I’m sitting here at Road America and am yelling at myself for not writing my post about the Indy 500. I’ve had two weeks but failed to get my post done as I tried to “recover” from my two plus weeks away from home.
For those who know me- I went to bed the night before the 500 seriously wishing I was at home and could be watching on TV. Last year I was called out on social media for not being a true fan because I had only attended the Indianapolis 500 twice in my 50 years of life. Hey everyone has different traditions, for me I’ve been watching from home from 1985-2015. I attended my first 500 in 2015 and my second in 2019. 2022 marked my third 500. This time was different though and I spent 17 nights in Indy. I had an amazing couple of weeks but as I went to bed before the 500 I was wishing I was at home doing my usual routine and enjoying the 500 the way I was accustomed to- from home.
When I woke up in the morning that was not my thought. My mind was on what I needed to pack and get done before we left. That was helpful for not making me feel nostalgic for my regular routine.
We left Lisa’s around 9:30 but traffic was worse than 2015 and we arrived our parking spot later than I wanted. We had planned to hang out and have a drink/tailgate but I felt the need to get to our seats so we headed out as soon as we arrived. We parked outside the North 40 and were sitting in G stand so we had a walk. In 2019 we enjoyed time in the pagoda plaza before the race and we probably had time to do that this year but I felt the need to get to our seats so we walked around on the outside of the track to get to turn two. We had learned in 2019 how awesome the $10 chair back seats were so were purchased those as we neared our seats. The G stand was about half full as we arrived but of course someone was seated right next to our seats and had positioned his seat half way onto ours. I rolled my eyes but fortunately he was awesome and immediately asked if we needed more room and we quickly became friends. In 2019 the G stand had some extra room but there were very few open seats in 2022. Josh was a great seat mate. He might have enjoyed his beverages too much and needed a quick nap mid race but that was just fine. 😂
The weather was about perfect. The sun was warm and the stands were crowded but there was a breeze that kept you from getting way to warm. The prerace ceremony was a highlight as always and reminded me of why it’s also important to attend in person. The tears flowed when they recognized all the military personnel at the track that day. So proud to say my son serves in the Air National Guard. Tears continued during Back Home Again. Then we experienced a surprise. The balloon launch had been cancelled the last few years but some fans in turn two took it upon themselves to do their own balloon launch. There were perhaps 100 balloons. Not so many that it had a huge grand effect but enough to be significant. I heard on Twitter it was enough to concern the Thunderbirds as they did their second flyover. Thankfully it did not cause any problems. I loved it and would like to know more details about how it was set up. I’m guessing next year security will be looking for anything glass and helium tanks.
The race was a blur because even with a scanner it’s hard to keep track of all the action. I’m still only about halfway through watching the TV coverage. In the end it was Marcus Ericsson that took the twin checkers and drank the milk. Unfortunately, he also dumped the milk on his head. One of these days that tradition will go away when someone finally learns it’s not worth it to smell like sour milk for the rest of the day.
After the race we walked to the infield and discussed the race, reminisced about past years and just as we were talking about James Hinchcliffe we ran into him. We were able to say hello and grab a picture.
We then walked a bit out of our way to visit our friends and enjoyed a dinner they provided. That was a sweet bonus.
We attempted to watch the race that evening but exhaustion set in and we never finished it. We packed up Monday morning and made the drive back to the Chicago burbs. It was a great trip and I still hope to get a post or two out about my other adventures but this is Road America weekend and it’s time to focus on the race this weekend.