On Wednesday, there was a test session at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway
to check various configurations of the IMS road course.
It is anticipated that IndyCar will a add a road course event
to the schedule next year, to be held at IMS.
Of course, the sound of a race car engine will lure racing fans
from their homes or workplaces. Folks bring chairs and coolers to spend
the day watching and listening to the cars as they navigate
the oval or road course. They indulge in various interpretations
of fact, rumor, or fantasy as they pass their time
on the spectator mounds inside Turn Two, a pastime
otherwise known as "bench racing."
People bring their children, introducing them to what is hoped
will become a lifetime love of the speed, smells, and skills
involved in this sport. In the top picture, a young man experiences
his first interview, perhaps in anticipation of a future as a driver or
a chief mechanic, where development of the savvy needed
to cope with the ever-present media cannot start too early.
The second young man is observing, carefully noting how the car
is handling through the tight turns. Perhaps his future is to be that of
an engineer or as an official, observing the behavior of all the
competitors on the track.
Participants in the Wednesday session were the National Guard-sponsored
car owned by Panther Racing and driven by Ryan Briscoe,
and the Rahal-Letterman-Lanigan Racing team, whose Hewlett-Packard
car was driven by Graham Rahal. During the time I was there,
Ryan Briscoe, whose car is shown above, made most of the laps.
Among the visitors to Turn Two was the recently hired Director of
Operations and Competition for Indycar, Derrick Walker.
Walker began his auto racing career in the 1970s as
a mechanic for the Brabham Formula One team,
then owned by Bernie Ecclestone. He eventually worked for
Penske Racing, first for Penske's Formula One effort,
then on to Indy Car racing, where he enjoyed a great deal of success,
being involved in the team's four series championships,
as well as four wins of the Indianapolis 500.
Walker's knowledge, experience, and integrity are
well-known and respected by the racing community,
which has led to his current position.