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This humble blog was started to document our travels around the country during the summer of 2006, We have opted to continue updating it due to the requests from family & friends. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

The Last Lap

October 5, 2010

Photobucket Brandon Wagner


Photobucket Marco Andretti & Michael

The Last Lap

Homestead Motor Speedway was opened in 1995 as part of the economic redevelopment of South Florida after he devastating Hurricane Andrew pummeled the area in 1992. It has been host to Indy Car racing since the CART series first race there in the spring of 1996. Since that time I have had the good fortune to attend every Indy car race held at the facility including races held under the CART banner, the Champ Car World Series and most recently the Indy Racing League.



I have witnessed triumph and tragedy ranging from Greg Moore’s dazzling final race win in 1999 to the tragic death of driver Paul Dana during practice in 2006. Sadly though, this year marks the final Indy Car race at the beautiful facility for the near future. Poor attendance and a financial stand-off between the track owners and the league mean that this year’s season finale will be a bittersweet occasion.



Photobucket Jean & Michael

As always, Kathy & I headed up to Homestead to catch the qualifying and final practice session. We had reservations at the nearby Redland Hotel in downtown Homestead, but we first headed to the track where we were meeting some friends, Michael & Jean who also were up from Key West to attend the race with us. We were fortunate to have all access pit and paddock passes and Kathy & I were even surprised with passes to the Andretti Motorsports Hospitality area from our friend Jason who works on driver Marco Andretti’s team.

Photobucket Jason

Photobucket Kathy

Photobucket Tony Kanaan

These passes allowed us to join the drivers, team and sponsors in the private hospitality area throughout the weekend, so we got to enjoy a place to relax, enjoy fabulous catered food and drinks and hang out with the team throughout the weekend. It was another wonderful gesture by Jason that is much appreciated.

Photobucket Dario Franchitti

Photobucket Will Power


Unlike the contrived NASCAR championship “chase”, the Indy Car season championship seems to always come down to the last race of the season without any manufactured drama. This year was no different as Penske driver Will Power came in to the race with a meager 12 point lead in the championship over Dario Franchitti of Target Chip Ganassi Racing, meaning every point and position was incredibly valuable and meaning the championship would not be decided until the last lap.

Photobucket Michael

Photobucket Jean


Qualifying was pretty dramatic as Will Power seemed to have the pole and the bonus point that comes with it in hand until Franchitti came out and outdueled him to capture the pole and edge ever closer to the elusive championship lead that Power had held since the first race of the season.

Photobucket Wagner pulls into Victory Lane

Photobucket Hinchcliffe, Wagner & Cunningham

Photobucket Fuzzy Zoeller

We watched the exciting Firestone Indy Lights race from the pits. The minor league of the Indy Cars, the Lights race was won by former midget driver Brandon Wagner after a furious duel with James Hinchcliffe by 0.7006 seconds with Wade Cunningham finishing third and pole sitter Pippa Mann coming home fourth. J.K. Vernay captured the season championship. We had a great time watching the victory lane celebration as Wagner celebrated his first victory with race sponsor and golf legend Fuzzy Zoeller.


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