Sunday, May 27, 2012

Where I Live ...

I went to the Speedway last Saturday to watch the Pole Day qualifying.
I got there about 8:30 in the morning so was able to watch most of 
the morning practice session. I went to Grandstand E, outside of
Turn One, where I could see up the Front Straight into Turn Four, 
all of Turn One, the South Chute and most of Turn Two.
No wonder I've never been able to get a race day seat there!
Not only was the view great, but I was in the shade and enjoyed
a pleasant breeze for the seven hours I watched the cars.

Detractors will say that the "500" has suffered in popularity 
over the past 20 to 30 years. They base this on the fact that the stands
for qualifying are not nearly as full of spectators as they
were in earlier decades. I prefer to believe the fall-off in spectators 
is because there are so many more outlets and ways for people 
to spend their money; no longer is the Speedway the only game in 
town as we have a high-quality professional football franchise,
a very good basketball team, a nice AAA baseball team, as well as
any number of other entertainment venues that didn't exist 30 to 50
years ago. Add to that the fact that satellites and computers mean we can
watch the Qualifications from our homes on our televisions
and/or our computers. So why sit in stifling heat or drenching rain?

Yet, there is nothing at all that can be as visceral as the sounds of
engines, the smell of tire rubber as thirty-three brightly colored cars rush
at speed into Turn One. Somehow, most of the drivers, most of the time
get it figured out. It's a physical and mental endurance challenge
I have always admired. Many of them are triathletes, which only seems
like a natural outgrowth of the drivers' conditioning regimens.

Many of the homes in Speedway are decorated
for the occasion, some are comparatively understated,
like the home above, others are more involved, like the
home below. Either way, it's like Christmas.

As I've mentioned before, a lot of homeowners open their yards 
to out-of-town spectators, providing parking spaces,
as well as water and toilet facilities. I saw this sign last spring, as well as 
decorations in another yard I hope to post within the next day or two
(I've lost the original image, so need to return to the house to take
more pictures.)

P.S. The Lotus cars su-u-u-u-u-ck, their qualifying averages 
being a full 12 to 16 mph slower than the pole-winning car,
7 to 11 mph slower than the slowest Chevy or Honda.
This is a serious concern as the cars will very quickly be overwhelmed
by the swarm of cars that will overtake them within a few laps.
I feel sorry for Jean Alessi and Simona De Silvestro,
the Team Lotus drivers. Wha' happin'?


dive said...

Woah! That is a truly awesome spot for race watching, Speedway. And you're right as always: there is nothing … nothing in the whole wide world that matches the thrill of getting up close and personal with race cars. The cars, the people, the pits, the paddock, the track, the glorious smells, the sheer, mind-buggering NOISE … Woohoo!
Bring on race day!

Valladolid Daily Photo said...

Wish to be there today, I love racing sports, in 1 hour I´m going to watch (at the TV) the F1 Monaco Grand Prix. What time will Indy 500 start?

Speedway said...

Valladolid, as I type this, it is 7:15 am. The Monaco GP starts (for me) in about 15 minutes. The Indy 500 telecast in the US starts at 11 a.m., with the race starting at 1 p.m. EDT. Does that help?

Speedway said...

Hi, Dive. The Monaco GP is just beginning. I am making my breakfast to enjoy during the first few laps. I wish I had Champagne to add a little more to my own little atmosphere, but, eh, that's the way it is. Next year. I will have strawberries with my yogurt and French press coffee, though. Then I'll leave for the track to watch the 500 from the north end of the front stretch grandstand. Will see some pit action and cars as they come out of one.

Speedway said...

Guys, try this link for live streaming of the 500, as well T&S.

dive said...

Just home from watching Monaco at Phil's. Now enjoying the live track Map and commentary from Indy. Thanks for the link, Speedway!

dive said...

Now that was FUN! Yay! Two awesome finishes in two great races.
I need to go have a lie down.