Rookie of the Year!

I had thought my next post would be telling of all the fun we had attending the Indianapolis 500 and I hope to get that post out soon but since then a new development happened and I can’t get it off my mind- Jimmie Johnson won Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year.

This is not a surprise. We all saw it coming. We’ve seen it before when Fernando Alonso won ROY. Yet it still infuriates me. I’m frustrated with the rules, the people that voted for him and with Jimmie and Chip Ganassi Racing for accepting the award.

It is not a surprise to anyone that regularly reads my blog that I am not a NASCAR fan. Jimmie Johnson made the move to IndyCar in 2021 but only drove the ovals. After his first year he decided to add the ovals to his schedule in 2022, including the Indy 500. Jimmie has embraced IndyCar and I have enjoyed watching him. I understand he is a huge star and therefore gets more attention than other drivers. I’d prefer it not be that way but it’s fine. The same could be said of Romain Grosjean. However, Jimmie Johnson was awarded the Rookie of the Year award last night at the awards banquet and I am not okay with that.

I’ve read many posts with people arguing both ways, some for, some against Jimmie being given this honor. Even Wikipedia explains that the term Rookie of the Year can be confusing because it may be awarded to someone with many years of racing and championships won but as long as this is the first Indianapolis 500 they are considered a Rookie. So even with all that in mind here is why I’m not happy about it.

Jimmie Johnson was not the rookie that qualified best. That honor goes to Romain Grosjean. David Malukas started in position 13, just one behind Johnson.

Jimmie Johnson was not the highest finishing rookie in the race. Not only that but Devlin DeFrancesco, Christian Lundgaard, Kyle Kirkwood and David Malukas all finished higher.

Jimmie Johnson crashed during the race. He crashed! Anyone who watches racing knows that often drivers are caught up in an accident that is not their fault. Fortunately, every crash in this years 500 was single car incident and did not take anyone else out. Jimmie crashed all on his own and he made the mistake himself. We’ve seen this nearly every race he has been in. Jimmie crashed. How can you be the ROY if you crashed? Ridiculous!

From the time I started writing this until the time I published it I watched some of the awards ceremony. It does appear that Johnson was not aware he would be receiving the Rookie of the year award until it was presented to him so my next argument isn’t as strong but Jimmie should have turned it down. He knows he is not a true rookie. He has performed under pressure at both the Daytona 500 and the Brickyard 400 as well as any other track where points were on the line for his NASCAR championships. He is a veteran in so many ways. David Malukas is a young kid, 20 years old, completely overwhelmed by the pomp and circumstance of the Indy 500, blown away by the size of the crowd and feeling the pressure of so many eyes on him. Jimmie should have turned down the award so it could be given to David Malukas. Chip Ganassi should have done the same. At the end of the day Johnson will not have a single thing change in his life because he won this honor. Had Malukas won and been able to put on his resume that he was the Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year some teams and sponsors might take a second look. The prize money would go a long way and the confidence boost would be huge. For Jimmie the money means nothing, the title won’t give him more screen time because he already dominates there and sponsors are all ready lined up. His career is set and doesn’t need a boost. David Malukas was completely robbed and it’s a shame that those who vote for this are so blinded to what the award could really mean to a true rookie.

I’m not really one to complain about IndyCar but this is one area they got wrong and David Malukas should be rookie of the year. In my book he is. I hope future drivers that are truly veterans will see the problem here and pull themselves from competing for the title and realize the honor should go to a true Rookie.

Having said all this, I do appreciate how Johnson has embraced IndyCar and the new eyes he has brought to our racing series. I hope it makes other veteran drivers from NASCAR and F1 want to do a crossover but let them compete for a crossover award and not a rookie award.

Pole Day and the Burger Bash

The Sunday before the race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway had been bump day for many years. Recently, in an effort to make the two day qualifying more exciting or when there may or may not be bumping, Pole Day has been moved to Sunday. The last few years saw some bumping on Saturday and then every car would once again go out on Sunday. The previous times would be erased and the drivers would set a new time and determine their place in the field. The slower 24 cars would go out first, in inverted order for one shot to improve their position. After the fast 9 would be given one more shot to make the Pole. The risk was fairly equal for all drivers.

This year the format was again changed and the fast 9 became the fast 12. Position 13-33 would be determined solely on Saturday and because of weather we only saw two cars for out for a second attempt. Sadly, Stefan Wilson did not have his car ready due to an engine change. Stefan qualified 33rd.

The fast 12 went out to determine the fast 6. Then the fast six were given one last shot to win the pole. Rinus VeeKay had the fastest time on Saturday and traditionally would have been the Pole winner. Under the new rules, Scott Dixon was able to beat VeeKay’s time and won the Pole. Scott Dixon also had the fastest time ever for a Pole position at a speed of 234.046. Alex Palou is second and Rinus VeeKay is third.

While the format was exciting and seeing some of the fastest speeds we’ve seen in years helped add to the excitement, I’m not sure this is the best format. To gain that top step you have to give everything you have, every driver will tell you it is one of the hardest things they do in racing. Asking them to go out again and again adds a lot more pressure. The pressure should be on those in the back of the field trying to make it in or improving their position. I know there isn’t a perfect answer and I’m sure the format will continue to be tweaked each year but I guess I’m old school and would prefer Pole Day be on Saturday. Until we have several drivers trying to bump their way in that won’t happen.

Since, the qualifying didn’t start until 2:00 and since I’d been at the track everyday of the week we chose to arrive before qualifying and skip the morning practice. I attended church with Lisa, we grabbed a coffee at the Spark in Speedway and then we prepared to go to the track.

We walked through the garage area first and then made our way to seats along the front stretch but near turn one. We had a great view of the cars as the waited for turn as well as the track. We all had our favorites among the top 12 and 6. Scott Dixon was not anyone’s favorite but we all cheered for him as he set the new pole record and did was Scott Dixon, the Iceman, always does. This was his second Pole in a row and his fifth overall. Rick Mears holds the record at 6 Poles.

We stayed in our seats and celebrated before exiting the Speedway. On our way out we decided to accept a ride from a pedicab. I was telling Randy about the Rickshaw races at the Milwaukee Mile and how great Big Steve was and our driver said that he came in fourth in that race. He also said that Big Steve was diagnosed with brain cancer shortly after that and lost the battle about 15 months later. He had a mini license plate that read #BigSteveStrong.

Randy and I then met his sister and brother-in-law for dinner at Big Woods. I had only met them once before, many years ago at a reunion. It was a fun night catching up.

Mark, Randy and Jenny

Burger Bash

Monday afternoon there was a two hour practice that we attended. The weather was beautiful but warm in the sun. We watched a bit, walked to the museum, ran into Simon Pagenaud and his sweet pup, Norman, saw Conor Daly’s hot tub and did a final pass through the garage. Monday concluded a streak of 7 consecutive days at the track for me and I was feeling it. I was tired. However, we still had one more think to do that night- attend the Burger Bash.

For many years I have been so disappointed that I was never able to attend Curt Cavin and Kevin Lee’s Carb Night Burger Bash. Then a couple years ago they were too busy to have it. Of course it did not happen in 2020 and was also not done in 2021. This year they brought it back but changed a few things. The first change was the day. It was now held on the last practice day- Monday. The location was also great, the USAC Headquarters parking lot right off the roundabout in Speedway. It was high on my list to be in attendance no matter how tired I was.

We arrived right at 6:00 but didn’t bring our chairs in so I ran back to the car to get them while Randy enjoyed a burger. Our chairs were low beach chairs but we found a place where we could still see all that was going on. Kevin was interviewing some of the doctors that work for the IU Melvin and Bren Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center, including Dr. Hanna and Dr. Lee. When Dr. Nasser Hanna left the stage he walked past where I was sitting and tapped my shoulder saying hello and nice to see me. I thought that was kind but just thought he was trying to greet and thank the people that were attending. I smiled and greeted him back. However, when he returned and told me he should probably introduce himself because while he knew me I probably didn’t know him. He then made my jaw drop by telling me he reads my blog. I believe my response was one of total shock asking if he truly did read it. He said he had been reading for years and have watch my boys grow up through my blog. Wow! That made my day! Later that night we talked again and took a picture together by Jackson Lee’s car. Dr. Hanna (Nasser) then told me he had seen me before at races but hadn’t wanted to be that “crazy” person that said hello (not sure if crazy was his word or mine) and I laughed and said I am always that crazy person stopping people I only know from social media or bloggers. He then asked if I knew George Phillips. I laughed and said of course, George is the real deal in the blogging world posting three times a week. It was so nice meeting Nasser and I look forward to seeing him at more races in the future.

Longtime reader- Dr. Nasser Hanna

During the radio portion of the Burger Bash several drivers showed up but I was happiest to see Stefan Wilson. I have a picture in my head of Justin at the Burger Bash drinking a shake and talking with Curt and Kevin. It was great seeing Stefan in that role- minus the shake. Marcus Ericsson, James Hinchcliffe, Kyle Kirkwood, Rinus VeeKay, Dalton Kellett and several drivers in the ladder series were all in attendance. I would have loved to grab a picture with a few of the drivers I hadn’t yet seen this month I chose to just enjoy the show. I also would have loved a chance to say hello to Curt and Kevin but wasn’t able to say hello. Hopefully, I will still get a chance to say hello before the month is over.

I am staying in Indy this week and enjoying some other activities around town. I should have another post up in a day or two detailing all the off track fun I’m having this week. Thanks for reading and a big thank you to Nasser Hanna for being a longtime reader and taking the time to say hello, it meant a lot to me.

Fast Friday and Day One Qualifying

Fast Friday was both fast and slow. We saw some great speeds on track, some of the fastest we’ve seen in years. We also saw very few cars on track. The winds made it quite tricky to run full throttle and no one wanted to run the risk of damaging their car. We didn’t see the cars all running together the way we would like but did see some impressive speeds when they did go out.

My cousin, Randy, joined me for the qualifying weekend and we enjoyed Fast Friday from Turn One and made sure we spent some time in the garage area as well.

The wind beat us up but kept us from getting too hot so it was hard to complain. In the garage area we were in the right place at the right time to get a great picture with Jimmie Johnson. He was very kind but also eager to take the picture quickly and duck into the garage before the crowds showed up. Randy was able to get a great picture with him.

Jimmie Johnson

After practice ended we stayed for the qualifying draw. This is something I’ve always wanted to be at the Speedway for. Especially, in the last couple years. NBC/Peacock does a lot right but having someone interviewing the teams/drivers and also have Allen Bestwick running the draw is too much going on. Anyone that tunes in for the qualifying draw is not looking for entertainment we don’t need additional interviews or segments. Just let us watch what is going on on the stage.

We enjoyed being able to watch live and see exactly what we wanted to experience. We had a blast. After we went to Dawson’s on Main and enjoyed an amazing meal there. I ordered the tenderloin. Calamari steak made a great appetizer.

Qualifying Day One

The threat of rain was there all night and morning but miraculously it held off and qualifying started at the new appointed time. They moved it up an hour because of the threat of rain in the afternoon. Qualifying went off without any major drama. Juan Pablo Montoya failed inspection and had to go to the end of the line. Stefan Wilson needed an engine change and unfortunately was not able to get it done before the rains came in the afternoon. Stefan will be starting in the 33rd position. He had placed higher in Friday’s practice so I was hopeful he would start closer to 25. We had a chance to meet Don Cusick in the garages. He was enjoying talking with us as much as we enjoyed talking to him. He took a picture with me and even took a picture of my photo on my lock screen. He has a ton of faith in Stefan and is very excited to grow this team. Can’t wait to see what the next couple years bring. Go Stefan! He is definitely the one I will be cheering for the most next Sunday.

Don Cusick

Rain came in the afternoon and just when cars got back out on track lightning and then rain came to end the day. Disappointing for those hoping to break into the top 12 and as stated extremely disappointing for Stefan not getting a chance to qualify.

Rinus Veekay ran fastest and hopefully can hold on to that position. It was a fun day and can’t wait to see how it all plays out on Sunday.

Ten Years

Ten years ago today we met Justin Wilson. Long time readers of my blog know the story but I never tire of telling it.

Matthew and Zachary were members of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Kids Club. They had an event on the Sunday afternoon of qualifying weekend. It must have been a bump day at the time. You could get face paintings, race lego cars and other silly kid stuff. They also had a few drivers there signing autographs and taking pictures.

Before we left I tweeted Justin Wilson, Tony Kanaan and James Hinchcliffe saying we hoped to see them there. Almost immediately Justin sent me a message asking when and where. I responded and the boys and I left for the Speedway.

Upon arriving at the event we saw some drivers from various ladder series. John Andretti was also there. It was great meeting him and we talked for several minutes. I sent out another tweet saying we hope to see Justin and again he almost immediately responded- Well I’m Here.

One of the best parts about this story was the poor woman running the event. She had no idea Justin would be showing up and she ran to get everything in place for him to meet the kids. We were of course first in line. I will never forget that Justin took the time to respond to my tweet and then show up at the event. He made my kids, and me, so happy that day and proved that IndyCar drivers are the best with fan interactions.

We still miss Justin terribly but are so thankful for sweet memories like this one. We are also thrilled that Justin’s younger brother Stefan is once again in the 500 field. He is just as sweet and kind and his brother. Can’t wait to cheer for him in the 106th running of the Indianapolis 500.

Tears All Day Long

It has not been a sad day but a day of reminiscing and I have found myself tearing up all day.

Today is my last day at the track by myself. Tomorrow Lisa and Randy will both be here to join me watching the cars on track. Today I get one last opportunity to experience the Speedway by myself. As I entered the track I sat by a young boy, maybe 4, with his dad and grandpa. Oh how I wish my boys could have been here with my dad. Or maybe I wish I could have been her with my dad and my sons. To have three generations enjoying time at the track together. As I said before I can’t enter the gates without thinking of my dad but as I’ve entered the gates the last few days without my sons I’m feeling a tug towards them also. Thankfully, my boys will join me for the 500. It was just a sweet thing to see this family enjoying the day together.

I made my way to the infield and walked through the garage area. I then found a seat in the tower terrace. I enjoyed the action from there for about half and hour and then crossed to the outside and found seats very close to where dad and I sat on our first trip. I wish I knew our exact seats. I remember that we parked in someone’s yard. We brought in a cooler with bologna for lunch. Don’t remember if dad had some beers or not. We had bought a newspaper and dad was recording the qualifying times on it. Robby Gordon crashed and we watched A J Foyt announce his retirement and take his last laps on the track. The whole reason we were there was AJ so it was bittersweet. I saw AJ on track at Indy- and then it was his last day on track at Indy. I sat and remembered my memories with my dad and was grateful for my sunglasses which hid the tears that wanted to fall.

Since that trip with dad I have explored the Indianapolis Motor Speedway more and I knew that I preferred the penthouse seats in turn one so I moved that way for the rest of qualifying. Of course up there I ran into a sweet family with two young boys. The boys were a bit bored and were running up and down the row. They were not misbehaving just being boys. I watched and missed my boys. I would keep Matthew and Zachary busy by having them make checkered flag necklaces. They would then pass out the necklaces to those sitting near. It was never our intent to make money from the necklaces but the people that were gifted them often gave the boys a couple bucks. We made enough to cover our admission fees and buy a treat or two. Those were precious days. I walked over to the young family and said what so many had said to me when my sons were young- enjoy these days, they go so fast. And of course being me I teared up as I talked to them. Lol! So many drivers and owners in the IndyCar series remember me when I say I was the one that cried when I met you last year. I continued watching the young family as cars ran on track. It was a good afternoon.

Towards the end of the day I made my way to the garage so I could enter before they closed the gate. I was able to meet Josef Newgarden and Will Power. I purchased a program and of course it started raining. I made sure it was wrapped up and made my way to my car. The rain was light so it was a pleasant walk and I appreciated the sweet day I had just experienced.

Friday I will be at the track with friends and I can’t wait for that but I was also grateful for a chance to just soak up all the speedway has to offer with no interruptions and time to reminisce, remembering old times and also making new memories. Over a week to keep building on my experiences at IMS. This is a great week!

Very close to where dad and I sat on our first trip.

Day Two-Rainy Day

I knew I would still go to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway even in the rain but the question was when. I should have gone early and walked through the garage area. I was fairly certain there would be no track activity so it was just when I thought I’d encounter the least amount of rain and see the most drivers. My friend Mike sent me a message saying to get over to AJ’s garage as he was taking pictures with fans but I was still at home at that time. At noon the rain was light but it was coming so I ran some errands instead hoping the rain would lighten up around 2:00.

The rain stayed fairly light and I guess I should have gone to the Speedway earlier but the radar still looked fair so I went over around 2:00. I knew it would still be a cool, drizzly day but any day at IMS is a good day so I headed out.

Fans of IndyCar are not fair weather fans. The infield parking was full and I had to park in the North 40. That surprised me a bit. The rain was light though so I skipped the poncho and just used my umbrella. I walked in and made my way to the garages.

I would have love to stop in some of the shops but didn’t want to damage anything I bought in the rain so I will plan that for a different day. I went into the garage area and saw Pato O’Ward. He was jogging towards his golf cart and I’m not the biggest Pato fan so I didn’t stop him. I figured d make my way up through the garages and then return home. I wasn’t going to stay out all day in the rain. A trip through the garages proved uneventful but I decided to make one more pass, hoping to see Stefan Wilson. I peeked in his garage but didn’t see him. I continued on my way and Stefan drove right by in his golf cart. Perfect timing. I said hello and asked if I could get a picture. He said yes and pulled his cart over and stepped out. I grabbed the selfie and he said we should take a second one that showed his fire suit. We talked for a bit. Me telling him how excited I was this ride came together and especially happy that AJ Foyt Racing was a part of it. Stefan commented how amazing it was having so many work together and how today’s rain day was okay for his crew as they could work on the car. I showed him my Lock Screen on my phone which is a picture of Justin and Matthew and he remembered seeing it before. I reluctantly let him go as it was raining and even though I’d love nothing more than to continue talking I don’t want to take up all his time. I thanked him again for stopping and chatting and wished him well in the race.

I walked away with a smile on my face. The rain picked up and continued to come down even harder as I walked back to my car but it was worth facing the rain to have that chance to talk with a Stefan Wilson. I had picked the exact right time to go.

Opening Day

When I realized I would be able to spend the second half of the month in Indianapolis I thought it would be the perfect time to apply for my media credentials. My blog does not receive as much traffic as others but I also offer an different perspective so I was hopeful. I made inquiries and before I could even apply I was was shot down. After talking with some fellow bloggers it appears that possibly they weren’t opening it up to bloggers that had not been previously credentialed. Regardless of the reason it wasn’t a huge shock, like I said mine is just a hobby. I’m not looking to build it into anything. Now that I’m at the Speedway, sitting high in Penthouse B I can’t think of any other place I’d rather be blogging from. (Saturday during the race in the rain I might have preferred the media center 😉)

Today, Tuesday, is an absolutely gorgeous day. The best way to kick off practice for the Indianapolis 500. I enjoyed the morning practice from the Tower Terrace seats. I met up with fellow blogger, Mike Silver, and we watched the practice.

Once practice was over I walked through the garage area. My main goal is always to find AJ Foyt. I did not see him but did find some of the drivers from his team. Grabbed a quick selfie with Dalton Kellett and Kyle Kirkwood. Saw some other drivers and eventually made my way to the penthouse seats by turn one for the rookie orientation.

Stefan Wilson was the only driver that needed the refresher as the other rookies had done their rookie orientation at a test day previous to this weekend. If I had to guess it was a bit intimidating for Stefan to be the only one on track and knowing all eyes were one him. He finished his refresher without incident and took advantage at the end to get a couple more laps in before the whole field was let loose.

At 3:00 all cars could practice. I’m going to need this week to learn all the liveries. Everyone’s car has been tweaked just a bit with sponsors for the 500. I can’t look at the 28 DHL without thinking it is Ryan Hunter-Reay and it takes me a second to remember it is Romain Grosjean. I could use a spotter guide.

The weather remained perfect for the afternoon. Near the end I made my way back to Pagoda Plaza. I had hoped to walk through the garage one more time but arrived after 6:00 and was denied entrance. On my way to the car I ran into Mike J (I know a lot of Mikes at the Speedway) and we talked about our days. Mike is also there all week.

I walked back to my car, easily getting in my 10,000 steps for the day and arrived back at my Indiana home to prepare for another day. It was a perfect way to start my week.

Keeping up Traditions

Sunday morning after the IndyCar road course race often is Mother’s Day. I take advantage of that and do all the things around Indy I want to do. Last year and now this year, Mother’s Day was the previous week so I’ve just told my boys not to worry about Mother’s Day until we get to Indy. I much rather celebrate there.

This year only Zachary could join me for the AMR Grand Prix. Matthew serves in the Air National Guard and had a drill weekend. I’ve also been afforded the luxury of staying in Indy through the 500, so Zach would fly home on Sunday night. Love the perks of being married to a pilot. However, the downside is we always fly space available. The flights for Sunday weren’t looking great so Zach and I made the decision to try the early flight on Sunday morning. Zach got the last seat available. By 6:30 am I was leaving the airport and had the whole day ahead of me, my Mother’s Day, without Zach or Matthew. As I left the airport I decided I would follow through with our regular traditions and set the GPS to Charlie Browns. We usually don’t arrive until 10 or 11 so arriving before 7 was a first for me. No line! Breakfast was delicious!

We usually go straight to the IMS museum after but it wasn’t open yet so I drove back to Lisa’s. Honestly, at this point I wasn’t sure if I would continue with our regular traditions or just hit the museum at a different time but as the morning progressed I felt the pull to stick with tradition.

I was glad I did. I just did the museum admission as I had recently done the “Kiss the Bricks” tour. I found an answer to one on my trivia contest questions, or so I thought, turned out to be wrong but I continue to learn as I stroll the museum and ask questions. After about half an hour I received a text from a friend and met him in the gift shop. We talked for about an hour and it was fun to catch up and talk IndyCar with someone who really gets it. George had to head home to Nashville and I returned to the museum. I continued exploring and working on my trivia. At one point I had four of the museum workers attempting to help me. It’s an extremely hard contest and usually they don’t know the answers but they usually know enough to give me a name to google or some background information. The trivia contest is really more of a research project. I enjoy doing it every year.

After I made my way through the museum, I went upstairs to the photo room. I found a few treasures in the $1 room and talked with Kendra about a picture I would like and then about the contest. She helped me find an answer to my trivia contest by pulling up old archived pictures. She enjoys helping every year.

As the day went one I could feel my early morning catching up with me. I had stayed at the museum much longer than I had planned and was ready to get off my feet and prepare for the full week ahead of me. I was glad I continued my traditions. I missed my boys but I know days are coming where they won’t be able to join me as college and careers keep them from attending for a few years. Hopefully I’ve instilled a love of the Speedway in them and they are eager to return and continue the traditions with me and their families. After all, isn’t that what it is all about?

Side note- I finished this post from B Penthouse, Box 20. I had inquired about media credentials but was denied. I’m thinking my “office” is way cooler than the media center. I was jealous on Saturday while I watched in the rain of my fellow bloggers in the media center but today I’m exactly where I want to be.

What a Crazy Ride!

You might thing I’m talking about the race but I’m also talking about my weekend. Seems nothing went quite as I had planned it. Nothing to dramatic for our weekend but when you are tired and rain soaked even small things seem larger.

As I’ve mentioned before I have the unique opportunity to spend over two weeks in Indianapolis, allowing me to spend every day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Trying to prepare everything at home for the family during my absence and packing all my needs was more work than I imagined. I was exhausted before the trip even started.

Zach and I left on Friday and made the drive down to Indy. We arrived shortly before qualifying and I picked up my bronze badge. We found seats up in the penthouse seats and enjoyed the breeze and shade while we waited for qualifying. Zach was rooting for Alex Palou to be on the pole and thought he got it but Will Power did what he does best and won it in the end. It was such a nice day we stayed right where we were and watched the Indy lights race. Linus Lundqvist and Christian Rasmussen came together early in the race and fell to the back but worked their way through the field and earned respectable finishes and made it very entertaining to watch.

We would usually make our way to Pagoda Plaza and the garage area after the race but decided we would just get settled in at Lisa’s and that we’d have plenty of time on Saturday to explore.

Our gracious host, Lisa, is a dear friend that we met back in 2016 at Road America. We have become close friends and she has been sweet enough to host us in Indy on several occasions. This time she has gone above and beyond and is allowing me to stay through the 500. I’m thrilled to be experiencing all Indy has to offer during the Month of May.

Race Day

The race started a bit later than previous years which was just fine with Zach, he enjoyed sleeping in. We made our way to IMS around 1:00 but as we entered everyone was headed back to their cars due to lightning in the area. We continued to the mounds and then we’re going to go to Pagoda Plaza. Zach was going to wait on the mounds. Even though my youngest son is 17, I didn’t feel I should leave him if severe weather was on its way. The radar looked like it might break up before it hit us but I’m not a weatherman. Zach and I eventually decided to go back to the car and wait it out there so we wouldn’t be soaked for the race. We enjoyed “tailgating” in the minivan with the back door open while the rain fell. We returned to our seats on the mounds just before the command to start engines. We quickly realized what we thought would be a great video screen was just the back of one for the oval. We waited for the start but switched our seats during the first yellow. Everyone always says how great the GA ticket is because you can enjoy many vantage points but the facility is so large that moving during the race means you miss out on some of the action. We worked our way to mounds at turns 7,8 and 9 where we could also see a video screen. I had also pulled up the race on Peacock and we could watch on our phone.

The rain increased and the clouds looked ominous and we questioned being so far from our car. We decided to view the race from the plaza in case the rain really picked up. It grew to a steady rain but never got scary. So we watched the large screens in the Pagoda Plaza but then didn’t actually see the cars on track. Definitely, a new way to watch at the speedway. I prefer seeing the cars on track and of course we missed some more of the action as we again switched seats. The race became very interesting as the drivers navigated the rainy road course. We learned after the race that visibility was awful and definitely something to try and fix before the next rain race. This was the first time the new areoscreens were exposed to a true rain race and the drivers said the rain just stayed on the screen and that a wiper might be needed for the future. Eventually, it was Colton Herta that saw the checkered flag and won the race. Simon Pagenaud followed in second after starting in 20th position. Very impressive drive by Simon. Will Power completed the podium.

We watched some of the victory celebration and then did a quick pass of the garage area. We were able to see Larry Foyt, Tatiana Calderon and Kyle Kirkwood. No AJ sightings that day. The rain had mostly passed but by this time we were cold and wet so heading home sounded better than watching the second half of the Lights race which had to be stopped earlier due to lightning.

Back at Lisa’s we watched The Club featuring the four four time winners. I will rewatch that. Loved hearing the storied the Speedway legends had to share. What a special piece of history to have all four of them together as we lost Al Unser in December of 2021.

Sunday and my Mother’s Day

I prefer to celebrate Mother’s Day in Indy so on years the GMR Grand Prix doesn’t fall on Mother’s Day weekend I just postpone our Mother’s Day. Matthew had a drill weekend with the Air National Guard so he couldn’t join us and Zach planned to fly home on Sunday. As always happens when you fly space available, the seats filled up quickly and flights weren’t looking good. Zach and I made the decision to try the first flight of the morning and woke up at 4:00 am to attempt to get him on a flight home. It paid off and Zach got the last seat on the plane. They pushed back and I began to leave the airport when Zach texted saying they were pulling back in for a maintenance problem. Fortunately, it was resolved in about half an hour.

Zach texted me the news as I enjoyed a delicious breakfast at Charlie Browns. I figured just because Zach couldn’t join me didn’t mean I should miss out on our traditions. It was early enough I was seated right away and Zach was nearly half way home before I finished my breakfast. So today I will continue with our usual traditions and enjoy the museum at IMS and work on trivia contest. Things might not have gone as planned but it was a great weekend. Now I have the next two weeks to enjoy all the fun and traditions Indy has to offer in May and I look forward to every minute.

These are a Few of my Favorite Things

My last post I asked what your “must do” items are during the Month of May. I look forward to hearing your ideas and hope to add some to my itinerary. Keep the ideas coming. For this post I want to share some of my favorite things to do during May. We all know the Indianapolis 500 tops that list but I’m talking about all the extras during the month.

This month May kicked off with a race at Barber Motorsports Park. I’d prefer all races in May take place at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway but since it is May 1 it’s okay to sneak this race in. The facility is absolutely gorgeous and I really hope to attend that race in person in the near future. But now that the race is over it’s time to focus on The Month of May in Indianapolis.

Some of the beginning signs that it is May are

  • Flying my Indianapolis Motor Speedway flag
  • Listening to Trackside with Curt Cavin and Kevin Lee every night (or catching up on the podcast)
  • Listening to Beyond the Bricks with Jake Query and Mike Thomsen.
  • Pulling out all my IndyCar books
  • Attending the GMR Grand Prix with my boys.
  • Breakfast (often on Mother’s Day) at Charlie Browns.
  • A glass of wine (or two) at the Foyt Vault.
  • Trivia contest put together by George Phillips at I was last years winner and hope to defend that title.
  • Listening to some archived The Talk of Gasoline Alley with Donald Davidson. It’s not May with Donald.

I find I usually run out of time for all the reading and listening I want to do. I’d also love to watch old Indy 500’s and just soak up all the history of the event that I can.

This year I will be in Indianapolis for over two weeks and should have more time to focus on my Indianapolis 500 obsession but I know I will just fill my time with more activities around town during the month of May and I will still leave wanting more. The month is going to fly by. I’m hoping I use my time wisely and plan ahead to make the most of it.

As a young girl, my mom would often make us stop at cemeteries on our family vacations to look for an ancestor. My mom has always enjoyed tracing our family history and even started a blog with old family letters (which you can find at so I was intrigued by the thought of visiting the graves of the Chevrolet brothers. I wonder which other drivers are laid to rest nearby.

A trip to Indianapolis always means a stop at Charlie Browns and the Foyt Vault but I’ve yet to try the Mug n Bun so I hope to add that this year.

My boys beg every year to try the go karts at Sarah Fishers indoor karting track. Hopefully this is the year we can squeeze that in too.

I had planned to come home for a couple days on the 23rd but learned that was the night planned for the return of the Burger Bash with Curt Cavin and Kevin Lee so I delayed my trip home by a day and now am trying to decide if I just have Matthew, Zach and Randy meet me in Indy rather than head home and drive back down with them. I’m excited to attend the Burger Bash as that has been on my list for years.

The Burger Bash does not take place on Carb Day but I will also be able to finally attend that too. While many attend Carb Day for the party atmosphere and drinking, I’m looking forward to the pit stop competition and am disappointed that the Freedom 100 is no longer on the schedule.

Yikes! Just writing this is exhausting because I know I’m just barely making a dent in all the things I hope to do this May. Please keep your suggestions coming and I hope you are all as excited about May as I am.