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.
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 Oilpressure.com 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.