Monday, August 4, 2008

Vacation - Part III

I'm getting to old for this! I thought we were going to have a quiet, boring, "There's nothing to do Mom!" summer. We haven't stopped since school let out. Vacation part II was a couples only affair. Norm and I went to Indianapolis to see NASCAR's Brickyard 400. We had been to the Indianapolis Speedway before, 15 years ago to see the Indianapolis 500. You and 250,000 of your closest friends - major league fun!
This year Norm's boss sold us his tickets (he goes every year) and we flew into Louisville, KY on the Friday before the race. We lived in Kentucky for three years before moving back to NY and I really enjoyed it there. We got to lounge around on Friday and Saturday and then drove up to Indy on Sunday. We used my new favorite bit of technology, the Garmin.

We used it in Pennsylvania, Virginia, Kentucky and Indiana. I just love this thing! Normally I'm a map girl but this little toy is so much fun to use and didn't steer us wrong once. In Kentucky we went to the Louisville Slugger museum and Norm ordered his own personalized, signature bat

This isn't it, a little small don't you think? The real one will be coming in the mail in a few weeks. Norm is standing at the base of a bat that is outside the factory and as tall as the building.

Just down the street there were these delightful red penguins atop a downtown hotel. The chandelier was outside the hotel also.
We headed up to Indy on Sunday. We intended to get some sandwiches and drinks and fill a couple of ziplock freezer bags with ice from the hotel so we wouldn't have to fight the crowds during the race. We forgot that Kentucky has different blue laws than NY does. Businesses don't open until 11:00 a.m. or noon. So we ended up with nothing. Not a problem except that we parked about a mile away from the raceway in a church parking lot and walked to the speedway. Once there we found that we had another mile and half walk around the outside of the speedway to the short chute between turns three and four to get to our seats. I'll try and give you an idea of the crowds...

People for a mile and more from the Speedway sell space on their lawns, driveways, whatever to people coming in for the race. Yards are decorated. They sell water bottles, ear plugs they have grills going and banners and flags of their favorite drivers flying. It's like a parade walking to the Speedway.

Once inside and as you approach the gates there are vendors everywhere. From the semi-truck size driver based souvenirs, to the official Speedway gift shop kiosks and the food vendors.As you walk around the Speedway, there are these big banners hanging from the stands. They show famous milestones of the Speedway. This next one is for all you oldsters who remember Andy Granitelli. He owned the car the year Mario Andretti won the 500. His suit is covered with the sponsor's logo, STP.

Once inside we found our seat, which continued our tradition of sitting in nosebleed land - we were the top row, the third and fourth seats from the end of the row. This was - good because we could see more than anyone else. Bad, because they were impossible to get out of if you wanted to get something. Good, because it was 85+ degrees and we had a wire fence to our back with a breeze!

We had a large screen in front of us so we could see the front stretch and the cars when they were in turn one and two. At the end of the national anthem they released the balloons from the start finish line. I tried to zoom this shot but I hope it still gives you an idea of how far away that was from us - a good mile.

Here the cars are coming around during one of the pace laps and in the next photo the race has begun.I wanted to get a photo of my man, Smoke - Tony Stewart, but let me tell you, it was hard at the speed these guys go around. I was able to get this shot because THIS WAS THE WORST RACE I'VE EVER SEEN OR BEEN TO!

Now, don't get me wrong, I loved going to the race, but the race itself was awful! Apparently, the tires they had for the cars would only go about 8-10 laps(20-30 miles) and then need replacing. This was a 400 mile race! Finally, we heard through the people with earphones and radios that Goodyear was bringing the tires it had set aside for the Pocono race the following week because they were going to run out of tires and were trying to get a longer lasting tire in hopes of actually having a real race!

It was a race of yellow flags and caution laps interrupted with the occasional green flag racing! Jimmy Johnson won and our man Tony finished well behind in 23rd.

Well, that's about it for chapter III. One more chapter to go - Chinese Culture Camp!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you and Norm had such a good time on your trip, despite the unusual situation with the tires affecting how the race was run. I read about that even in the Boston Globe (which usually says nothing about racing sports). I'm happy Norm is getting his own Louisville slugger. And I loved the red penguins! Looking forward to hearing about the upcoming Chinese Culture Camp.

Barb in NH