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DAN'S PHOTO JOURNALS
The Platypus
Formula One ~ Race Day Photos
Sunday June 19, 2005
Three friends joined me today: Keith, Russ and
Russ's 13 y/o son Jordan. We planned to leave for the
track by 9 a.m., but didn't leave until 11 am.
Georgetown Rd was blocked so we had to continue
west on 16th. I noticed they were still letting cars in to
park in the infield. We were going the wrong way
though and just parked across the street. I expected
less traffic this close to racetime.
As soon as we entered, we
saw the motorcycle parking
lot was crowded.
We were too late to catch any of the first
three races (Porsche Supercup, Infiniti Pro
Series and Formula BMW USA.) We
walked over to the Honda tent and then
headed toward the pagoda as there was
only 45 minutes to go until race time.
Fans streaming toward their seats
in anticipation of the big race.
We decided to watch the start of the
race at the south end of Tower
Terrace. The 70's R&B group "The
Commodores" were performing on
the pagoda stage to our left.
Soon, the teams began hauling their
gear out to the circuit. About 12:30, the
cars began coming out of the pits, some
doing a practice start, and driving all the
way around the circuit to take their place
on the grid.
A children's choir sang the national
anthem and there was a USAF fly over.
The teams getting everything ready to go...
This was young Jordan's first
grand prix and I was explaining to
him how the cars would all take off
as they did their warm-lap, come
back around on the grid, and how
the starting lights worked.
I could not see the pits from my
seats, but I could see part of the
grid. I quickly noticed that the only
cars in sight were the two Ferraris.
I jerked around to look at my friends in
dismay. "Where is everybody?"
No sooner had I done that, than the
Ferraris took off! "What the hell? Is
someone not ready? Are they making
another warmup lap?"
They were soon followed by four other
cars. Two yellow ones and two black
ones. "What happened?! Did the race
start?!?!?! They sure took off like it
was a start. I've never seen anything
like this. DUDE, What the hell is going
on???
It soon became apparent that these F1
idiots were going to start the race
even if everyone was not ready. As a
few laps went by, I kept waiting for a
red flag and restart, but nothing
happened. Ok, now I was mad. This
was absolutely ridiculous. It was
beyond belief!
We got up to move down to the
opposite end of the very long Tower
Terrace where are seats were. As
luck would have it, we got tangled in
with all the U.S.G.P. pit girls. Jordan
and Keith look happy.
But I was stewing. We bought some
food and went back in. If I hadn't
brought my friends, I would have just
left. My seat was the very last seat in
the stand. There was some guys
there in our seats who started to
give me some grief, asking to see
my ticket, etc. I was in no mood for
any more bullshit, and I was none
too kind making them move.
The idea of sitting here was that I
could see the main straight and first
turn like many people, but I could
look over to my right and watch the
infield section of the race too. Good
idea, but these seats were too low
to be much good (row L). My best
view was of Turn 6 where I took the
following photos of the cars in this
"race".
The two Ferraris raced each other I
guess. The other two teams to
compete were Jordan and Minardi -
the two slowest teams in F1. They
finished 1 and 2 laps behind
respectively. There was one exciting
moment when Michael Schumacher
came out of the pits as his
teammate was going by. They hit
turn 1 at the same time and Rubens
Barrichello was forced to the grass.
Everyone pretty much knew that the
seven teams who did not race were
all using Michelin tires and that
Ferrari was using Bridgestones. I
knew F1 had come up with a new
rule where teams must not only use
the same engine for two race
weekend, but also use only one set
of tires over one race weekend.
Sounds like a dumb idea to me.
Before the race ended, we made
our way back down toward the
pagoda to see the award
presentation. Too many people
were in the way to see anything
though.
There were quite a few spectators
who seemed as upset about this
event as I was.
Guys began climbing the catch
fence for a better view.
Local government was concerned
about a riot over this stupid "race",
so they called out every copper in
the city to come to Speedway.
These sheriffs soon had everyone
climbing back down to the ground.
The majority of spectators are
Ferrari fans, and some of them were
happy about the win for Michael.
All I know is I want my money back.
October Update: Thanks to Michelin, everyone received a complete refund!