never come close to winning.
The boys and I then went to find seats for the IndyCar practice session. We ended up in turn 8. The boys found a small bit of shade and watched some of the practice before turning their phones on.
After the practice session we caught one of the free shuttles which made the boys happy and went to the paddock area to look for drivers. We saw Rick Mears, Alexander Rossi, Graham Rahal, Marco Andretti, Ed Carpenter, Dale Coyne and Sebastian Bourdais. Zach’s autograph hat is filling up. The boys were playing on the rock again while I met some new friends and they said that when Poppy and Tilly Dixon rode by they waved to the boys. They had been playing with the girls the day before.
We ended the day with a quick meal at Culvers and then swimming in the pool. We are all having a great time and love that we still have two days at the track.