Dan's 2002 Speedway Journal

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Brickyard 400
Sunday - August 4, 2002

My friend Joe and I were up late last night discussing philosophy at the local pub. Joe decided to crash on the couch back at my place since he lives out of town and he was going to watch the Brickyard 400 at my house the next day anyway. I was planning on having a few friends over since I didn't have any tickets.

The next day, a friend called and told me he had two tickets if I wanted to drive up and get them. He was about 40 miles north of me. Cool! Top Row tickets!

Joe, I'm sad to say, is not a race fan, per se. However, he had never been to the Speedway before so he was up for going. I packed up some beer and we high-tailed it up to Pendleton Indiana, got the tickets from Rick, caught a quick look at his awesome new house and was off for Speedway Indiana.

On the radio I could hear them start their engines. By the time we hit the west side of Indy the race had already started. We were a little late, BUT there was NO traffic. I pulled right up to Lot 1, near Turn 4, and pulled in to a aisle parking spot for free. We were surrounded by campers and flags.

lot

In no time we were up in our seats with steaming hot hamburgers and hotdogs. Our seats were in section H, on the straight coming out of the last turn. We only missed the first 15 laps or so. The race is for 160 laps. It was a very hot, slightly hazy day, but there was a nice breeze up at my seats where I could stand and hang against the fence. I noticed a lot of doo rags in place of hats this year. One bald headed guy in front of me had a wet hand cloth on his head all day and another had his head smeared white with some sunscreen. People were pouring water on themselves. Many girls had electric fans that blew out a water mist. Good idea I guess. The temperature was 98 degrees and muggy. Track temperature was 134 degrees. Jeff Gordon said it was the hottest race he's seen.

crowd

I was straight across from a tv screen!

across

Camaros lined up along the infield road course.

Camaros

Here's a different view. Where's the people in that suite? (Probably in the air conditioning!!)

tower & stands

TURN FOUR!

turn 4

Steve Park and Rusty Wallace:
cars 1 & 2

Pit Stops.

pits

Joe Nemechek:
car 25

Eye in the Sky.
blimp chopper cam

More pit stops.
pits

Under yellow.

Turn 4 train

Bill Elliott, 46, showed off a superior car all day, easily running away from everyone else except Jarrett, and he had a stop-and-go penalty. If there had been no caution periods to bunch the field, he would probably have been lapping everybody. I know he went from 2nd to 1st with 11 laps to go, but I knew at lap 100 he had it.

Bill Elliott - Winner

A lot of people started leaving early, maybe because of the heat. We left a little early to try and get a jump on the traffic. It worked and we were downtown in no time. Hungry, we stopped at St. Elmo's, one of the finest restaurants in town by reputation. Lots of wait staff and they were ALL dressed in tuxedos. Nice place. I was wearing a tank top and shorts and would not ever go in there any other time dressed like that, but it was Race Day! I was fortunate and they seated us. Ahh, air conditioning. The race ended right after we got there. We ordered a couple filet mignons. Our waiter looked like Helio Castroneves! The service was super and the food was excellent. I'll have to return (in a suit.)

I did miss some of the race, but after being stuck in traffic for 3 hours at the Indy 500 this year, I was very pleased with today's commute!

Well, time to start thinking about the 3rd U.S. Grand Prix at Indianapolis! I've got my tickets. Have you? If not, go to imstix.com where you can buy tickets today from the Speedway on-line.




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