On the Grid at the Indy 500!!!

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.

DSC_0099In 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:

DSC_0108Even with binoculars, this was the best view I could get of the pit complex:

DSC_0100But 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

The garages at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway

An unusual angle of Juan Pablo Montoya's Team Penske car

An unusual angle of Juan Pablo Montoya’s Team Penske car

Bisckits and me checking out some Indy 500 boots

Bisckits and me checking out some Indy 500 boots

The business end of Sebastian Saavedra's car

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

Under the grandstand and into Gasoline Alley

My first proper view of the IMS pits

My first proper view of the IMS pits

Will Power's car being rolled back to the garage after the Pit Stop Challenge

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

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)

Patrick, Bisckits and me on the Yard of Bricks (on the actual track)

Kissing the Yard of Bricks

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

Back in the pits, this time on race day

The cars starting to arrive on the grid

The cars starting to arrive on the grid

Can I get over there with this pass?

Can I get over there with this pass?

Unbelievably, the answer is Yes!

Unbelievably, the answer is Yes!

I saw Stefano Coletti racing in GP2 in Budapest last year...

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

…Sue and I are thrilled to see him running in the Indy 500 this year

Jake Hawksworth's office

Jake Hawksworth’s office

Coming through! Gabby Chaves's crew push her car towards its starting slot

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!

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

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

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!

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

About to fire up Montoya’s car for one last system check before the start

Montoya's machine

Montoya’s machine

The track's view of JPM's front wing

The track’s view of JPM’s front wing

Me and Rich in 7th Heaven!

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!

I’ll take three!

The famous Indy Scoring Pylon

The famous Indy Scoring Pylon

Marco Andretti's crew grab a sandwich while they still can

Marco Andretti’s crew grab a sandwich while they still can

The starting mechanism on Justin Wilson's car

The starting mechanism on Justin Wilson’s car

The front row of the grid an hour before the 99th Indy 500

The front row of the grid an hour before the 99th Indy 500

... And everybody else

… And everybody else

I love this tag on Simon Pagenaud's front wing

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

… 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

This year’s Indy 500 Pace Car

And Mario Andretti's ride for the afternoon

And Mario Andretti’s ride for the afternoon

An unusual view of Turn 1

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

The lull before the storm on Pit Row

Tools of the pit crew's trade

Tools of the pit crew’s trade

I could work this, for sure!

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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About Jaspa

Star of my own award-winning adventure novels, Jaspa's Journey. Geocaching addict & F1 fan. Adventure Journeyer & blogger extraordinaire. Check out my website: www.jaspasjourney.com And don’t forget to download the books and see what the buzz is all about!
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26 Responses to On the Grid at the Indy 500!!!

  1. Sue says:

    Oh, what fun! The noise must have been ear splitting!

  2. What an amazing experience. I’m just a little bit jealous. 😉 Thanks for including my challenge on this!

  3. restlessjo says:

    I need a pit stop after that 🙂 🙂 Thanks for sharing.

  4. Cee Neuner says:

    Such a fun post, once again, from you. 🙂 Thanks.

  5. Pingback: Making Friends at the Indy 500 | Jaspa's Journal

  6. Pingback: Jo’s Monday walk : Canalside in Nottingham | restlessjo

  7. Lucid Gypsy says:

    Wow, what an amazing experience!

  8. Pingback: The 2015 Indy 500 (As Seen From Turn 4) | Jaspa's Journal

  9. Pingback: The Day I Met Justin Wilson | Jaspa's Journal

  10. Jaspa says:

    Reblogged this on Jaspa's Journal and commented:

    When watching motor races, I’m always envious of those people who get onto the grid before the start
    of the race. Well, on this day last year at the Indy 500, I became one of those people!
    I wonder if I can pull it off again today?!

  11. Randy says:

    Hey jaspa
    I am so glad you and those people you travel with are having a great time at Indy. I am soooo jealous but happy for you too.
    Have a great time
    Robbin and Randy

  12. browney237 says:

    I live about 200 metres from The Adelaide Clipsal 500 Track (a street circuit). Just love watching the circuit being built and then the race itself. I have only had the chance to be in the out wall once – amazing experience.
    I am very envious!

  13. Pingback: Sailing in Magellan’s Wake in Patagonia | Jaspa's Journal

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