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IndyCar Grand Prix
85 Laps of Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course
Saturday, May 11, 2019
Approaching the Viewing Mounds from Turn 3 Parking
BW called me at 10 a.m. waking me up.  He told me Greg had dropped
off some suite passes on my doorstep.  BW said he was on his way to
my house, so I better get up and get ready.

After a shower, coffee and breakfast, I prepared some sandwiches and
snacks for the day.  I packed them in my cooler along with some beer.  
The suite would have free food and beer, but I wasn't taking any chances.  
This ended up being a wise decision I guess.  Rain was a possibility
around race time.  I had planned on watching the IndyCar race from one
viewing hill, and the Indy Lights race from another.  I brought my chair
for sitting on hills.  It was cool outside.

We hit the road at noon.  I drove around I-465 to 38th Street and entered
the speedway property from 30th Street.  The North 40 was very full of
cars.  What these people did not know was that if they ignored the parking
attendant and went right and drove down the long lane toward the track,
they could purchase infield parking for $25, and that's just what we did.

The passes Greg gave us took care of our gate admission, which saved
us $35 each.

Once parked in the Turn 3 infield, I grabbed my camera and new fannypack
(which holds two beers) and began the trek toward the track.
The IndyCar Grand Prix!
Video of Indy Light Cars Racing Down the Back Straight
I guess the plan was to walk up to the Pagoda Plaza and Gasoline Alley, where the suite was.

After crossing the bridge that goes over the race course, we ran into Greg!  He had brought
his 29 y/o son Zack.

Cars began zipping down the back stretch and we stopped and watched them for awhile.  
I thought it was the IndyCars warming up.  They were traveling so fast, I could not see that they
were Indy Light cars and this was a race!
If I'd known that was a race, I would have went somewhere to watch it.
Instead, I followed my three friends as they wandered around looking at stuff.

Here are some photos of the Kids Zone.  They had a lot of bouncy houses and
stuff in there.
I walked behind this giant video screen.
It looked like it was made up of a lot of
regular TV screens all hooked together.
Team Penske Souvenir Trailer
McLaren Souvenir Trailer
Greg wanted to go into an IMS gift tent to buy
something.  I spotted a McLaren trailer and,
being a Fernando Alonso fan, I told them I
would be there.  

I spoke to a British lady who was working
there.  She told me I'd just missed Rubens
Barrichello, who had stopped to buy one of
their shirts.  She said no one recognized
him!  I would have!  Later that night, I was
relating this story to BW, and he told me that
around this time, he was in the plaza and
saw some guy standing around all alone.  

He sensed that the guy was famous and
bewildered that no one was recognizing him.  
I showed BW a photo of Rubens and he
confirmed that that was the guy!  
Impressive intuitiveness.

(Later that night I remembered that Ruben's
son Eduardo was now competing in the
USF2000 racing series, which is part of the
"Road To Indy" ladder system.  That's why
the famous Ferrari teammate of Michael
Schumacher was here in Indy.)

Anyway, I bought an awesome Kimoa hat
that Alonso is wearing this month ($35).  
(Kimoa are one of his sponsors.  )

While I preferred getting an Alonso shirt that
was in McLaren orange, they did not have
that, so I got a blue Indy 500 Fernando
Alonso t-shirt.  ($32)

At this point, I realized that the gang had
wandered off, leaving me behind.

I tried calling, but my phone didn't get service.

I was to spend the rest of the day by myself.
My friends Greg, BW, Zach & Mr.Potato
I was torn.  Do I go to the suite, or to my car
for my chair and cooler?

I was not interested in watching from a suite
along the main straight - I wanted to see the
cars race on the curvy sections in the infield.  

It was 2 p.m. and I asked some passerby if
they knew when the Indy Lights race started.  

He told me 2:25 pm.  

That would leave me just enough time to walk
all the way back to the car, get my stuff, and
find a spot on the viewing hills.  

I figured I'd watch that race, then I'd have an
hour to venture over to the suite and look
Today's Lesson:
Carry a race schedule with you!
I went to my car, got my stuff and went over and
setup camp on the grassy hill at Turn 6 - the
spot where the racers turn into the back stretch.

It was now 2:30 and there was no racing.  

So I asked the guy next to me what was going
on. That's when I discovered the Indy Lights
race was over!

The final event of the day - the IndyCar race,
wasn't going to start for an hour!  Oh no!  I
totally goofed up!  

I was hungry, as well as a little tired from
walking around, so I decided to just stay put
and eat the food I'd brought.
The North West Vista stand.
I sat at the far north end of the back stretch
viewing hills.
Simon Pagenaud - Team Penske
He won the inaugural race in 2014; he also won it in 2016
He would win it again today!
Alexander Rossi - Andretti Autosport
Winner of the 100th Indy 500
Ed Jones - Ed Carpenter Racing
James Hinchcliffe - Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsport
Ryan Hunter-Reay - Andretti Autosport
2014 Indy 500 Winner
2012 IndyCar Champion
Scott Dixon - Chip Ganassi Racing
2008 Indy 500 Winner
2003, 2008, 2013, 2015, 2018 IndyCar Champion
Matheus Leist - AJ Foyt Enterprises
Pairs of drivers were paraded by, standing in white pick-up trucks.  They were far
enough away when they drove by me that I could only recognize a few.

I brought a new rain jacket and put that on to keep warm during the race.

Light sprinkles began at the start of the race and slowly increased until about the mid
way point when it became heavier and drivers began switching to rain tires.  

I pulled up the hood on my yellow jacket and threw a yellow poncho out over my out-
stretched legs.  I probably looked like a giant banana!  It kept me dry.

I noticed that the speedway has put fencing up in most of the slots that used to be
open for photographers to shoot through.  That’s lame!  

If you find an area where you can get up to the catch fence, you can poke your lens
through a small square hole.  However, it's very difficult to try and pan to photograph
a moving car that way.

The spot I camped out at is the most handy place to sit when you park in the turn 3
infield, but it is not the best place to watch the race from:
The rain had increased enough so that the cars had to pit and switch from slicks to rain tires.
There are now viewing hills over in the first couple of turns.  That is the place to
watch all that 1st turn excitement.  However it is full and likely standing room only.

The IndyCars did not seem as loud to me today.  

After the race was over, I went back to my car, turned it on and heated it up.  
It began to rain hard after the race was over.  

I called BW.  He was at the suite and would head to my car.
He brought no rain gear today.  He had a cold, wet, 20-minute walk back.

We waited around a little while.  Once it looked like everyone was gone, we drove

Once on the outside of the track, I saw that there were thousands of cars still in the
North 40 lot who were waiting to get out!  

Oh no!  

I figured we'd be stuck there for a long time.  

Fortunately for us, the traffic guys in their yellow rain gear, gave priority to cars
exiting the track.  It only took me 5 minutes to get out onto 30th Street and head
home.  I'm glad I went!
First off, there are no scoring devices to be seen.  There was a portable video
monitor much further south of me, but it was too small and far away to be of
much help.  (Having headphones and a radio would have been handy.)  

The cars zip by fast enough that you only have a second or two to recognize a
driver by his car’s livery.  The IndyCars have a bright red LED light that shows
their position.  I  had to see that number and simultaneously remember who
was driving that car.  By this method, I was able to follow the race.  

Another bad thing about this area is that normally there is no passing there.
However today I did see one pass, when Will Power got around Simon

A third bad thing about this area is that the view to the right is blocked by
3-layers of fencing.
My Camp Site
Too Much Fencing!
Lucas Kohl zipping by in his Indy Lights car
He went on to win the race!
A-10 Thunderbolt II Fly Over
122nd Fighter wing - Fort Wayne, IN

This photo was taken by BW.
Problems With North Viewing Hill
Firestone was giving away posters.
More Photo Journals from this May:
May 18 - Saturday
May 23, Thursday
May 24 - Friday
May 26 - Sunday