|Grand Prix of Indianapolis
Day 3 - IndyCar Race
Saturday May 10, 2014
E.T. showed up at my house last night about 2 a.m. D.R.
and Lynn were still at my house partying. We were all
really tired and I was soon asleep.
BW had wanted to get to the track in time for the Pin
Distribution at 10 a.m. Last night I texted him that I didn't
plan to leave until 11 a.m. None the less, he showed up at
my house around noon. We were packed up and ready to
go. I drove. Yesterday I took my camcorder and relied on
photos from BW who had his Nikon D40. Today I wished I
would have taken the camcorder again, but only took my
Nikon Coolpix, which I mainly used to shoot shaky video.
The weather forecast said there was a chance of rain,
however the entire day was warm and sunny!
On the way, BW was looking over my parking pass. I
thought it was for the infield, but he discovered it was
actually in a lot outside the track. This was a conundrum
as I had packed a very large cooler in my trunk with beer
and food. I had a tiny cooler that I had planned to use to
transport small quantities throughout the day.
I found a drug store near the track where I was able to buy
a medium sized cooler so I could carry in enough stuff to
last me the day.
BW didn't have a ticket, so he bought one in the parking
lot for Stand E. We separated as he went to his seat and
ET and I headed for our Corner 7 seats in the infield.
On the way, a car stopped next to me and the passenger
window was down. There sat Jacques Villeneuve, who
is one of my favorite drivers of all time! I blurted out
"Jacques?" and he looked over and said "Hi." I told him I
was a big fan as his car took off. Dang! Wish I'd had my
camera ready. There's been a signed photo of him
hanging in my kitchen, alongside Ayrton Senna, since
1997. A few years ago a photo of Dan Wheldon joined
them. I'd gotten Villeneuves autograph at Mid-Ohio in
As race time neared, we went to see if we could "sneak"
into the huge Tower Terrace. There was no one
checking tickets and plenty of room to sit. We wanted to
sit there to see the start of the race, which would be a
Honor guards appeared, a huge American Flag was
held across the track by a bunch of people. The race
track was packed with thousands of people.
After some parade laps the cars formed on the grid.
The tension built and Greg Ballard, the mayor of
Indianapolis waved the green flag.
There was an immediate problem as Sebastian
Saavedra's car stalled! He was on pole no less! Cars
began swerving to avoid him. His luck did not hold out
though as finally he got slammed by Carlos Munoz an
Mikhail Aleshin! It created a big mess on the track.
Also, some pieces of debris hit our mayor who was then
ET and I went to our stands, which were not full yet. Our
seats were 3rd from the top, but there was room in the top
row, so we moved up there. The stand sits perpendicular
to the back straight with a view of the cars zooming down
to a 90-degree left-hander. Everyone in the stands can
see turns 7 & 8.
Standing at the top allows one to look behind the stand.
To the east you can see the cars in turns 9 & 10. To the
south, you can see turns 12 & 13. Awesome!
We watched the Pro Mazda Race #2. Then we walked
over toward the plaza to look at the car show. There were
old Indy cars. There were a lot of old cool cars, going all
the way back to 1909. It was very crowded. We ran into
Dario Franchitti and ET took a photo of he and I
together. Unfortunately it came out all blurry. I was
wearing a Scott Dixon shirt, Franchitti's old team-mate. He
made a joke about him, but then said, "No, he's a good
We made our way back to our seats to watch the Indy
Lights race #2.
After that race, we had like an hour and a half before the
big IndyCar race. We met up with BW as a long parade of
multi-colored new C7 Corvettes rolled by. We made our
way back toward the plaza to look at more cars.
As usual, I was rooting for Scott Dixon. As usual, he
tangled with Will Power and came out the loser as
usual, as he was punted off the track. Grrrr.
We saw an exciting wreck in turn 7 involving Martin
Plowman whom I had never heard of before. He cut the
corner short, lost his backend and hit Franck
Montagny. His car climbed up the top of Montagny's
car and flipped up in the air but came down right side
up. Montagny's car was damaged and he spun, as you
can see in the following series of photos.
Ryan Hunter-Reay & Simon Pagenaud
exiting stage after driver introductions.
Rookie Jack Hawksworth
Polesitter Sebastien Saavedra
The Start! #17 Stalls on the grid!
Back to Corner 7
Then later, James Hinchcliffe suddenly pulled to the far right as he approached
turn 7. He pulled off the course in front of us. Workers pulled his car back out of
the way. I didn't understand what was happening. But Hinch was in obvious pain
as he got out ot the car and almost fell over as workers grabbed him. He was
holding his head with both hands the whole time. He was quickly put on a gurney
and taken away.
A lot of cars that were leading had to pit at the end of the race and
Frenchman Simon Pagenaud captured the win of the first Grand Prix of
We hung out for awhile then headed to the car, where we waited around for a
little while as traffic subsided. It still took awhile to get home. Our food and
drink lasted us through the day!
The Corvette Pace Car pulled off the track eary - it appeared it had an overheating problem.
People have been dissing IndyCar's standing starts
which they began trying at some road course races last
year. They have had lots of trouble with them. But I find
Formula 1 starts to be very exciting and I hope IndyCar
continues to do them. I just hope they get the kinks
Eventually the cars restarted with a running start. After
watching for a few laps, we all headed back to my seats
at turn 7. BW was able to con his way in even though
they were checking tickets. Fortunately there was
enough room for him.
Most of these photos were taken by BW
A French Delahaye
Update: I later learned that a large piece of debris
hit him in the head as we was approaching Corner
7 at 170 mph. He suffered a concussion.