|F1 Pit Walkabout
Thursday - September 25, 2003
I took the morning off work and headed to the
speedway for a new "event" - the F1 Pit Walkabout.
IMS somehow managed to talk the Formula
One guys into letting down their high barriers
somewhat. While they still had everything
blocked off behind their garages so that no
fans could see in or come near, they were
going to let ticketholders walk along the pit lane
next to the front of their garages as they setup
for tomorrow's action. While this may not sound
very exciting to Americans, I believe this is
unprecedented in the Formula One world.
I expected to see somewhere between 50-400
die-hard F1 fans like me who would take off work
just to look in a couple of garages. On the pit ticket,
it even said that they would park you close to the
pits and to enter the main gate.
As I drove closer to the speedway, through the town
of Speedway, I began to wonder. I saw cars parked
outside the track and a lot of people walking
As I approached the main gate, I saw that it was
closed!? I had to drive a mile past the speedway,
make a U-turn and get in line. All the infield parking
behind the tower and in Turn 1 was full!
They directed us to turn into the Speedway Motel,
where we s-l-o-w-l-y crawled all the way back to
park in the third turn infield. Dang, this meant a lot of
walking and it was already 11:10 and the thing was
supposed to end at noon!
As I drove in, I noticed that IMS had installed A
LOT more p.a. speakers along the viewing hills
on the back straight and along the F1 infield.
As I hustled the mile up toward the control
tower, I was jamming to the music they were
As I approached the entrance to the pit lane, I
found that they were wanting to see your pit
pass. I'd left mine back in the car! Ack! For a
second, I was thinking of the 2 miles I was
going to have to run, when the guy nodded at
me and let me through. Whew!
By some coincidence, I ran into a
co-worker just as I was entering the pit
lane. Why wasn't Dave at work?!
I don't know who that girl is; she just
walked up and starting hugging him.
Girls just do that to Dave. It must be his
There were thousands and thousands of
people here, I couldn't believe it!
I also heard many different languages, but
French was the only one I recognized.
The pit lane was packed and you could hardly
get through to snap a picture.
MICHAEL SCHUMACHER'S GARAGE
These Ferrari stools even had the
Scuderia insignia on the back.
Some teams had their garage
doors open and the mechanics
were setting stuff up.
JARNO TRULI'S GARAGE
Some teams were shut up tight as a drum
I did not see any drivers while I
was in the pits. Later I saw on the
Jumbotron that Michael
Schumacher came out in front of
people and was interviewed.
I walked over to the Museum
giftshop and bought some shirts,
then began the long trek back to
the car. While I never heard an F1
engine start up, I really enjoyed my
2 hours there. Having such a big
crowd made it feel like a bonafide
event! I was also happy to be
walking on the beautiful grounds
of the speedway while enjoying
perfect weather. However, I forced
myself to go into work in the
That's ok, I'll be back the next
three days in a row! Stay tuned.
Ferrari Pit Box.