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My Month of May

Monday, May 27 2591

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!!

 

 

 

 

 

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Thomas Marquis

Rossi Takes the Checkered Flag in Indy

It’s great to be at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway at the Gallagher Grand Prix, the first of 3 races this weekend. We also have the Pennzoil 150 on the road course at IMS. The beginning of the Grand Prix was not without drama. Conor Daly had issues in the pits after running P6. There was an incident between Will Power and Pato O’Ward and Grosjean had some issues in the pits as well. The back end of the cars were slipping and sliding around but straightened up as the race went on. Marcus Ericksson started at the back of the grid but found himself in P2 for a time. And  early on, Jimmy Johnson was taking faster laps than Will Power and found himself in P1 in lap 24.

By lap 49, Herta was out of the race. He said via radio, “I think this is something we can’t fix.”

During the press conference, Will Power was talking about IMS and stated, “It’s always hard starting on the outside of this track…you get freighttrained.” 

Will Power ended up P3 which put him 7th all time leader for podium finishes and 92 career podium finishes. With this 3rd place finish, he took the points lead with 4 races to go. When asked how the season would end up, he stated, “It feels like it always goes down to the last race; [and it is] Impossible to predict in this series.” 46 points separate the top 5, so it truly will come down to the final 4 races this season.

Christian Lundgaard came in P2 for his first podium finish of his career. He stated, “It feels amazing, but the best thing is the team really deserves it….I’m just a guy doing my job, really…This is the right path. We are going in the right direction.” Lungaard turned 21last Saturday and showed a tremendous amount of poise for a 21 year old. One of his presents was a trip to Las Vegas immediately after Laguna Seca. Power suggested that the rest of the group be invited. Lungaard refused to let us know where he would be staying. 

Alexander Rossi led 44 of 85 laps. This was Rossi's 1st win in approximately 1000 days. This was his 8th career win. Rossi said, “We had a solid test here a month or so ago…As challenging as it is for me, it is for them too [speaking of the rest of the team].” Rossi was asked if a weight had been lifted and stated, “Yes. There’s no other way to explain it. You’re as good as your last race. It doesn’t matter how good you are…It’s a very special thing today.” 

It was announced in June that Rossi will be headed to McLaren. Rossi said today during the press conference, “Good thing we don’t have to have the conversation about breaking the losing streak.”

Be sure and tune into The Balance every Saturday morning from 9-11am. You can also find the podcast replay where ever you find your podcasts.

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