Sunday, May 25, 2014

The Month of May (Indianapolis Motor Speedway)

May 2014 was fun at my favorite place on earth. We've been going to The Speedway a couple times a year for awhile now (cool pics of the Red Bull Indy GP event here and here), but this was the first time we've visited twice in May. Why? Because this was the first time they've had two races! 

Inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis

The first GP of Indy was held 15 days before the big race, and it was more fun than I expected. I still think it's weird to watch cars run the wrong direction around this place, I did like the old F1 layout better than the newly revised road course used for this race, and IndyCar wasn't expecting a big crowd so my expectations weren't high.

FLASHBACK:  2002 F1 Race from T2 (which isn't T2 in this race), back when the cars ran the real T1 (which wasn't T1 in this race).

On the bright side, the smaller crowd made track access easier than ever and the race ended up being pretty darn good. I reckon it was considered a success because they signed a sponsor for the next few years.

Main Street, Town of Speedway.
We parked on the street (for free) two blocks from the T1 gate.
It didn't take ten minutes to leave our penthouse seats and get back to the car.

Behind the linked chains
Laguna Blue Coupe I see
Must be VIP

Teriyaki Chicken Kabob.  $7, no holla.
Best food I've found at the track, and I always find it outside the front grandstands just before T1.

Starting grid and Gasoline Alley from the last box in E Penthouse.

Starting grid.

From some angles, the crowd looked impressive.
IMS said they'd be happy with 40,000 and they later said they were happy.
We thought it was similar to a MotoGP Saturday crowd, but probably a little smaller since parking was so much easier.


This isn't a blurry shot.
The planes are just going REALLY fast. Eh eh...

Start of the parade laps.
This start went a lot better than the race start.

The race start.
On the first lap of the first GP of Indy, they almost made it to the first turn.
Not really -- when the pole sitter stalls, bad things happen.

My man Juan Pablo also stalled, but nobody hit him.

Race Start II.
The restarts were a mess all day because they try to get all the cars lined up on the front straight before going green.
Bad idea.

The view from E Penthouse as the rookie Hawksworth showed everybody around the track for awhile after quickly and assertively taking the lead.

A pit strategy miscue probably cost him the race, but everybody knows who he is now.

Montoya and Castroneves ran together often.
Montoya was faster and on the same pit strategy he could have contended for the win.
But a bad pit stop midway through the race put him a lap down, and that was that.
Well, almost...

A demon on the brakes, the Corvette Stingray was never passed in T13.

Late race restart.

That's Graham Rahal in the wall, courtesy JPM, and ironically in the same spot where JPM started -- or didn't start -- the race.
Rahal had a lot of criticism for Montoya and for the way race officials handled the restarts.
The second one was valid.

Alone at the front
Torch Red Corvette Stingray leads
Yellow Hunter Reay

The leaders hit the last three corners on the last lap with the Indy skyline in the back ground.
The first two are saving fuel and the third is charging hard, but not hard enough.
I never thought they'd make it, but they did.

Winner Winner French Dinner.
A few months ago this dude was "racing" a Honda minivan at Pikes Peak.
For real.

On the way to Victory Lane, but going backward.
They've been going the wrong way all day!
Can Simon Pagenaud become the first driver to win two races at IMS in May?

Post-race fuel at Hooters.

98th Indianapolis 500

Next up was the big race -- a big one for me because I finally got to take our 13-year-old to the best sporting event in the world. I lost him to stick and ball sports many years ago and he's never paid any attention to motorsports of any sort. But he actually wanted to make the trip this year and bring a friend, and that is awesome!
Because I knew she'd ask me if the boys slept on the way up...

Infield parking is the way to go!
This was the first time we've parked inside for The 500 and it was great -- well worth the $50.
And they don't check your coolers so you can bring whatever you want. Just sayin'...

Boca BBQ before and after the race, in what is becoming a tradition of sorts.

FLASHBACK:  Boca BBQ in T1 with the Mayor of Hinchtown.
Someday we're gonna get Boca himself to this race, and hopefully he can bring the BBQ!

Well, lookie here now!

Group Photo I.
Normally we have the obligatory photo of a Corvette or motorcycle that has nothing to do with nothing, but these beauty was on display behind the Pagoda.

C7.R and C7.Coupe.

The baddest Corvette ever.
Perhaps the prettiest, too.
But not the only yellow #3 at the track today.


Group Photo II.
We forgot to take a real group photo, but now you've seen the whole group.
Every kid should have a Pagoda pic!

The pre-race festivities are always great, but they'll never be quite the same.
The balloons behind the Pagoda were released after honorary Hoosier Jim Nabors sang Indiana for the last time.

Big crowd, as per usual.
No, HUGE, crowd!
Kinda blew the kids' minds.


Turn One on Lap One of the 98th Indianapolis 500.

Juice with the boys, who were in awe on Lap One and totally blown away on Lap Two.

The famous yellow Pennzoil car was back in action, and that was nice to see!
On a race that started with 150 green laps, there were plenty of routine pit stops to be observed.

Sometimes those who pit together crash together.
In the only two-car crash of the day, these fastest two qualifiers ended up in the wall.

Good times for these two.

Not good times for these two.
Bubba managed to get a shot of the only crash we saw.


I'll say it again... It sure was neat to see the yellow Pennzoil car back at the front!
Many, including me, thought this was the proper livery to get Helio into the four-time winners club which also features my all-time favorite driver, Rick Mears, who also drove the yellow Pennzoil car and also mentors Helio.

But, there was this other yellow car...
The dude who probably should have one the GP of Indy was on a mission.

A red flag and a lot of yellow.
These three yellow cars ran 1-2-3 for much of the race.

The last restart, with those three yellow cars at the front.

The 98th Indy 500 featured the second closest finish!

While RHR went to Victory Lane, Helio spent a few quiet minutes in his car in pit lane.
So close to making history and obviously disappointed, he was a good sport when he did get out of the car.

After the race this was the only thing leaving the infield in a hurry.
A lot of folks seemed to think Kurt Busch was in there, but I'm pretty sure he wasn't.
Speaking of Kurt Busch... I'm not a big fan, but he sure was impressive in his first 500!

This is a little picture joke for any other folks who might listen to my favorite radio show on SiriusXM.
The much-hyped new-and-improved concession food was available at the track, and the good ol' Indy Grill spots were also still doing business as usual...