DAN'S PHOTO JOURNALS
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I got my hands on 4 South Vista Deck tickets for face
value ($150 each) and sold our 2 Stand E tickets ($90
each.)  This was cool because my friend Ron wanted to
go with us.  I sold the extra deck ticket through this web
site to a guy from Wisconsin.  I was excited to get a deck
ticket as I've only had one once before.  Also, I had
never sat in the South Vista before.  (The deck are
two rows of seats that are high above the top of the
stand.)

It was kind of cold, in the 50s, and overcast.  I opted for
just shorts and a t-shirt and no hat.  Most people today
were dressed much warmer.

We departed my house about 8:50 a.m.  We had not left
early in many years and I was dreading massive traffic
jams.  

I took 465 around to the west side.  10th street was
backed up onto the interstate.  So we passed it and took
the next exit - Crawfordsville Rd.  This traffic was
moving, at least the right hand lane was flowing pretty
quick.  I have no idea why everyone was sticking to
the left lane.  Eventually we came to a place where the
cops had Crawfordsville Rd shut down and were making
everyone turn left.  So I turned right and went to 16th
Street where I went left toward the Speedway.  We got
pretty darn close, turned into Auburn Street and parked
on the corner in someone's yard for $25.  (I backed up
too far at first and hit the guys satellite dish which put a
small scrape and dent in my trunk lid.)

At first, we were going to enter toward the middle of
Georgetown Rd by the Pagoda and check out Gasoline
Alley and then head to the 3rd Turn infield.  We were all
carrying heavy coolers and decided to go to our seats
first to drop off our gear.  

There was a crowd to get in to the gate at the Ticket
Office area in Turn 1.  It went quickly even though
everyone had to open their coolers and bags for
inspection.  They had a line to the right for people with
no coolers or bags.

We were inside the speedway at 9:40 a.m.!  We had
done it and with no depressing traffic delays!

After dropping off our coolers and seat cushions up on
the deck, we headed into the track with a beer in our
hand.  Surprisingly, we ran into our friend Tim and his
son Daniel over by the museum.  Daniel goes to
Indiana University and this was his first trip to the 500
with his dad.

The three of us walked over to the nearest
people-shuttle stop, passing one of the police stations,
which featured fire trucks, State Police, Local police and
the FBI.  I think security was up more this year due to
the recent terrorist bombing at the Boston Marathon
finish line.  In fact, some of the runners who were unable
to finish that race showed up at the speedway today and
ran from the 4th turn to the finish line during pre-race
ceremonies.

As we rode up Hulman Blvd, I saw a VIP entrance where
a lot of guys were playing volleyball.

The people-mover quickly got us to the center of Turn 3.
There is a large party zone setup with a fence around it.
You have to wait in a fast line to go in, write down your
name and email address and receive a rubber wrist
band, where upon you enter at no cost.

There was a large inflatable slide.  There was various
games and refreshment stands set up around the
perimeter.  There was also a regular style bar set up.  
We stopped for a drink.  Ron and I wanted rum and coke
but the only drinks available were Beer and Jaeger.  
Ron and I opted for a Leinenkugel Summer Ale.

In the center was a stage with DJs pumping out some
heavy beats as a dense crowd of people danced.
There was a VIP lounge set up on a pedestal.  We made
our way behind it as we had no VIP pass.  I got one of
their bartenders to sell us Makers Mark and Coke. Yea!

There were hot chicks dancing on the stage.  We hung
out there and watched them  until it was time to head to
our seats.

We hopped on the people tram just before it took off.  It
took us first to the outside of the track north of the track.
I hopped off and ran back to the tram car behind us to
sit with Ron.  I yelled at ET to join us.  So he did likewise,
however some real old guy attendant started yelling at
ET about sitting down.  It was funny.

Back at the South Vista, we walked up all the stairs
again to the deck.  Now the place was full of people as
the race was nearing.  This is when we discovered a
major mistake.  We had sat our gear down in the wrong
section!!  I had to wade into these fans who were all
packed in and get all of our stuff out.  Yikes, what a
dummy mistake.
INDY 500 RACE DAY
Sunday, May 26, 2013
After last year's super late arrival to the track on race
day, ET and I vowed not to party the night before the
500 this year.  We ordered Chinese food and settled in
to watch some TV.  Two girls stopped by and begged us
to go downtown to party, but we held fast to our vows.  
None the less, we stayed up until 3 or 4 a.m. watching
Game of Thrones.

I got out of bed as soon as my alarm went off at 7 a.m.
Our plan was to depart at 8 a.m.

We were standing up on our seats in the top row, with a
fence to lean against.  We heard someone sing
America, we saw some old military airplanes fly over,
heard taps, heard the invocation by the arch bishop of
Indianapolis (who also prayed for the Indiana Pacers to
"ice the Heat" in that evening's NBA game.)  Jim Nabors
was able to attend this year and he sang "Back Home
Again In Indiana."  Finally, Mari Hulman-George told
the drivers to start their engines at 12:12 pm.

The cars did some warm up laps.  I never saw them in
3-wide formation, so the start caught me by surprise.

These seats were AWESOME!  I could completely see
turns 1 and 2.  I could not see the straights though.  To
my shock, I could see the cars zipping through the north
short chute and I could see them going through turn 4!  
Wow!

It was kind of breezy and overcast most of the day and I
was a little cold.  The sun tried to peek out later and the
air warmed up some.

My T-shirt said "I hate being Bi-polar.  It's AWESOME!"
and that became our joke of the day as we kept saying
something sucked, followed by It's AWESOME!  We got
a lot of laughs out of it amongst our juvenile selves.

Unlike my friends, I was able to stay in my seat for the
day without having to walk way down to the bathrooms.

There was a crash right after the start. However, during
most of the race, there were no cautions and the
passing into turn 1 was impressive.  By the end of the
race, there would be 68 passes for first place which blew
away the previous record.

Pole-sitter Ed Carpenter led the most laps.  I was
surprised to find AJ Allmendinger leading for awhile.  I
would have been happy to see Tony Kanann or Marco
Andretti win and they indeed had a chance as they were
often in the lead, along with Ryan Hunter-Reay.  Rookie
Carlos Munoz was up there too.

The Target Chip Ganassi team was having a bad day.  I
did not notice any of their 3 drivers (Franchitti, Dixon,
Briscoe) ever cracking the top 10.  I did not notice Will
Power having much luck today either.

After a restart near the end of the race, with 3 laps to
go, Dario Franchitti hit the wall and came to rest in the
south chute.  At this moment, Tony Kanaan had just
passed for the lead and the race finished under caution
with TK winning his first Indy 500.

TK has tried for many years and done well in the 500,
but had never won.  He is such a cool guy that everyone
likes him.  Everyone, fan and race teams alike, were
very happy for him.  Many people thought this fast race
was the best ever.  I say its too bad it did not finish
under green.

Our travel luck continued.  We left shortly after the race
and joined the throngs leaving the speedway.  We got
our car out onto 16th Street with no problem, dropped
the top, took Lynhurst to 10th Street to 465 and was
home by 3:30 pm!

This was a most excellent race day for us as everything
(other than the coolers debacle) went smooth for us.
Riding the shuttle to the Snake Pit
Back home, we had a small cookout, then retired to my living room to
watch the F1 Monaco race.  We all fell asleep during it and got up 9:30
pm.  ET and I finished watching the rest of season two of Game of
Thrones.

The next day, ET and I went on a long cruise to the country, each of us
driving his race-prepped 1993 VW VR6.  Boy, that car is his baby!  Here
were his rules to me:
1. Lightly shut the door.
2. Do not turn the wheels if the car is not moving
3. Do a 3-point turn around in a court instead of making a circle as he
doesn't want to wear the edge of his tires.
4. Do not shift into first if the car is rolling - come to a complete stop.
5. Press clutch all the way to the floor
6. Shift very slowly.
7. Do not touch the cruise control.
8. Do not roll down the windows when they were wet from the rain.

After all that, he told me I could drive fast.  I was not practiced at driving
fast on curvy country roads while trying to shift so slow, so I did not drive
fast.  What if I hit a bug with the windshield?  He probably would have lost
his mind.  ;-)  

Next time, I think we'll just take my Vette.