The Indy 500 is one of the most famous car races in the world, right up there with the Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. For a long time now, I’ve wanted to see all three of these classics. This past weekend, I crossed the first of them off my Bucket List, when I attended the 99th Indy 500 at Indianapolis.
In addition to an absolutely nail-biting race, I got a whole lot more than I bargained for…
But let’s start at the beginning.
On Friday, Carb Day, we attended the final practice session before the big race. My perspective for the action looked something like this:
Even with binoculars, this was the best view I could get of the pit complex:
But following the Indy Lights Freedom 100 race, I got a whole lot closer to the action.
We started in the garages, where we got some close-up views of the cars, and even met a couple of the drivers (more on that in the next week or so).
The garages at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway
An unusual angle of Juan Pablo Montoya’s Team Penske car
Bisckits and me checking out some Indy 500 boots
The business end of Sebastian Saavedra’s car
Then it was out onto the famous Gasoline Alley, for a walk around the pits. We even got to see the final of the Pit Stop Challenge from the track itself.
Under the grandstand and into Gasoline Alley
My first proper view of the IMS pits
Will Power’s car being rolled back to the garage after the Pit Stop Challenge
Charlie Kimball and his Ganassi Racing crew prepare for the final of the Pit Stop Challenge
And as tradition demands, I got to kiss Indy’s famous Yard of Bricks.
Patrick, Bisckits and me on the Yard of Bricks (on the actual track)
Kissing the Yard of Bricks
But things were just heating up.
Have you ever watched a big race on TV and enviously wondered who all those people are wandering around the grid as the cars form up for the start? Well, on Sunday one of those people was me!
I still can’t quite believe it!!
Back in the pits, this time on race day
The cars starting to arrive on the grid
Can I get over there with this pass?
Unbelievably, the answer is Yes!
I saw Stefano Coletti racing in GP2 in Budapest last year…
…Sue and I are thrilled to see him running in the Indy 500 this year
Jake Hawksworth’s office
Coming through! Gabby Chaves’s crew push his car towards its starting slot
I’m not sure about Connor Daly’s propellant – but it’s a great idea!
Apparently, Patrick Dempsey and his friends were thrilled to share the grid with me
In under an hour, I’ll be watching the race from the stands in the distance
This was everyone’s view of Ryan Hunter-Reay’s car last year – he won the race!
About to fire up Montoya’s car for one last system check before the start
The track’s view of JPM’s front wing
Me and Rich in 7th Heaven!
I’d like to take this opportunity to once again thank our friends Jeff and Ray for giving Sue, Rich and I a unique perspective on this amazing spectacle. We’ll all be grinning about it for many years to come!
I’ll take three!
The famous Indy Scoring Pylon
Marco Andretti’s crew grab a sandwich while they still can
The starting mechanism on Justin Wilson’s car
The front row of the grid an hour before the 99th Indy 500
… And everybody else
I love this tag on Simon Pagenaud’s front wing
… I hope this spanner on Will Power’s nose will also be Removed Before Flight
Come back later in the week to learn who I bumped into down at the IMS. I’ll even give you a blow-by-blow re run of the race in pictures!
This year’s Indy 500 Pace Car
And Mario Andretti’s ride for the afternoon
An unusual view of Turn 1
This post was inspired by Cee’s Which Way and Fun Foto Challenges this week, the latter of which is Perspective (unusual angle or point of view), and also by Nancy’s From a New Angle and Jo’s Monday walk.
The lull before the storm on Pit Row
Tools of the pit crew’s trade
I could work this, for sure!
“Hey, how’s it going?” last year’s winner, Ryan Hunter-Reay, greeted us on his way to the grid.
Amazingly, Ryan. Simply amazingly!
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