“Our” Racing Season Is About To Begin
It’s hard to believe, but George and I start “our” racing season in less than two weeks. By “our” season, I mean the races we will be going to in person this year. Yes, in just over a week and a half we will be getting up at the crack of dawn (or before dawn, if George has his way), to head down to Birmingham for the race at Barber.
Last year, we started our racing season a little earlier at New Orleans. That was sort of a surreal trip for me. We love going to New Orleans, but three days is about as much as we can take. We’ve reached the age where our trips down there consist mostly of food rather than alcohol. In our college days it would have been the other way around. Today, trips to New Orleans mean I spend a lot of time in obscure restaurants on and around Bourbon Street watching George eat. Despite his size, he puts away an enormous amount of food. I keep thinking his age will catch up to him at some point and he’ll weigh 300 pounds, but so far that hasn’t happened.
But last year, we never even saw the French Quarter. Instead, we stayed close to the track. That was a weird race to attend. The track was a nice place, but real spread out. And the weather was horrible. It rained and flooded the track practically all weekend. Even if they had raced there this year, we decided we weren’t going. It just wasn’t a ton of fun.
But we LOVE Barber, though. It’s close to home, it’s beautiful down there and is always a good time. We’ve been to every race there since IndyCar started racing there and we’ve never had a bad time. Even though a couple of years ago, it rained just as hard as it did at New Orleans last year, it was still fun.
Our racing season last year was tough on us (me, anyway). We drove to New Orleans, then two weeks later we were driving to Birmingham. Just six days later, we were back in the car for the first of four straight trips to Indy. George decided we just had to be there for a test session the first weekend in May. By the time we drove up for the race, we had driven to a race track six out of seven weekends. I was burned out and it took all of June for me to recover. That was the end of our racing season for last year. It was all compressed into a seven week period. It was too much in too little time. George loved it but I was on racing overload.
This year seems better. Barber is in two weeks. We get a weekend to rest up after Barber before the Indy trips start and there are only three Indy weekends this year instead of four. What we’re both looking forward to is not being so depressed after Indy is over. Since the Nashville race went away years ago, Indy has always been our last race of the season. This year is different.
Four weeks after Indy, we’ll be going to Road America in Wisconsin. That’ll give us plenty of time to rest up after the month of May. George always said that if IndyCar ever raced at Road America that we were going. They are this year, so here we go.
George hates to fly. He’s not afraid of flying, he just hates the hassle of getting to the airport, parking the car, TSA, and his biggest pet-peeve is renting a car. His thinking is that by the time you leave the house and get to the final destination, you could have driven it in not much more time for a lot less money, PLUS you have your own car when you get there. I disagree. I find flying relaxing. Other people are doing the work. Plus, it pains George to part with a dollar more than it does me. Translation: He’s cheap! [I didn’t just say that, did I?]
I did do one smart thing, though. As soon as George said the track was on the schedule and we knew the date, I booked us a room last fall. From what we hear from friends also planning to go, everything is booked up for miles.
So, we’re driving from Nashville to Wisconsin. It looks like a nine hour drive. Uggh! But it helps that we’ve decided to turn this into something of a vacation. We’ll stay Sunday night after the race at our hotel and then take a ferry across Lake Michigan. I’ve spent time in the Traverse City area and loved it, so we’re going to spend a few days of R&R there. We’ll then meander back to Nashville sometime that week and have some restful days at home through the July 4th weekend.
We love Barber and we love Indy. I’m curious to see how we love Road America. George swears we will, even though he’s never been there. Due to lack of vacation time, that may do it for me. George on the other hand, has asked if I’d get mad if he went to other races without me. I told him it wouldn’t, but I’ll be honest that it will be weird watching a race and knowing he’s there and I’m not. He and our friend Paul Dalbey are talking about doing a guy’s trip or two later this season. That should be interesting…
As worn out as I was by the end of May last year, I’m almost as excited as George is to be back on the road to go to a race. We both love Barber. Their staff is very friendly and go out of their way to show everyone from “up north” what genuine southern hospitality is. We’re from the south, but we’re still as impressed. They have free trams that take everyone where they want to go and the scenery is gorgeous.
With a schedule more spread out, this should be a much more enjoyable season for us
It all starts in less than two weeks and we cannot wait!