2019 IndyCar Season

Guess it’s time to brush the dust off my blog. The IndyCar off-season seems so long and then suddenly it’s over and we are ready to go racing. I won’t be able to cover all I missed during the off season but thought I throw out a couple thoughts as we prepare for the 2019 season.

Let’s start with the fun news! I’m going to the Indianapolis 500 this May. Zach and I surprised Randy with tickets at Christmas. The tickets arrived today. While Zach and I attended the 99th running of the 500, we did not have the pleasure of receiving a blue envelope in the mail. This year I ordered our tickets so I have the privilege of opening the mail box and finding a beautiful blue envelope. Wow! That’s more fun than seeing the first flowers of Spring. The not so fun part is that due to snow days, Friday, May 24th has become our last day of school. Not sure I can pull Zach out on his last day. We might not make Carb Day. We will have to see what his schedule looks like as it gets closer.

Other fun news is that Robert Wickens will be attending the St Petersburg race. While I kinda expected this it still makes my heart so happy to see his improvements and positive attitude. Obviously I’m not a doctor and don’t really know the extent of his injuries but if attitude is any indication Robert will be in a car again. If you aren’t following Robbie on social media you need to start. He is amazing and such an inspiration.

So what are some thoughts on the upcoming season?

Sébastien Bourdais has won the St Pete race the last two years. I’m not really expecting a third win but I do expect a win during the season.

I’m expecting the Andretti team to be on fire. Rossi will be in the championship battle. Ryan Hunter-Reay will have a win and Zach Veach will get a win too. I’m a huge Marco fan. I’d love to see him back in victory circle. I honestly believe he has talent. He is who I want to win the Indy 500. Marco just needs to get out of his head. I’m happy for Conor to have the 500 ride but at the end of the day I’m a huge Stefan Wilson fan and I wanted him in that car.

So speaking of Stefan Wilson- Pippa Mann will be driving the Driven2SaveLives car for Clausen-Marshall Racing. While I’m glad Pippa has a chance to attempt the 500 again I don’t understand their choice for a driver. Pippa failed to qualifylast year and usually is in the back of the pack. While she was teammates with Bryan Clausen I don’t see how she really becomes a spokesperson for Driven 2 Save Lives. Stefan on the other hand, qualified well for the 500 last year, led laps and is an amazing spokesperson for organ donation. He has such a personal story to tell and I think that would go a lot farther to reach others to donate than anything else. At the end of the day I just think Stefan is a better driver and I would prefer to see him in the car. While I appreciate Pippa I don’t see her going anywhere and imagine she will finish in the back of the pack if she is able to qualify.

So what about Harding Steinbrenner Racing? Sadly, they weren’t able to get enough sponsors for two cars and Pato O’Ward was released from his contract. Colton Herta will be the sole driver. Both drivers show great potential so while there may be factors that led to Colton over Pato no one can really say one is more deserving than the other. The hard part is this late in the season it will be tricky for Pato to put something together. Andretti offered him a multiple race deal which was turned down. I don’t understand that at all. I’d take part time with one of the big three teams over full time with a smaller team almost any day.

Last thought- Personally, I could care less that Fernando Alonso will be racing in the 500 again this year. I know it’s good for the sport but frankly I don’t care. Just one less spot for the drivers I do care about.

This season I plan to attend the GP of Indy, Indianapolis 500, Road America and Gateway. Small chance I also sneak in Iowa. Hope to see you at a race soon. Check back often. Now that it’s officially IndyCar season I will be posting regularly. Thanks for reading.

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What We Learned During the Rain Delay

I was so excited for a rain race and we had a short one but it was raining too hard for the race to continue. Of course this is disappointing but it is also a great time to learn more about how awesome the Verizon IndyCar drivers really are. So let’s go over what we learned during today’s rain delay.

10- Twitter friends are the best. There is more time to look up and send tweets when the race is under red flag. I so enjoy the chance to talk with my IndyCar friends. You guys make racing even more fun.

9- Paul Tracy is still the man. He couldn’t understand why a yellow was called (some drivers felt the same way). He was ready for them to go green and keep Racing. He might be getting older but his heart is still that of a true racer.

8-Tony Kanaan is willing to call PT on that and offered him to take his car for a spin and see how he feels after a few laps. I love the way the drivers call each other out. Put on the suit PT and give it a go and we will see if you still feel the same.

7- We now know what Jordan King looks like. When we are under a rain delay there is plenty of time to interview everyone. Kevin Lee interviewed Jordan King and now I will be able to spot him at a race. Thanks Kevin! (This picture is not from today’s interview but from Jordan’s twitter page)

6- I never get tired of having drivers or teams tweet me back. A J Foyt Racing responded to a tweet I sent to my friend Lisa when I said I’d love to see TK win the 500 for AJ Foyt Racing. How cool are IndyCar teams. Love how fan friendly our sport is.

5- Marco is a new man this season. We’ve been seeing better results but we actually saw him with a genuine smile during an interview. He is feeling much better about himself and because of that we are seeing more of his true potential. I’m excited to see how this season goes for him.

4- Racing in the sand is similar to racing in rain. Ed Jones raced in Dubai and while he isn’t familiar with rain conditions there the sand prepared him for the rain as it created slippery race conditions and poor visibility. Who knew?

3- Apparently there are other sports that IndyCar and some of the IndyCar drivers even follow those sports (can you tell I don’t). Josef Newgarden challenged James Hinchcliffe that his hockey team would beat the Canadian hockey team. The loser has to bake a cake for the winner and deliver it during an autograph session. NBCSN better have the cameras ready when that happens. I want to see that cake.

2- Oriol Servia is as awesome as ever. He will be attempting to qualify for the 102nd Indy 500 and I have no doubt he will make the field but until then he is driving the pace car for the IndyCar Series. Thanks to rain delays we had a chance to watch an interview with him and once again we are reminded of how fun the drivers (past and present) are. I miss having him drive full time but am so thankful he will run the 500 and live that he drives the pace car. Servia believes the safe decision was to red flag the race.

1- If you watched today’s coverage you already know the BEST AND MOST FUN THING we learned. JAMES HINCHCLIFFE JOINED AN ELITE CLUB! For a couple years James has stated that drivers occasionally need to relieve themselves while in the race car. While this might sound disgusting it’s actually encouraged by their doctors. Their bladders can be badly damaged if they crash with a full bladder. So while no driver wants to pee themselves it is sometimes necessary. I imagine that many felt the need as it was a cold rainy day and they weren’t sweating. The water needs to go somewhere. Hinch admitted that he was begging for a chance to get out of the car during the first red. They went yellow for a brief period before returning to red flag conditions and drivers were released from their cars. Sadly, it was too late for Hinch who relieved himself under the yellow. I laughed out loud as he told his story but also completely understand. I’m always the first on a road trip to beg for a pit stop. It’s no fun needing to go and not being able. Hinch has said for years he would most likely join the ranks of Dario Franchitti and Will Power and today he did. Thank you Hinch for you honesty and fun story telling abilities. We will remember this red flag race for years because of you. Watch his interview with Kevin Lee here. I promise you will enjoy it.

So while we would all prefer a full race with no delays, it’s always interesting when we have a rain delay and get to learn more about the IndyCar drivers. Tune in tomorrow for the conclusion of the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama. It should be interesting.

Milwaukee IndyFest 2015– Day One

So things are a bit different at Indyfest this year and there won’t be any track activity until late Saturday. Both qualifying and the race will happen on Sunday. The boys and I still decided to begin our weekend on Friday though so we could attend some driver appearances. Having attended some last year (and had a blast) I knew it would be a great chance for a little time to actually get a chance to talk with the drivers. So our first stop was a grocery store to see Ryan Hunter-Reay.

The Sendik’s Food Mart in Greenfield was were Ryan Hunter-Reay would be. We showed up and there was no signage announcing him. We even had to ask where to find him (or if it was even the right store). The woman directed us to where she thought he was– Really– How could you not know? Anyway, we walked over and saw Ryan. No line, hardly anyone milling around, perfect, we wouldn’t be rushed at all while we talked with him a bit. Wow! I couldn’t have been more wrong. I’ve never been disappointed when meeting a driver until today. We said hello- calling Ryan by name. He asked the boys names and signed his autograph for both of them. I pulled out my ticket from this years Indy 500 for him to sign. I said something about it being kinda beat up. He didn’t say a thing. Ok I get it, he’s probably signed a million of the tickets but I thought he might at least acknowledge that we had went. He did ask the boys if they were going to the race this weekend. We responded yes and that we would be there both Saturday and Sunday. Again- good time to acknowledge that we were big time fans that really care, but no comment at all. I asked if Ryan knew what would happen if it rained. The sweet girl working said it would not rain (being optimistic). We actually talked more with her than Ryan. Ryan then made it visibly clear that we were done and I said we were looking forward to the race and it was good to meet him and we were done.

Perhaps I’m spoiled but that was so disappointing for me. I’m used to the drivers taking time and asking questions back and realizing I’m more than just an autograph hound. He truly seemed to not care. Oh and did I mention there was no one else there. No one was behind him waited to see him. We left the store feeling disappointed.

We were now on our way to the David Hobbes Honda Dealer to see Marco Andretti, Jack Hawksworth and of course David Hobbes. We drove to the dealer and arrived just at 4:00 when it started. There was a decent line to get Marco’s autograph. We waited and enjoyed talking with those around us. Marco was awesome. He was very polite and took a couple minutes to talk with us and even take a picture (not everyone was taking pictures and there were people waiting behind us). Since Marco doesn’t have a reputation for being the most talkative in the paddock I was kinda worried after our experience with Ryan but it was the complete opposite. We were thrilled. We then had to wait until David came out and then eventually Jack Hawksworth arrived. We got both their autographs. We told Jack we were huge A.J. Fans and thanked David for always hosting this event. David responded that he hoped it would continue (us too). Wow! What a difference from the session with Ryan. The boys even commented on the difference and how much nicer Marco and Jack were. Guess it wasn’t just me.

After we drove to our hotel and enjoyed a swim.

As I reflected on our day I had some thoughts.
-I was never a huge RHR fan. I thought that might change after meeting him but it didn’t.
-RHR might have been having a horrible day, I have no clue. Perhaps that is just his nature. I’m not holding anything against him but I had hoped meeting him would have been more fun.
-Marco, on the other hand, went up a couple points in my book. I’ve always been a fan but having a nice meet and greet made it even better.
-I told Marco that last year I met Josef Newgarden at the dealership and told Josef that it was just a matter of time till he got his first win and that Marco’s next win would also come shortly.
-Jack Hawksworth and David Hobbes were both great. Loved that they took time to talk with us.
-My boys are getting bigger and these trips are so precious. I’m so thankful to be able to share this with them.

Check back soon for more on our race weekend at the Milwaukee Mile.

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