Friday - August 3, 2001
I left for the track this morning and decided to try to find a new route to the track. Instead of using the highways, I wound my way there through southern neighborhoods. I drove up Harding. I wound my way along roads such as Oliver, Belmont, 10th, and Tibbs. It was a partly cloudy hot humid day.
This was a bad idea as it took a long time as the speedlimits were all like 35 mph.
Anyway, once I hit 16th Street, there was a line and it took about fifteen minutes.
While waiting in line, I saw what Looked to be a big Indy Racing billboard, but saw that it was a big mural of a Indycar pitstop, wrapping around a big gas tank that sits on the ground. Cool.
The new tall Speedway watertank has a new paintjob as well.
Among the many racing / merchandise trailers lining the roads outside the track, I encountered the SPAM-mobile, Some pretty girl was offering cooked spam to some fatso. Ha! Also, they were jammin.
HINT: the closest road onto 16th that has a stoplight (so you can turn left into the line into the track) is Olin Avenue. You can get to it by veering left after crossing 10th street when you come up Holt Rd.
As I finally reached the gate, I saw this banner hanging over the entrance. It shows all of the men who have won the Brickyard 400 and the year they won it.
Gordon and Jarrett won it twice.
I parked down in the 3rd Turn infield. Lots of people tailgaiting, country music playing over the Speedway's P.A. system.
I heard that Buddy Lazier was going to be signing autographs from 10:30- noon over in the IMS tent by the museum. Getting my new Lazier hat signed was my main goal. Buddy, as you know, has the most IRL wins, an IRL Championship and he won the 1996 Indy 500. Although I left my house at 10 o'clock, by the time I got parked and walked from the 3rd turn up to the 2nd turn, it was 11:45.
I found that Buddy never even showed up, while Eddie Cheever and Mark Dismore did, but had left early. They had to get over and get ready to practice in IROC cars. I was bumbed. There was a HUGE line of people waiting to get Darryl Waltrip's autograph.
This area was packed with all the Winston Cup merchandise trailers. At the scanner booth, I found out they rent scanners for $35/day or $40/weekend. They also sell them.
I proceeded to the tower and down to Gasoline Alley. There was just enough people standing along there that I could not see anything. So I drifted to the beer man and bought a Foster's beer - oilcan size. I walked around the Pit Road Terrace, where the F1 Garages are, and took these pictures of the IROC cars warming up in the pit lane. It was noon and time for the practice to start.
Most of these IROC cars did not yet have the drivers names pasted on the side.
However, some cars had the names of drivers who were past IROC champions. I saw Al Unser Jr, A.J. Foyt, and Mark Martins names.
Stand A and Stand B and the Paddock and SW & NW & North Vista were open. Wasn't that many people in the stands.
I heard over the loud speaker that Andy Hillenburg was out testing the IROC car. When he pulled in, I walked down to where he was getting out of the car. He hopped out and ran over and hopped in another car and took off. I guess he was working on trying to get all the cars setup the same. A few other drivers came out to practice in them. I decided to hike to the outside of the oval and north to the 4th Turn
Time for another $5 Foster can, a $2.50 Indy dog, and a $1 bag of peanuts. I walked all the way up to the top deck of the stands. The sun really came out and it got hotter. I was surrounded by a bunch of 30 y/o guys who were all friends. They were drinking and having fun.
Looking down toward the infield F1 course, they had all of these red Dodge trucks lined up. Cool.
If you look closely, you can see another truck with two tanks on the back. A couple guys were washing the trucks with that contraption.
Some of the IROC cars came into contact with the outside wall coming out of Turn 4, leaving 3 black smudges on the white wall.
Anyway, there was just a few IROC cars cars running around and they weren't going that fast, maybe 150-160 mph. The NASCAR timing/scoring system was broke today, so I didn't hear any speeds and I didn't take my watch.
I heard on the radio that it wasn't working for the Winston Cup drivers. I had to go and didn't get to see the Nascar practice. They were only going to get 1 hour, during the hottest part of the day! Strange, I'm sure they would have liked more time to practice.
And I saw a plane fly over the speedway pulling a banner that stated "United Airlines no raise in 7 years. Unfair."