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94th INDY 500
May 30, 2010
ET and I wanted to get to the track early, but left my house at
11:20 a.m.   The race starts at 1 p.m.

I decided to catch a race day shuttle on the south side of
downtown.  Parking was $5 and the round-trip bus ticket was
$22.
It did not take long for the bus to get us to Speedway.  They
dropped us off on Main Street, just north of 16th Street.
We got to our seats in the SE Vista, Sect 25, row
EE as Florence Henderson was singing.   Excellent
view from these seats.  The prayer went on for a
long time.  We heard "Taps' and saw 3 fighter jets
fly over head.  
Main Street
Speedway Indiana
We made our way over to turn 2.
We ran into Wheeler who had seats in the top row
of the South East Vista, which provided both
shade and a good breeze.  He said he'd try to get
us some seats up there eventually.   He had 4
seats, but brought his wife and 3 daughters and
they were currently all up at the seats.  He
bought a general admission for himself and was
going to watch the start of the race from the
infield.   What a hero.
ET & Wheels using someone's canopy set-up.
Shade was important on this 95 degree day!
Finally the cars came out for their parade lap, with
several red Camaros and a two-seater IndyCar
leading them.  The two-seater was something new -
Mario Andretti was driving it and his passenger was
movie star Mark Wahlberg.  On the final practice
lap, the car sped up and left the field behind.  I'm
not sure exactly what this stunt was all about.  Just
something cool for a VIP I guess.  Waving the green
flag was the Oscar-winning actor, Jack Nicholson;
not that I ever saw him from turn 2.

The stands seemed very full this year.

I brought only my little camera this year.  I had a
cooler of beer and a seat cushion.  We didn't smoke  
much in the stands today.

The race started off fast and furious.  I saw 3 cars
side-by-side going into turn two.  47 y/o Davey
Hamilton did not make it out the other side.  A few
laps after the restart, Bruno Junqueira crashed in
turn two.  After having broken his back at the
speedway once and then struggling to get rides at
Indy, I was hoping he would have good luck today.  
Tony Kanaan seemed to have the crowd's sympathy
vote after his qualifying disaster as well as the
tough luck he's encountered at Indy.

I chose a thin white shirt to wear today.  
Unfortunately it didn't breathe, so I was drenched
immediately sitting in the hot sun.  A caution came
out on lap 49 and I was ready to find shade.  ET and
I walked back toward our canopy and ran into
Wheeler and his 3 girls.  The girls wanted to go for
a walk-about and ET and I got their seats.  We
enjoyed most of the rest of the race from those
excellent seats in the shade and breeze.  

At one point, I was holding up one of Wheeler's
coolers so that they could get to a cooler below it.  
The cooler I was holding was dripping ice water on
their 12 y/o who immediately pushed the cooler
away, out over the heads of the people sitting in
front of us.  Those people got drenched.   I later
found out the guy sitting next to them was the
president of a computer company I worked for back
in the 90s.  Small world.

ET and I had left all our coolers and stuff back at
our seats, so we returned there when the race had
20 laps to go, and finished watching it from there.  

Before the last lap, there was a horrific accident on
the other side of the track, which I could not see.  
It caused the race to finish under yellow, which was
obviously disappointing.

The accident saw Mike Conway's racer fly up into
the catch fence.  His car got obliterated and he
ended up with a broken leg and back.  Hunter-Reay
was involved too, but he only injured his thumb.  Two
spectators were hospitalized with some injuries
from the flying debris.

Dario Franchitti won the race for the second time.
The huge crowd stayed afterward longer than they
usually do.  Eventually they cleared out enough so
that we could get back up to the top row and the
shade.  We moved back over to Wheelers so that I
could reimburse them some beer.

ET and I stayed up there for an hour.  The only
people left in the stands were the workers who
were gathering up the rented seat cushions.  I also
saw this one guy going around and taking down all the
race flags - they sure weren't wasting any time
closing things down!   No yellow shirts ever told us
to leave.  We walked out at 5:38 pm.

We did a lot of stair climbing today.

I was shocked to find a sea of people waiting in
line to catch the busses out of there.  They stood
in the streets in the boiling sun.   I was
miserable!  I wanted to be at home in the A/C.  I
called everyone I knew who was at the race, to
see if I could catch a ride out of there.  No one
was going to turn back to get me.

I found a small patch of grass in the shade of a
sign at the intersection of 16th Street and Main
Street, and I laid my head on my cooler and tried
to sleep.

I went across the street and bought some food
from a Church's Fried Chicken.  I had not eaten
all day, and this food revived me tremendously.  
I had not had to use the restroom all day either
because I was sweating out all the beer I drank.

It was 96 degrees today - the hottest Indy
500 in history!

Some people in line apparently were falling like
flies, as ambulances drove up to take them
away.  I thought that was a good plan to get out
of there, albeit a bit drastic.  A lot of taxis
began to roll through.  I heard they were
wanting $50 and more

By 7:30 pm the line had dwindled enough for me
to get in line.  ET and I found a cool megaphone
that someone had discarded in the street.  It
worked, so I kept it.  We were able to get on a
bus and finally head back to my car.  
My car sitting lonely out in the bus parking lot.
ET sitting in a sign's shade
When we got back to my car, the parking lot
was empty and it appeared we must have
caught the last bus.  I WILL NEVER TAKE A
SHUTTLE BUS AGAIN!

I thought today's race was a good one.
The line for the busses hours after the race ended.
Dario Franchitti, his wife Ashley Judd & team
owner Chip Ganassi  take a victory lap in a Corvette
Z06 convertible because the pace car (Camaro)
isn't available in convertible form.
People seeking shade during race
Wheeler's great shady seats!
16th Street, across from the entrance to the speedway
Once near our turn, we found shade under a
deserted canopy.   There were chairs and a table,
so we hung out there. and drank and smoked.

I actually quit smoking May 1st, but made an
exception when ET showed up with some cigs.

We would return and spend some time here during
some stretches in the middle of the race.
Cigs were $8 at the
snack bar.  Yikes!
Stand G was the only
stand that wasn't full
from my vantage point.
Pre-race parade lap
With a crash in the
south short chute, the
other drivers enter the
pit lane
Cars in the pit lane
P.S. I later learned that 1500 people required
medical care today due to the heat!

P.S.S.  I didn't make it to
Carb Day this year.  
It was a very hot day.  

Reportedly, there were 20,000 people at the ZZ
Top concert.  The stage was low and only the few
people at the front of the crowd could see the
show.

The Speedway needs to build a taller stage for
Carb Day!  

I also heard from some attendees that it didn't
sound good, others said it sounded fine.  I guess it
depended upon where you were at in relation to
the speakers.
DAN'S PHOTO JOURNALS