Friday, May 23, 2008

Indy 500 memories

Ken just called a few minutes ago, and is a little ahead of schedule. He should be home around 8 PM rather than 9 PM. Sweet!

When the "NBC Nightly News" started, Brian Williams said something about being live from Indianapolis, and I thought, "Indy? Why are they in Indy?" I actually thought something bad had happened, which is kind of a sad commentary on today's world, isn't it? Then I realized that he was at the Speedway, and I said, "Oh yeah, the Indy 500!" Derrrr! Since I've lived in Indiana most of my life, race coverage is ubiquitous starting at the beginning of May: time trials, pole day, reports on all the drivers and their cars, etc. I'm not all that much into racing, so I don't follow it closely, but I do enjoy having the race on TV while doing other things--I just love the sound of it!

I've been to the Greatest Spectacle In Racing once, and have said that I don't really have the desire to go again. However, Ken has never been, and has expressed an interest in going one day, so I'd go again for him.

Want to hear my Indy 500 stories? Sure you do! <wink>

I can't even remember how I got tickets one year. I think my ex-brother-in-law got them or something. My friend Susie came down from Grand Forks, North Dakota, and a friend from work, Ellen, and her boyfriend, Vince, also said they'd like to go. Ellen and Vince lived on the West side, over by the Speedway, so Susie and I headed out early Sunday from my apartment on the East side. We encountered very little traffic getting over to Ellen and Vince's but when we left their house to head to the Speedway, Holy Moley! Vince drove my car, and he knew lots of back roads and alleyways that got us out of the worst of the traffic. He was driving like a crazy man. Of course, in the spirit of the day, everyone wants to be a race car driver! He got us there, though!

We made our way into the Speedway, knowing that we had a ways to walk. I can't describe how big the place is, and the Speedway never releases actual attendance records. I've heard that it's about a half a million people, the biggest sporting event in the world. And it sells out every year! Amazing. So we walked and we walked, Susie and I carrying our cooler between us (beer and sandwiches). Then we walked some more. We walked past the Infield (where all the RV's park) which is notorious for sheer craziness--and it's all true. It had rained lightly that morning, so the Infield surface was an amazingly adherent mixture of mud, urine, and beer. (The sneakers I wore that day went in the trash after I got home.) When visiting the bathroom once during the afternoon, there was a tall woman wearing nothing but a thong, completely covered in mud, washing the mud off in the trough sink. I have to laugh when I think about it, because I think I was actually a little shocked! I'd heard plenty of stories, but I had no idea it was that crazy.

Our seats were in the bleachers inside the track. At one point before the race started, our section and the section across the track started up a little competition. They yelled, "Tastes great!" We yelled back, "Less filling!" Remember, we're talking a half a million people there, so in our sections there may have been 100,000 or so. The sheer volume was unbelievable. Over the PA, we heard Jim Nabors sing "Back Home Again In Indiana," then we heard, "Lady and Gentlemen, start your engines!" The starting line was across the Infield from us, so we heard a distant rumble. A huge cheer went up, and a few seconds later, the first cars flew by us. It was one of the coolest and most exciting moments I've ever experienced, with the sound of the crowd and the sound of the cars zipping by at 180 or so mph.

You know, I don't even remember what year I went (although I probably have the ticket stub somewhere) or who won that year. I recall a couple of accidents, but no one was killed or seriously injured. But I remember the sheer excitement of it, and as I write about it, I can hear in my mind the amazing sound of the cars as they passed our section.

So would I go again? Yeah...I suppose I would if the opportunity presented itself. There really is nothing else like it.

I never really wish for any particular driver to win--I only wish for no serious accidents. Sunday promises to be a perfect day for the race, so Godspeed to each and every one of them!


specialadyfink said...

I bet that roar is deafening.

jimsulliv3 said...

Being involved in racing for years, I love the Indy 500 and the NASCAR Charlotte 600 is the same weekend. It's the culmination of the many events that make May my favorite month.

I've never been to Indy, but I've been to Miami Homestead Speedway, Daytona International Speedway and Phoenix International Speedway. All of the infield rumors are true and then some !


queeniemart said...

that is a cool story...i can feel your excitement. My mom once took me to a race track in Ohio somewhere and i was so scared the car would come thru that retaining wall. I was little then.

carouselqueen70 said...

I have never been to Nascar or anything big like that but we used to go to a small dirt track near our town. We used to go to "Gradnview" every weekend. I loved the sound of the cars. I am not muc on watching it on TV though. My dad also used to drag race not professionally. He just went to little stuff. We would have never had t he money to go proffesionally. It was alot of, Christine

pchilcoat1 said...

I also had the opportunity to enjoy the Brickyard....I think I've got one old crash helmet around here some where, for when I get frustrated LMAO.

Had the joy of going with my brother and Dad, way back when

eml625 said...

Sounds cool. I would love to go once. I would also love to see a Super Bowl once, a world series once and believe it or not, Times Square News Years Eve...just once ! (Yup born and raised NY and NEVER went!)
Hope your having a great Saturday

markonit said...

... I went to a couple of stock car (?) races, in Rockingham, NC and Bristol, Tenn, and the noise there was incredible ... loved the atmosphere ... would go to Indy just to hang around and be a part of the crowd ..!

... you would go for Ken ..?  now THAT'S what I am talking about ..!

jmoqueen said...

I bet it was exciting :o)  Thank you for sharing the tale with us xx