|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
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
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 standing start.
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
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 injured!
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.
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.
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 guy."
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 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 Sebastian Saveedra 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 Indianapolis!
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
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 worked out.
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.