At one point, some guy on the sidewalk was banging on a plastic bucket like he thought
he was Neil Peart. I had to crank up my stereo for a while to drown that noise out.
When we finally got up to Gate 2, some officers had a group of us, turn off our engines!
I was surprised at the request. Then they walked a bomb-sniffing dog around the cars
while an officer walked along with what looked like a geiger counter! Was there a nuclear
bomb threat?! That was disconcerting.
Once inside, I parked fairly quickly along Hulman Blvd. near the road that
leads to the Pagoda. I was hoping for some porta potties, but there were none
in our parking area. Dang. As we walked toward the Pagoda, we passed a few
that had long lines. I had to trek to under the Tower Terrace for a bathroom.
We had planned to arrive early enough to walk around the plaza and Gasoline
Alley, but the traffic delay forced us to just head to our seats. That meant
walking under the tunnel to the outside of the track and then walking to the first
turn. Before I even made it to the tunnel, I had lost DR and ET in the crowd.
I reached our seats in Penthouse E before they did. I used the B Penthouse
elevators to get up there. Once you reach the south end of Penthouse B, you can
descend a flight of stairs and be at E Penthouse.
We arrived in time for the invocation, Taps and the patriotism songs.
A singer named Jewel did the national anthem on an acoustic guitar to a kind of
country music tune. I had never heard the song sung that way and thought it was a
nice rendition. (Later, my neighbor told me he heard that people were complaining
about it. I figured some people would.)
As you can see from the following photo that I took, it's the famous view often seen from the
professional photographers - we had incredible seats!
|The 107th Indianapolis 500 Mile Race
Sunday, May 28, 2023
I scored 4 tickets in the Stand E Penthouse for face value - $265 each.
This was my first time sitting in this coveted section for the race!
My friends E.T. and D.R. both took one and I had to sell the remaining
ticket to a stranger over the internet. That guy was from Southern California.
ET and I had went to Carb Day on Friday. Saturday we flew our remote control
airplanes in a big field. D.R. came over that night and we grilled steaks on the
patio and partied till midnight. The weather was really nice.
I went to bed at 1:15 a.m. which is pretty early for us on a race weekend.
That enabled me to get up early, at 8 a.m. Today we were going to try and
get to the track early. We hit the road at 10:10 a.m.
I had a parking pass to park inside the track in what the speedway calls
"5th and Hulman Parking." This meant we needed to enter Gate 2 off of 16th Street.
I drove through the city to 16th Street and then headed west toward the Speedway.
About three miles away, there was a traffic jam three lanes wide.
Tons of people passed us on foot and bicycle over the next hour and a half as
we inched our way toward the speedway.
|The Purdue University Marching Band.
The person in the zigzag dress behind them is a black opera lady who sang "America".
After the giant American Flag was unfurled across the 1st turn infield, a cannon was fired.
About a minute later, four F-16 fighter jets flew over the main straight, north to south.
As usual, all the fans sitting under roofs could not see them.
This year, for the first time, the jets swung back around and approached from the east and
headed right toward us. They flew low and as they passed over our heads, the noise was
super loud. It was very cool!
At 12:45 p.m., all of the cars rolled away to begin the three warm-up laps.
All the cars except Graham Rahal's that is! His car would not start! By the time the team
fixed it, Rahal would start the race two laps down. His emotional roller coaster ride continued.
In the past week he went from the misery of having failed to qualify for the race, to the miracle
of being handed the keys to Stefan Wilson's car, whom had been injured in a crash on Monday
and would not be able to race. And now this.
|The IndyCars Roll Out for Warm Up and Parade Laps.
|The green glass from the pit suites shimmered with reflections of the crowd below.
The 2nd wreck involved O'Ward and his race was finished.
The final restart was on lap 199 with Marcus Ericsson leading. He was passed by Josef
Newgarden who won his first Indy 500. Yes, it was an exciting lap, but those red flags
seemed to extend the end of the race an extra hour. Worth it?
|Involved in the last incident of the day, with several other cars, Benjamin Pedersen's car is towed away.
After the race, we hung out in the stands for an hour or more,
as did our new friend from Cali.
As we headed back to the infield, I bought this year's Indy
500 logo patch at a souvenir stand. I have a collection of
them going back several decades.
We had "after race garage passes' and entered the garage
area. By this time, not many teams or cars were around.
There were a few cars still undergoing technical inspection.
As we were leaving, they were pushing Newgarden's
winning car to the garages. The last two hours it was on
track being photographed, along with Newgarden.
It's kind of like a wedding, where the bride and groom
disappear for awhile before the reception, so a bunch of
photographs can be taken.
As we walked back to the car, we passed team trailers selling merchandise. I stopped at the
McLaren trailer as they were packing up. They said they had sold everything. There were
cars everywhere trying to leave.
Back at my car, there were not many cars left in our parking area, just a few stragglers tailgaiting
We set up lawn chairs and used my car for shade.
I had a big cooler in my trunk with more beer and food, such as fried chicken.
There was a line of traffic all along Hulman Blvd waiting to exit. It never seemed to end!
Finally, at 7:15 p.m. we drove off, exiting via Turn 2 and bypassing all the traffic on Hulman.
I was home in half an hour. I'd asked my neighbor to let my dogs out to potty, but he didn't.
No matter, the dogs did not go on my floor, even though we'd been gone about 10 hours.
My neighbor came over and joined us and we drank beer until midnight and watched the
broadcast of the race on Peacock.
It was a great day!
|The Winning Car Returns to the Garages
|D.R., Me and Reggie from SoCal, after the race
|After Win, Newgarden, wife & son rode around waving to the fans
with Roger Penske and Tim Cindric.
After winning, Newgarden parked on Finish Line
then crossed through gate in fence
to go celebrate in the crowd!
That's a first.
|Driving for McLaren, Tony Kanaan finished in 16th. He said this will be his last Indy 500.
|Pato O'Ward almost won, but crashed at the end.
|Conor Daly, driving for Ed Carpenter Racing, finished 8th.
|Josef Newgarden (winner) following Conor Daly
|Marco Andretti finished 17th in his only IndyCar race of the year.
|Helio Castroneves, driving for Meyer Shank Racing, finished 15th
|Santino Ferrucci, driving for A.J. Foyt Racing, started 4th and finished 3rd!
|Ryan Hunter-Reay, in a one-off for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, returned to IndyCar to finish 11th
|These young boys had race scanners.
|Rinus VeeKay started 2nd & finished 10th
|Colton Herta finished 9th
|Scott McLaughlin finished 14th
|Marcus Ericsson finished 2nd!
Most of the first half of the race was ran under green.
On Lap 91, I saw Sting Ray Robb hit the turn 1 wall. That brought out the first yellow.
Racing resumed uninterrupted until Lap 149 when Romain Grosjean crashed in Turn 2.
At that point, I went for a walk. The lines for the bathrooms on the Penthouse level were long,
so I took the elevator down to the ground. Surprisingly, there never seemed to be a line for
I went over to the scanner trailer and learned that they had sold all of the scanners they had
brought, and rented all the ones they'd brung for that purpose.
I sat at a table in the shade and enjoyed a cigarette. Some couple sat down and I learned
they were also from the south side and often visited the bar closest to my neighborhood.
Strangely, it is always surprising to meet people at the track who live near me.
I could clearly hear the P.A. there in the plaza behind the stands. I wished they had a TV
monitor back there. If they did, they might have a lot more people hanging out back there.
DR sat between ET and I. They both used foam earplugs throughout the race.
When ET would try to talk to me, I would take off my noise-cancelling FM headphones, but
I never could hear what he was saying and he couldn't hear me. Intercom headphones are
available from scanner companies. Note, they are wired together; not wireless. I would
like to try them some day.
|Clip of first restart, Lap 192
|They've added a Tickets & Credential
extension office in the plaza.
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A.J. Foyt Racing is having a good May for the first time in a long time. Their rookie driver,
Benjamin Pedersen, had been fast this month and driver Santino Ferrucci qualified 4th!
Toward the end of the race, Ferrucci was leading! It made me happy for A.J. He's invested
a lot in IndyCar over the decades and was one of the teams that stuck by the Indy 500
during the CART boycott 1996-2000, unlike Ganassi and Penske.
I wore my Pato O'Ward t-shirt and was rooting for him. He was easily in the running to win it
at the end. However, there were a series of crashes which brought out three red flags in the
last 15 laps. (Race officials clearly wanted the race to finish under green.)