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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, April 07, 2015

Reluctantly crouched at the starting line...

March 28, 2015

 photo 098_zpskb0o7ycv.jpg Tony Kanaan & Helio Castroneves

 photo 181_zpsb8u7bzua.jpg Tony Kanaan

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 photo 322_zpsw4wawfrv.jpg Will Power

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Reluctantly crouched at the starting line...

The opening of the 2015 Indy Car racing series is finally here after what seemed like an interminably long off-season. The first race of the new season kicks off as it has for the past few years on the street course in St. Petersburg and as usual I made the trip up to be in attendance, flying in to Tampa and getting a hotel downtown in St. Pete with-in walking distance to the track.

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I arrived in plenty of time before racing activities began and was able to take a day and make the quick drive over to Orlando to make use of my annual Walt Disney World pass and visit Epcot Center and Disney’s Animal Kingdom. I love Epcot at this time of year because they are hosting their annual Flower and Garden Festival and the entire grounds are even more festively decorated than usual.

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They have all sorts of garden displays, vendors and special food vendors as well, though I found myself eating in the German Beer Garden again. I next headed over to the Animal Kingdom where I watched the bird show for the first time, it was pretty impressive as they had all sorts of birds from Toucans, to raptors like Bald Eagles flying around the stadium. It was a cool show. 

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After a nice day at the parks, I was on my way back to St. Pete, but not before stopping at what is arguably the best microbrewery in the state of Florida, Cigar City Brewing. It was my second visit to their awesome location and I was able to taste a number of their wonderful beers, including a few special seasonals that are only available at the brewery itself. 

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 photo 084_zpsa6hcnmbt.jpg Will Power

 photo 206_zps4lxqepbo.jpg Hinch

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The next day was the opening practice session of the 2015 Indy Car season and I was on hand with my shiny new Indy Car Hard Card which gave me unprecedented access to just about everyplace including the pits, paddock, victory land, on track in the photographer’s areas and such. It allowed me great access and opportunities to get up close and personal with the cars, teams and drivers.

 photo 308_zpsq9yevn7o.jpg Robin Miller & Simon Pagenaud

 photo 278_zpssmdsjgug.jpg Luca Phillipi

 photo 159_zpsbhmaoiu5.jpg Gabby Chaves

 photo 091_zpsml5aqj4n.jpg Ed Carpenter & Luca Phillipi

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There are a lot of exciting new changes this year in Indy Car, starting with the new Aero-kits which radically change the look of the new cars with both Chevy and Honda creating their own distinct versions that look much different from last year. Lots more body work on the cars. Also there were the usual driver changes between teams. One of my favorite drivers, James Hinchcliffe moved from Andretti to Sam Schmidt Motorsports, replacing Simon Pagenaud who joined team Penske as their fourth driver.

 photo 150_zpsoufj9gjy.jpg Jack Hawksworth

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 photo 316_zpsf12emtc6.jpg Will Power with St. Pete mayor.

 photo 310_zpsmhwk6h0m.jpg Kirsten & James Hinchcliffe

The initial practice went well, though a light rain wiped out the second practice later in the afternoon. They did get in some of the support races including a WC sports car race and Indy Lights practice. The Indy Lights cars are all new as well and they look great and really racy. It was a really good day to start the season and weekend off and I was thrilled to be back at an Indy Car race.

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 photo 254_zpsyt8azsdv.jpg Bob

 photo 301_zpsfgemwdej.jpg Justin Wilson

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