Dan's 2001 Indy 500 Journal

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OPENING DAY
May 6, 2001

Today was beautiful!! It was sunny and warm and we had a slight breeze all day long under clear skies. Usually after the ceremonies, all the 500 princesses make a lap in the pace cars. However this year, the four Indy 500 winners in this year's race took a slow side-by-side lap. Then, Lynn St James, who announced her retirement yesterday, was given the opportunity to make a few laps for old times sake. [I heard later that Foyt was pissed that she got to do this. Why? Because he got to do it too, but he wanted to be the only one. Whatever.] Then at 1:15, practice was open.

I REALLY screwed up and forgot to go to the bank machine on the way to the track. I also did not take a cooler or any drinks or food! The concession stands don't accept credit cards. There are no water fountains that I could find in the infield. I had a few sticks of gum that got me through the day. I found $3 and the only drink you can get in the track for that is a small coke for $2.50. I waited till 3 pm before I bought the icy Pepsi-cola. I was so thirsty, it tasted great.

a new generation of traditions

Hmm. Sit at home and watch tv? No way!

T3 Hill

Little kids were enjoying running down the viewing hill in Turn 3 when they heard a car coming.

new hill

They have extended the viewing hill on the back stretch, all the way down and around the 3rd Turn!!! They've got 200 feet left that still needs grass.

T3

People relaxing on the New Turn Three Hill.

NE Vista

The sweet spot to sit in a turn can often be determined by where the camera is. The middle camera stand is used here in the NortEast Vista. It is located in Section 12, near 13, which in my opinion is the ultimate in that corner.

Robbie Buhl

There goes Robbie Buhl in his #24.

Scott Sharp

Scott Sharp rides by on his way out to the track.

Billy Boat

Billy Boat passes.

Tony G

Tony George, president of the speedway, stops to chat with the fans. Then he walked over to where I was and hopped on a little scooter and took off. One thing you will find is that there is lots of walking involved in going to the track. There are some tractor pulled carts that go around in a loop from the tower terrace to the various parking spots, but it seems you have to wait forever, they're full, etc. You will see lots of people zipping around on scooters and in golf carts. It would be nice if everyone could have one.

Sarah on the phone

Sarah walking through Gasoline Alley.

I hope they take that phone away from her before she gets in her racecar!

Although I was very alert while hanging out at Gasoline Alley, Al Unser, Sr; Buddy Lazier, Johnny Rutherford, and Casey Mears all got by me before I could get a picture.

Sarah's car

They wheel her car out to the track.

Buddy Lazier

Buddy Lazier began the ceremonies today on the track, by cruising around twice with 3 other Indy 500 winners who are entered in this year's race; Eddie Cheever, Jr., Al Unser, Jr., and Arie Luyendyk.

Stephan Gregoire new flag tower

Stephan Gregoire practicing. IMS has erected a new flag tower. I think it looks like a cat-bird seat from some big sailing ship. It looks to be 30' up in the air.

good crowd crowd

There were more people at Opening Day than usual.

Babe of the Day Runner up Shoulda ran

Cool!

McLaren

Mika's Formula One car is over in Turn Two for you to look at.

New structure

What could this new large building in 2nd Turn Infield be for???

You can see the museum and fountain in the back ground.




HEY! It's 11:30 pm and I'm back home. I went to the Sam Schmidt Paralysis Foundation Benefit tonight. It took me so long to post the pictures above, that I didn't show up until 9 pm. when it started at 6!

Anyway, it was downtown at Mortons of Chicago. We had a thunderstorm roll through before I got there. They had the red carpet rolled out for us and a motorcycle and go-kart on display outside the door. They were some of the items that were being auctioned off for charity tonight. The bike was awesome, it was a Titan donated by Tony George. It's twin was given to Juan Pablo Montoya for winning the Indy 500 last year. Inside, there were some autographed racers stuff, like helmets and gloves, tickets, and some donations by baseball and basketball stars like a basketball signed by Koby and Shaq.

Well, I was 3 hours late, so who knows what drivers I missed seeing. I did get to (cocktail)party in the company of Arie Luynendyk, Scott Sharp, Robbie Buhl, Billy Boat, Robbie McGehee and Jeff Ward.

Of course Sam was there. He looked really well and in high-spirits. They had a auction on some racing memoribilia, proceeds to go toward medical research. This was a stand up buffet, but there were some booths around the perimeter and IMS had a few tables reserved. I enjoyed some steak and fish, some unknown items(!) and some cheesecake. It was all tasty. They provided beer and wine. I also had some mixed drinks in the bar with a couple drivers.

I am not sure how much they raised in the silent auction. That custom Indy 500 Titan motorcycle was by far the most valuable in the lot. This was the second year for this benefit dinner. I've heard Sam's foundation has raised $750,000 before tonight for spinal research.

[a few days later... I have since heard that Jack Arute served as master of ceremonies. He must have left before I got there. I would have liked to talk to him, he's been broadcasting Indycars for a long time.

I heard that Fred Treadway, owner of Treadway Racing, won the auction for the Titan bike at $35,000 and Rob Sabatini won the go-kart auction for $4,600.]

Donations for spinal cord research can be sent to:
The Sam Schmidt Foundation
411 Dorman St.
Indianapolis, IN 46202



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Copyright 2001, 2006 IndySpeedway.comAll Rights Reserved. Created May 6, 2001.