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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!

Sunday, June 10, 2018

102nd Indianapolis 500

May 29, 2018

Greta, Tom, Caitlin, Effie and Kathy

102nd Indianapolis 500

The day of the Indianapolis 500 is always my favorite day of the year. It has been the case for the past forty-seven years consecutively as I have been in attendance every year since I was seven. This year actually is my 50th anniversary of first visiting the Speedway, there is a grainy 8 mm video of me on site with my father and grandfather in 1968 when I was just under 4 in what was my first visit to the track in May. Every year since, I have returned to the track and many of my favorite memories of my life were at the place.

This year, I once again had my ten seat block of tickets almost at the top of the NW Vista high in turn three. Since this was Kathy’s year on attending, she joined me and my sister Michele as we drove the rental van downtown to pick up our friends the Ford family who were up from Key West for the race. There were six of them and along with my friend Mike and his daughter Patience, we used all ten seats.

Mike and Patience


Once again we had no problem with traffic getting in to my favorite parking spot, on Falcon Drive just north of 30th street. After an easy walk in to our seats, Tom, Cale and Greta took advantage of the pit/garage passes that my friends Ted and Kevin had secured for us and headed down to the pits for the pre-race craziness. Greta just wanted a photo of her kissing the bricks and she was satisfied, but Cale, Tom and I walked the length of the pit lane taking in the preparations for the race.


It was crazy as usual as the teams navigated the massive crowd that always seems to be on hand along the pits pre-race, but it is a pretty impressive thing to witness. It still gets to me after all these years, but I also love being back in my seats for all the Pre-race traditional festivities so I usually don’t stay down long enough to see all the celebrities that are on hand, which this year included actor Chris Helmsworth of Thor fame and Pacer MYP, Victor Olidipo who was going to drive the pace car before the start of the race.

Chris Helmsworth

Victor Olidipo

The prerace traditions are no doubt the greatest in all of sports and the buildup to the start is unlike anything else. The scene and the fact that it is Memorial Day weekend make the playing of Taps, the National Anthem, God Bless America and the military flyover all part of the tremendous tribute to our military, which is absolutely fantastic, but it is the traditional singing of “Back Home Again In Indiana” with the balloon release followed by the command to start engines that always gets me a little teary eyed.

Tom and Cale

Michele and Cale

There is no experience quote like the flying start of the Indianapolis 500, why else would close to a half a million people be on hand to witness the event, truly the “Greatest Spectacle In Racing”. Even with the temperature reaching 93 degrees in what was to be the second hottest Indy 500 ever, the massive crowd was beside themselves as the cars came screaming down for the start.



Polesitter Ed Carpenter dominated the early portion of the race, that featured far less passing than the previous few years had, mostly due to the hot conditions and the new car configuration which did not allow for the drafting that the previous car did. Driving these cars was tricky and a lot of experienced drivers found out the hard way, spinning out and hitting the wall. Including Tony Kanaan, Helio Castroneves, Sebastian Bourdais and sadly Danica Patrick, who crashed out of the final race of her career.

Alexander Rossi is a badass.

Not everyone was having trouble passing, Alexander Rossi provided constant excitement, making crazy passes all over the place in moving up from his 32nd starting position to challenge for the win, eventually finishing fourth, With five laps to go, a surprise threesome of Stephan Wilson, Oriol Servia and Jack Harvey held the top three spots, but each had to peel off for a splash of fuel leaving Will Power to inherit the lead and win his first Indy 500 ever. I am not a huge Power fan, but his enthusiastic crazy screaming celebration and the fact that he was probably the best driver not to have won the race made me happy for him.

Will Power wins

Ed Carpenter finished a strong second, though after dominating early, he must have been disappointed. Scott Dixon came home third, winning me some cash in our annual Calcutta, so I was happy about that as well. It was a tough hot race, but my guests all toughed it out and hopefully had a good experience. We were able to get out of the traffic and back downtown to their hotel with no problem whatsoever. It was a pretty great day once again.

Riley and Catie

The morning after, thanks to my friends at IndyCar Nation, Kathy and I were able to attend the morning after winner’s photo shoot, where winner Will Power and the winning car and Borg Warner Trophy posed at the start finish line for a series of photos to be taken for the press. We also got to join a select group of fans in posing with Power for one of the photos which was pretty damn cool. Another first for me after fifty years of coming out to the track.



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