Friday, Dec 03

My Month of May

Monday, May 27 2125

Speedway, Indiana - May 27, 2019

Congratulations to Simon Pagenaud for winning the 103rd running of the Indianapolis 500. A great race to the end with Alexander Rossi! 

 

I want to talk to you about what it's like to be a fan at the Indianapolis 500. I started the day at around 6am in one of the lots. I met some really great folks from NJ. It was their first race and it was a check off on the bucket list of the man in the pair. They were both really excited about what the day would hold for them. 

 

I saw a fan I have talked to for many years from Victory Lane. He has been coming to the track since 1954. He has only missed 1 Indianapolis 500 and that was because he was in the service. I saw a mom pushing her baby around with a t-shirt that said "My First Indianapolis 500". As the month progressed I saw various events; Will Power kissing a girl with Downs Syndrome, the fan access is incredible.

 

On May 7th, the Friday before the GP, I talked to a teacher who had brought her students (about 30 in total) who were on a field trip to IMS. This is a group of kids from a low socioeconomic area of the city and it was their first visit to the track. She talked about how excited her students were to be able to experience the track and hear the sound of the engines. As I watched them, I could see their excitement coming off them like waves. They were trying to be cool, because they were high school students, but it was one of the best things I had seen that day and they could not hide their excitement. That is the spirit of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

 

Race day was spent in the infield of the 4th turn. I set my stuff down and then headed to the red carpet. There, I hung out and watched the crowd wait patiently, for about 2.5 hours, for the incredible list of celebrities to make their way down the carpet. Matt Damon and Christian Bale did not talk to media, but made themselves extremely available to the fans. Matt Damon went so far as to take selfies with anyone who handed him a camera. There was a 19 year old girl there from Belgium and when she mentioned to Damon that she was a fan and from Belgium, he took the time to interact with her personally.

 

Another highlight of the red carpet was seeing Michael Goulian, 2018 winner of the Red Bull Air Race, in Indianapolis. It was great to see past champions of other types of racing at IMS celebrate the Memorial Day Weekend. All the celebrities on the red carpet were incredibly generous with their time with the fans. Jackson Robert Scott and Chevel Shepherd were incredibly open to interacting with their fans. 

 

My race was spent in the infield of turn 4. I had a view of turn 4, and the straightaway toward turn 1. My favorite moment was after the 3rd parade lap and I could hear the engines rev up to running speed. If you haven't heard Indy Cars in full throttle, you haven't lived. It runs straight through your body and lets you know you are alive in no other way. I eagerly watched as we hit lap 100, knowing that if we could not get a full race in due to rain, things were going to get VERY exciting. As it turns out, God really does love Indy car because we were able to get the full race in, even with the threat of rain. There was a wreck at 177  that included Graham Rahal and Sebastian Bourdais that stopped the race. The last few laps were extremely exciting! There were several lead changes between Pagenaud and Rossi. The fact that it came down to the very last minute made it a race that will go down in the history book of Indy.  Thanks to Simon Pagenoud and Alexander Rossi for a GREAT race!!

 

 

 

 

 

Thomas Marquis

 

 

 

Post Covid at the Brickyard…AKA The Wild Wild West

Spent the weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway with our Social Media Director, Melissa Shoffner. She had some interesting thoughts on the days.

We spent all of 2020 with no in person racing. We even spent the first part of this year with limited access to racing. This past weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, there were no limits to the number of fans that were allowed into the track at 16th and Georgetown in Indianapolis. There were also no mask mandates. True, there some people who were wearing masks, but the majority of people weren’t wearing masks, unless you went into the Media Center ?, however I spent most of my time with the fans on the viewing mounds that were open once again.

People were having a BLAST! It felt much like it did pre-Covid. Doug Boles, President of IMS was wandering around, talking to all fans and keeping in touch with the fan base, of all ages. I saw him stop and talk with a very young child and then took a pic with mom and the child. He then was kind enough to stop and talk with us and we even got a pic with him as well! On Sunday, during the Verizon 200, he was even out on the track helping with clean up during one of the red flags. I know that we have another variant out there, but this weekend felt like we were heading back into normalcy.

In other news, it was the Shootout at the OK Corral. We will get to that in one moment. It was an historic weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. For the first time in history, IndyCar and NASCAR were at IMS at the same time for the weekend. We had an exciting weekend on the road course as compared to other Brickyards. For the first time, the Brickyard was held on the road course which is another great idea from new track owner Roger Penske. Let me just say quickly, what great improvements were made. Roger, can I thank you for paving the media lot…that was one of my favorite changes! ?

In all seriousness, what an exciting weekend it was to see IndyCar, Xfinity and Nascar on the road course. That being said, it took some beating. We saw that come to fruition in the final laps of the Verizon 200 when we saw total mayhem.

I think for the first time, that I can remember for the ‘Brickyard” we have seen “the big one”. The road course produced one of the biggest wrecks we have seen at Indy in Nascar. The curb came up, the spikes came up, multiple cars were everywhere. This is insane and unacceptable. This is a learning experience. A caution should have called the lap prior. Maybe Nascar has some explaining to do. At the end of the day, because of the errors of others that pushed Denny Hamlin out of the way, A.J. Allmendinger wins at Indianapolis. Put on your conspiracy hat people, it’s about to get good!

Tune into The Balance every Saturday morning from 9-11am EST. We enjoy being a part of Speedway Digest and bringing you your racing and sports news.

 

X

No right click

Please link the article.