No Direction Home

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!

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Indianapolis 500 Qualifying

May 21, 2018

Ed Carpenter

Sebastian Bourdais

Conor Daly

Danica Patrick

Indianapolis 500 Qualifying

Like many things related to the Indianapolis 500, qualifying for the starting field is a tradition in that only the thirty-three fastest cars make the field. Unlike most races the qualifying procedure calls for a four lap, ten mile average speed that has been described as the toughest four laps in motorsports. It is a harrowing, somewhat dangerous and certainly entertaining weekend as the teams try to secure their spots in the greatest race in the world.

Foe the first time since 2011, another qualifying tradition was back at the Speedway as bumping was back as there were thirty-five teams vying for the thirty-three starting spots, meaning two teams were going to suffer the devastating reality of not making the race.


Rahal and Rossi

Christian Daly

Qualifying is held over a two day weekend with the first day determining not only which teams would make the starting field, but also which nine cars posted the fastest speeds thus guaranteeing them a spot in the fast 9 and a one shot chance to win the pole on Sunday. Positions ten through thirty-three simply locked in a spot and had to requalify on Sunday to determine the starting position. The unfortunate cars with the thirty-fourth and thirty-fifth fastest speed would be going home.

Becky and Hinch


Saturday was thus one of the tensest days of the year in the Indy Car season as teams are trying like hell at both ends of the field, to make the fast nine and to not be on the outside looking in. The weather played havoc as well with two periods of rain that interrupted and took away a valuable few hours of track time during qualifying. Sadly my favorite driver was caught out in a combination of terrible luck and poor decision making by the team and James Hinchcliffe was bumped and failed to make the field.



The bad luck started when the first rain started falling just as it was Hinch’s turn to go out for his initial qualifying attempt, he had to pull off and missed an opportunity to qualify while the track was relatively cool and inn the two plus hours it took to dry the track the heat and humidity skyrocketed, yet the team was not able to make any adjustments so when he was the first back out on a hot, green track, his speed was way slower than it might have been. They were sort of forced to keep the time with the weather conditions iffy, because if there were a washout they would not be guaranteed another attempt.

Danica Patrick

Charlie Kimball

With another rain delay and the time it took to go through the line, the team did not get back out for another attempt until there was about 4o minutes to go (though they could have been in line sooner), and a vibration scratched that attempt. By the time they were back in line, others had effectively jumped in front of them, using all the time until the final gun sounded with Hinch next in line to go out.

J.R. Hildebrand

Joseph Newgarden


Seeing Hinch not make the field was gut-wrenching, as he is not only my favorite Indy Car driver but one of the nicest people you will ever meet. I have become an acquaintance of his parents, brother Christopher and his girlfriend Becky, who often spend time in my friend Brent’s suite (where I can often be found), and they are also some of the coolest and nicest people in the paddock and to see how devastating it was to each of them was tough as well. Hinch himself handled it all like the class act that he is, but as a competitor, I known he must have been burning up inside and I truly feel for him.

Pippa Mann

Conor Daly

Pippa Mann was the other car bumped as she just could not get her car up to speed at all and it was really tough on her as well. Helio Castroneves had the fastest time, leading all four Penske cars in the fast nine with Pagenaud, Power and Newgarden all making it. Ed Carpenter led all of his team including Spencer Pigot and Danica Patrick into the fast nine with Scott Dixon and Sebastian Bourdais also making the Sunday shootout.

Sunday was a little bit of a downer as I pretty much stayed in the Suite watching the qualifying efforts by the tenth-thirty-third place starters as they locked in their positions. Even the fast nine shootout did not seem so dramatic to me as my heart just wasn’t in watching with-out Hinch in the field. Ed Carpenter did a great job securing his third pole position and was the only driver to turn a lap over 230 mph. Simon Pagenaud and Will Power completed the front row.

Tony Kanaan

Kate and Olivier

Helio Castroneves, the fastest on Saturday could only manage eighth fastest as the final qualifier and Carpenter’s pole position was secure. At the other end of the field, Jack Harvey, Alexander Rossi and Conor Daly qualified for the last row to start the 102nd running of the Indianapolis 500.

Alexander Rossi

James Davison

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

These are the people that we call friends.

May 20, 2018

With Jenny, Jody, Amy, Amanda and Debbie

Zach Veach, Mario Andretti, VP Mike Pence, Marco Andretti and Ryan Hunter-Reay

with Lindy

Justin Townes Earle

These are the people that we call friends...

Attending the Indianapolis 500 is the highlight of the year for me, this year marks my forty-seventh consecutive race that I have attended. But it is not the race itself that draws me back year after year, it is what it involves and what it means to me. It offers me the opportunity to see so many friends and family, many of whom I only see during this annual visit and some not even that often. My friends are so important to me and I have so many that live in Indianapolis and each May offers me a chance to see them.

James and Christopher Hinchcliffe

The visit also gives me a chance to combine many of my favorite activities such as going to the track, attending a concert or just going out to eat with my many friends and family. This year was extra special since my mother was in town during a portion of my stay and of course my sister Michele was here again this year and I got to see her, her husband Jerome and two of her four sons, Chris and Will.

Ted and Kevin

With Debbie

I want also to acknowledge my friend John, who I have known for just about as long as I have been attending the Indy 500, as he lived three houses down from the house I grew up in and we have managed to remain friends since meeting in the early 70s as children. John hosted me at his home once again this year for a portion of my stay and I want to make sure he knows how much that I appreciate it and his lifelong friendship.

with John


Dan and John

I have been going out to the track with John since the 80s and this year we once again spent a couple of days out watching practice, hanging out and taking photos. Our friend Dan joined us as well and one of the days we were there offered an even bigger excitement than just watching practice when US Vice President Mike Pence showed up at the track. Though not politically a fan of VP Pence, it was nonetheless kind of cool to have the Vice President choosing to hang out at the track on the same day you were there.  John snagged some pretty good photos of the activity around Pence’s visit.

Steve and Eileen

While I did not manage a selfie with the VP, I did get one with current Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb who was also on hand at the track. I am not familiar with Indiana politics so I have no idea what sort of Governor Mr. Holcomb is, though he was Lt. Governor under Pence. All I know is that he was nice as can be when I met him at the track and while I no doubt do not share much common ground with the man, it was again sort of cool to see him there.

with Governor Holcomb

I also managed to catch a couple of shows at the Hi Fi in Fountain Square. The first I went with my friend Megan to see the fabulous Squirrel Nut Zippers.  I rarely get to see and hang out with Megan, so it was really an awesome evening and the wonderful performance by the band was just the icing on the cake. The SNZ were formed in 1993 and play a jazzy fun swing style. They are a ton of fun to see and seem to have lost little of their enthusiasm in the years since forming. They have a new CD out and are touring it as well as playing many of their hits and fun covers.

Squirrel Nut Zippers

I was back at the Hi Fi the very next night to see a very cool pair of singer songwriters with strong pedigrees. My friend Debbie and I met at the Red Lion Grog House for dinner before the show and who should be sitting next to us at the bar? None other than headliner Justin Townes Earle, so in addition to seeing his great live show, we were able to have a nice dinner with him. Justin’s famous father, Steve Earle had just played at the Key West Theater a few nights earlier and we talked about that and about how Justin should play there as well.

Justin, Michael and Debbie

Justin Townes Earle

The show was terrific and was opened by yet another second generation musician, John Hiatt’s daughter, Lilly Hiatt who was great as well. The pair put on a fantastic show and I would suggest that if you get the chance to see either of these performers that you should take it, hopefully in Key West.

Justin Townes Earle

Lilly Hiatt

Lilly Hiatt

Michael, Jody and Deron

One of my most favorite annual traditions is an annual dinner with a group of friends that I have known for ages and that I look forward to every year. I am not sure exactly how many years that we have held the dinner, but it has been a while, perhaps 15 years or so and it is just an amazing experience for me. This year we met at Mama Corolla’s Italian restaurant once again (after a wonderful cocktail hour at my friend’s Jody and Deron’s home). My friends Jody, Amanda, Jenny, Amy and Debbie were on hand and we once again shared a fantastic evening of the type that you can only have with close, old friends. It was amazing. Missing this year were our friends Kristi, Stephanie and Laura, who will hopefully be back next year. I love these ladies and I am so blessed to continue
to count them among my friends.

With Debbie and Jenny