|F1 Pit Walkabout
Thursday - September 25, 2003
I took the morning off work and headed to the
speedway for a new "event" - the F1 Pit Walkabout.
IMS somehow managed to talk the Formula 1
guys into letting down their high barriers
somewhat. While they still had everything
blocked off behind their garages so that no
fans could see in or come near, they were
going to let ticket holders walk along the pit
lane next to the front of their garages as they
setup for tomorrow's action. While this may
not sound very exciting to Americans, I
believe this is unprecedented in the Formula 1
I expected to see somewhere between 50-400
die-hard F1 fans like me who would take off work
just to look in a couple of garages. On the pit ticket,
it even said that they would park you close to the
pits and to enter the main gate.
As I drove closer to the speedway, through the
town of Speedway, I began to wonder. I saw cars
parked outside the track and a lot of people
walking around. Hmmm.
As I approached the main gate, I saw that it was
closed? I had to drive a mile past the speedway,
make a U-turn and get in line. All the infield
parking behind the tower and in Turn 1 was full!
They directed us to turn into the Speedway Motel,
where we s-l-o-w-l-y crawled all the way back to
park in the third turn infield. Dang, this meant a lot
of walking and it was already 11:10 and the thing
was supposed to end at noon!
As I drove in, I noticed that IMS had installed
A LOT more p.a. speakers along the viewing
hills on the back straight and along the F1
infield. As I hustled the mile up toward the
control tower, I was jamming to the music
they were playing.
As I approached the entrance to the pit lane,
I found that they were wanting to see your pit
pass. I'd left mine back in the car! Ack! For
a second, I was thinking of the 2 miles I was
going to have to run, when the guy nodded
at me and let me through. Whew!
By some coincidence, I ran into a
co-worker just as I was entering the
pit lane. Why wasn't Dave at work?!
I don't know who that girl is; she just
walked up and starting hugging him.
Girls just do that to Dave. It must be
his BMW shirt.
There were thousands and thousands of
people here, I couldn't believe it!
I also heard many different languages,
but French was the only one I recognized.
The pit lane was packed and you could
hardly get through to snap a picture.
MICHAEL SCHUMACHER'S GARAGE
These Ferrari stools even had the
Scuderia insignia on the back.
Some teams had their garage
doors open and the mechanics
were setting stuff up.
JARNO TRULI'S GARAGE
Some teams were shut up tight as a drum
I did not see any drivers while I was
in the pits. Later I saw on the
Jumbotron that Michael Schumacher
came out in front of people and was
I walked over to the Museum giftshop
and bought some shirts, then began
the long trek back to the car. While I
never heard an F1 engine start up, I
really enjoyed my 2 hours there.
Having such a big crowd made it feel
like a bonofide event! I was also happy
to be walking on the beautiful grounds
of the speedway while enjoying perfect
weather. However, I forced myself to go
into work in the afternoon.
That's ok, I'll be back the next three
days in a row! Stay tuned.
Ferrari Pit Box.