A Taste Of May In March
I had big plans for this past weekend. There was a Honda test scheduled at IMS for all day Saturday. When I first heard about it a couple of weeks ago, I thought what a great idea it would be for Susan and me to hop in the car, do a one-day turnaround and make a very full day of it. I contacted my friend, Paul Dalbey from More Front Wing, who lives about half the distance from IMS than I do. He and his fiancé were going to meet us there.
By Monday, Susan had learned that she had way too much work to do to devote half of the weekend to watching a test. She bowed out. That opened the door for my One Take Only cohort, John McLallen, to ride up with me. I wanted to leave at 5:00am, he wanted to leave earlier.
The plan was to get into town around 10:00am Eastern Time, then we would grab a (semi) quick bite at Charlie Brown’s Pancake & Steak House before heading to IMS. I figured concession stands would probably not be open, and lunch would be questionable at best. While at the track, we would watch race cars and then…more race cars. The stands by the Hall of Fame Museum were to be open as well as the Turn Two viewing mounds.
At some point, we would go to the museum since we were there and go through it on a not-so-crowded day. We would also make the obligatory trip to the gift shop to see if any 2017 merchandise had hit the shelves yet. Whenever the test concluded, we had already decided we would go back to Main Street and do some karting at Sarah Fisher’s Speedway Indoor Karting. Then, just before hitting the road – we would cap off our day in March by hitting Dawson’s for dinner. After a full day and gaining an hour with the time change, we’d still be home before 11:00 Saturday night.
As much as I was looking forward to it, John was downright giddy. He rarely goes to other races and only goes to Indianapolis on Race Weekend. So as much as I enjoy going to Indianapolis whenever I get the chance, it’s an even bigger treat for John.
The weather forecast did not look good. I told John and Paul that if its raining, I’m not going. John tried to persuade me by reminding me we could still go karting, eat at Dawson’s and do plenty of other things like go to the Dallara factory. But I had plenty I needed to do at home and I held my ground.
Listening to Trackside on Tuesday night gave me my first indication that our plans could get blown up. They announced that with the bleak weather forecast for Saturday (and Sunday), there was a chance the test could be moved to Friday. When I awoke Wednesday morning, the first thing I did was check the weekend forecast for Indianapolis. To my surprise, it had improved significantly. I convinced myself that there was no way I would get cheated out of my taste of May in March.
But by early Wednesday afternoon, the news came. It was official. The test had been moved up to Friday.
John urged me to just burn a vacation day. Unfortunately, it wasn’t that easy. I had a doctor’s appointment Friday morning that had been on the books since September. It would not have been wise to miss that. Plus, I had a meeting at work that I could have cancelled, but doing so would have caused other problems. I was bummed, Paul was bummed and John was really bummed. About the only person happy with the turn of events was Susan. But, my mind was made up. We weren’t going.
But as I was getting ready Friday morning, I was regretting not rearranging my schedule. As I was sitting in the examining room waiting on the doctor, I kept seeing updates on social media where everyone was posting photos and videos of the goings on at 16th and Georgetown.
As I saw (and heard) videos of cars at speed, I also saw the people that were there on the Turn Two viewing mounds. Pictures that would normally bring a smile to my face were suddenly putting a pit in my stomach. It dawned on me that I had consciously made a decision to not go to the track, after having planned the entire day out. Why would I have done that? Appointments and meetings can be rescheduled. This was the first time for IndyCars to be on track at IMS in 2017 and I had chosen to not go?
Some will say that I made the responsible choice. After all – it was just a test. That would have cost a lot of money and an awful lot of wear and tear on my body. I couldn’t help but wonder if this was the beginning of my slow decline into old age, where I no longer had interest in things I was once passionate about. Ten years ago, I would have moved mountains to go up there for a test open to the public. Now I’m opting for a doctor’s checkup over a day at the track? I spent Friday in a funk as I continued to see all the posts regarding the test.
I don’t fault the powers-that-be that made the call to move the test from Saturday to Friday. The forecast was looking ominous. While it would have been nice for fan turnout if the weather had cooperated better, this was not an event for the fans. It was for the teams to learn something. They were in a much better position to learn something by running on Friday, than dodging raindrops on Saturday.
I was looking forward to having a taste of May in March, but in a sense – I got what I was looking for. I can’t count how many times in my lifetime I’ve had my Month of May plans at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, changed at the last minute by weather. This past weekend was no different. Is it May already?