Indy GP Great Event or Waste of Time?

Recently, on social media I’ve seen a lot of people complaining about the Indy GP. This will be the sixth running of the road course race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The race takes place on the Saturday of Mother’s Day weekend and has become a tradition in my family. I love attending this race with my boys.

While this race takes place at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway I fully understand that it is not the Indianapolis 500. The race itself might not be overly entertaining and we are still waiting for someone other than Simon Pagenaud or Will Power to win it but the event is one of my favorites. Let’s break it down. Why is the Indy GP such a fun weekend and why should you attend?

  • The Indy GP weekend is a great way to start the Month of May. The days of two weekends for qualifying for the Indianapolis 500 are long gone. I don’t see them returning. This allows fans to have the “Month of May”. Anytime you spend a weekend at IMS it’s a good weekend.
  • You can’t beat the price. $25 for General Admission and kids under 16 are free. This year I will need to pay for Matthew to enter and I still feel it’s an amazing deal. Parking is so easy and entering the Speedway is simple too. A bag check is done but I’ve never waited in a long line to enter. Oh and did I mention you can bring in your own food and drink, including alcoholic beverages. What facilities allow that. It makes for such an affordable, fun family day.
  • Great time to meet up with friends. The track is huge but when you aren’t fighting crowds it is easy to meet up with friends. I plan on seeing several this weekend. Many groups will have meet ups and some are spontaneous but either way it’s a great time.
  • The drivers are also so much more accessible. While there is always pressure on a race weekend it is nothing like the pressure felt at the Indianapolis 500. We’ve meet several drivers on the GP weekend. Larry Foyt even invited us in the garage to see the car up close. Some of my best blog posts have been from this weekend.
  • Outside the track lines are better too. We celebrate Mother’s Day with breakfast at Charlie Browns. We also like to make a stop at Longs bakery. I haven’t attempted either of these during a 500 weekend and don’t think I ever will. Too many people. The GP weekend draws a crowd but it is not overwhelming and we can enjoy all Speedway has to offer- 1911 Grill, Foyt Vault, Charlie Brown’s and Longs among others. Makes for an even more memorable weekend.
  • Mother’s Day tradition! My family never disappoints me on Mother’s Day. I have my day planned. Breakfast at Charlie Browns, a visit to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway museum and a stop at the sale shop at the museum. I walk in with my boys, point out several gift ideas and walk out. They purchase a gift or two for me and present them to me outside by the fountain. Honestly, the last few years they have purchased from the regular store. I have been blown away by their generosity and have some special presents I will always cherish. I can’t think of a better way to spend Mother’s Day.

So obviously I highly recommend attending the Indy GP. It does not take away from the 500 weekend but adds to the whole month of May. It’s starts the excitement and keeps building until the twin checkers fly and a new winner kisses the bricks after a grueling 500 miles. I hope I see you there.

This Is May!

May is finally here and the countdown till the Indy 500 gets real. May is a crazy busy month for me and all I want to do is focus on the 500 and IndyCar. I don’t want to worry about all the big projects the kids have for school, planning summer trips, gardening and all the other things that fill May. I just want to focus on IndyCar, specifically the Indy 500. Somehow I will find time for all the things that need to get done and I will use every spare minute to enjoy IndyCar. Here is a look at my Month of May.

  • Constant streaming of IndyCar. I might not be able to get to the Speedway much but I can listen in and enjoy the sounds of the cars.
  • Trackside will be on nightly. I usually listen via the podcast so workouts and time spent in the car are a pleasure.
  • The Talk of Gasoline Alley with Donald Davidson. This radio show follows Trackside. I love listening and learning more about the history of the Indianapolis 500.
  • Hopefully more blog posts. My goal is to keep up on my posting.
  • George Phillips Trivia Contest on his blog Oilpressure.com. This is the hardest trivia ever but I’m totally addicted. It takes up way too much of my time. I really need it to run in February when I have more free time but I do so enjoy researching and finding the answers. Last year I met Arie Luyendyk and he was stumped by the questions too so at least I’m in good company.
  • May 11-13 I will be in Indy for the road course race. Matthew, Zachary and I have not missed a race on the road course. We will spend Friday and Saturday at the track and Sunday at the museum. It’s a perfect Mother’s Day weekend for me.
  • May 19-20 I will be back in Indy for qualifying. We hope to visit the Foyt Vault on this trip.
  • May 27 This is Steve’s birthday. He could care less about the 500 so I always feel bad that I’m so absorbed in the race. Thankfully he is a pretty good sport about it. I will be watching from home as Memorial Day weekend is a busy time at our house and traveling to Indy is not an option this year. Next year we plan to attend our second Indy 500.
  • May 28- I hate the day after the 500. It will take a day or two to recover. Fortunately, we don’t have long to wait for the next race as Detroit takes place a week later. But nothing can compare to the Indianapolis 500 and knowing we have a whole year to wait is always a bit sad.

I’ve been watching the 500 since 1985. I’ve watched every race and in 2008 I took Matthew to the Speedway for his first time. He hasn’t missed a May trip. In 2010 Zach started coming with. They were both five years old on their first trip. This year they will be 15 and 13. Indy is all about family and traditions and I have to say the time spent there with my boys is one of my absolute favorite things to do. I’m so excited, THIS IS MAY!

2010

2013

2014

2015 GP of Indy

2015 Indy 500

2016 So cold that year!

2017

I can’t post this without mentioning my sweet friend Sarah. Sarah was born with heart problems. She is now in her thirties, married and raising three beautiful children. Today she is receiving the gift of a new heart and liver. Because Justin Wilson and Bryan Clausen were both organ donors I think awareness among the IndyCar community has grown immensely. I think most everyone has signed up to be a donor. If you haven’t there will be many opportunities to sign up on race weekends. Would you please consider. Your donation will save lives. I’m so excited for Sarah as she receives her gift today. Please pray for her, her doctors, her family and of course the family of the donor. What a great gift she is receiving.

Such a Fun Weekend at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway

As much as I enjoy watching the race, this weekend is also about family and all the things to do on a race weekend. Matthew is now twelve but we began our tradition of spending time at Indy in May when he was just five. Two years later when Zach turned five he joined us on our trips. This year did not disappoint. We had a great time.

You can read about qualifying day in my previous post- Fun Day at the Grand Prix of Indy. It truly was a fun day. Saturday was race day and just as busy and fun as qualifying.

We enjoyed breakfast at our hotel and got in a quick swim before heading to the track. We arrived at the speedway around 11:45. That gave us plenty of time to make the tweet up by the pagoda. It was good to see Eric Hall (@erock_in_indy, anotherindycarblog.wordpress.com) and also George and Susan Phillips ( @oilpressureblog, Oilpressure.com) among others. Pippa Mann and Tristan Vautier were there with Pippa running a Q&A. Unfortunately, with car noise in the background it was impossible to hear much at all. I also wish there could be someway to introduce those in attendance. I talked with some but I’m sure I missed some twitter friends simply because I don’t recognize the face as I do the twitter handle. I’ve enjoyed other tweet ups more. My boys however, had a great time. They had their checkered flag necklaces and were finding many takers. A couple people were especially appreciative. We talked with one man for quite awhile. He even bought Zach’s hat from him. Another woman liked the necklace so much she found us later and gave the boys t-shirts. And yet another woman, from IndyINtheLoop.com, interviewed the boys. They were having a blast.

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Time for lunch so we got a turkey leg to share. If you are looking for a cheaper way to feed a family always go for the turkey leg. All three of us ate from it and were quite full after. Matthew did have a hot dog too. We had drinks in our cooler (love that IMS allows outside food and beverages) so we didn’t break the bank for lunch. If you can find the vintage tenderloin sandwich that is an incredible value too. We weren’t so lucky this trip but plan to hunt them down at the 500.

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After lunch, Zach got a picture with the Firestone Firehawk. We were packing up our things, thinking about finding a spot on the mounds to watch the race, when a woman came up to us. She asked if we had seats. I said no and she asked if we wanted seats in the Northwest Vista. Umm sure. She then explained that she was an Angie’s list employee and saw me with my boys and wanted to do something nice for us. Looking back I think she thought I was a single mom. I’m not but it is overwhelming sometimes being at such a massive facility and keeping track of two boys. This has become easier each year and this year Matthew has a phone so knowing I can contact him should we get separated helped a lot. Still it is a hectic weekend and was such a sweet gesture from this woman. We had great seats– they were just a bit farther away than we had anticipated. Oh well we seldom get to that side of the track so let’s just enjoy.

We made our way to our seats. Saw Big Steve, winner of the Rickshaw races at the 2014 Milwaukee race and got settled in just in time for the short rain shower.

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The boys loved the rain and wished it had rained longer. They also really loved the start of the race. I know you shouldn’t hope for crashes but it does make it a bit more exciting, especially for young boys. It certainly grabbed Matthew’s attention and he watched the first ten laps or so pretty closely. Zach grew bored a bit quicker and attempted to take a nap. Eventually they went to buy an ice cream and all was good again. After the crash there wasn’t much to keep their attention but we would point out when one of our favorite drivers would pass by. The race ended with Will Power winning. Not one of our favorites.

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Zach had seen, on our way to our seats, where they were selling used tires from the Pro Mazda series. He had to have one. I tried my hardest to talk him out of it. We were on the exact opposite side of the track from where we were parked. I thought there was no way he could carry that tire the whole way back. It turned out to be the best ten dollars we spent. He fairly skipped back to the car. He was so proud of his tire and loved the attention he got carrying it back. Matthew begged to help carry it but Zach wouldn’t let him.

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As we neared the walkway overlooking the garage area went went up to see if we could see any drivers. We were lucky enough to see Takuma Sato with AJ Foyt. So very thankful he is doing well and was at the speedway. We also saw Hinch.

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IMS was offering a chance to go out on the track, a track invasion, but the boys were tired and not interested. We continued back to our car and barely made it before the rain began. Wow! Such a fun day.

We finished our day with dinner at Steak ‘n Shake to celebrate Graham’s second place finish. After that we played in the pool.

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Sunday was Mother’s Day and although there was no track activity we didn’t let that keep us from going back to the speedway. We visited the museum and the gift shop. The boys picked out my Mother’s Day gifts and I couldn’t be happy with their selections, after all they are from IMS. Well actually I do have one complaint. Zach bought me a t-shirt. He knew ahead of time to get an XL. I warned him that sizes run small. When he presented it to me I knew we had to exchange it. Thankfully the sweet woman working remembered us and it was an easy exchange. We got the 2XL. Okay people, I could definitely stand to lose a couple pounds but as a rule I wear a large—2XL– I should be swimming in it and actually it is still quite tight. It is absolutely ridiculous. I can’t even imagine once I wash it. Guess my nieces will be getting another t-shirt from me. This is not a one time problem.

We “opened” the gifts by the fountain before making our drive up north to the Chicago area. I can’t think of a better way to spend Mother’s Day and can’t wait to do it all again in two weeks and next year.

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