Good morning from a damp and humid Indianapolis Motor Speedway. As promised, I was here before the gates opened. It’s sort of surreal to have free roam of the place when the only people on the grounds are team personnel, media and the vendors setting up for the day. Even though there are no spectators here yet, there is a more palpable buzz here for a practice day than there was for Race Day of the Angie’s List Grand Prix last week. That’s probably not something that IMS officials would like to be expressed, but that’s at least my opinion.
As we prepared for our third of four straight weekends at IMS, fate has played a welcomed hand in out travels. On Tuesday, Susan was asked by her company if she could go to Greenwood, IN on Wednesday to help out a co-worker. Wednesday through Friday, she is to work in Indiana – even though she had already scheduled a day off for today. She was happy to do it, because she did not have to burn a vacation day for today. The best part for me was that I drove up here last night after work and stayed in her company-paid hotel. I can now get to the track extra early this morning – long before the gates open.
Yesterday’s scary crash notwithstanding, Helio Castroneves seems to be persona non grata these days among many fans and drivers, after he caused the Turn One melee in the Angie’s List Grand Prix on Indianapolis. Shortly after he was penalized eight points yesterday for his part in the fracas, Helio lost control of his car in Turn One and flipped end-over-end. Fortunately, he was uninjured, but it was very frightening and last week’s race and eight points were suddenly the last thing on people’s minds.
You will hear more than once this month that this year marks the fiftieth anniversary of my first Indianapolis 500. Some are surprised to find out that I have any recollection whatsoever of being there in 1965, since I was only six years old.
Anyone who has read this site for very long knows how much I loathe change. One would think that I would be experiencing my own personal nightmare, with all of the changes that are going on this year at IMS. But those same people will probably be surprised at the theme of this post.
Although I have yet to watch the TV broadcast of Saturday’s Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis, I’ve read the comments here and have spoken with others who did watch it on television. Unfortunately, my suspicions were true that the first two-thirds of the race looked just as boring to viewers at home as it did to those of us in the stands. The problem was, those at home weren’t able to at least enjoy the fact that they were at the track – even though they were going the wrong way.
Advertising. I guess it is just a sign of the times. Some purists will call it “selling out,” I think it is a way to pump some much-needed funding into upgrading our experience at IMS. If you were at the Grand Prix, you saw Angie’s List advertising everywhere—but if it adds another race to the schedule, more power to it! It takes big dollars to promote and put on an event to an ever-shrinking live viewing audience. The quality of televisions now make it so that you are almost there without the pain of parking, Eight dollar beer, and annoying people who stand up in front of you to block the view. So if advertising dollars are what will make my visit to IMS more enjoyable, I’m all for it. Someday you can tell your kids “I remember when it was plain old Gasoline Alley.”