Friday, June 03, 2016

Fast Cars: Road Trip, Part 1

We went on a three-part "bucket list" vacation this past Memorial Day, which was kicked off with a trip to Indianapolis for the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500.

Last year, my husband watched the race, and at one point mentioned the landmark that would be happening this year. "That would be cool to go to that," he said.

"Yeah, mmm hmm, you bet," I replied.


So, imagine my surprise when some six months later he told me that his name was chosen in the ticket lottery and we'd be going to the race for our vacation this summer! I mean, it wasn't my first choice for a vacation. I'm more the toes in the sand, drink in my hand sort of person, but this was something important to him, and it truly was a once in a lifetime thing. A few people said "oh cool!" a few others said "really?"

Yes, really.

So, off to Indianapolis we went, adding a few other stops along the way so there was something for everyone.

Signage in downtown Indy
Confession: I've not been to a race before. Unless you count demolition derbys, that is, and I'm guessing that those don't count. No, I wasn't sure about it but if you're going to go to a race, it might as well be the one that's being held for the 100th time, right? What a better time to cut our teeth on racing than during this record-setting year.

A wrap on a downtown building leaves nothing to the imagination.
The race was sold out—which I'm told is not usual—and there were upwards of 350,000 people in attendance. The whole city was excited, and inundated with people.

With a noon start, that meant of course we had to get up and head to the track at 5:00am.

Gulp.

And we still ended up waiting in traffic with thousands of others, vying to find our parking spaces. Kind of ironic, the slow crawl to the speedway. We found our spot and we were off!

The pre-race fun included lots of opportunities for pictures.
I didn't know what to expect. But what I found was a city full of fun, gracious residents who invited the world in with open arms (and for $20 or so, open lawns for parking), friendly people who were thrilled to be a part of history. The cars were fast—like really, really fast—and it was hard to keep up with who was in the lead. I picked my car based on the color (neon yellow, easy to spot), and when the checkered flag waved, it was not my driver but a rookie who won the race of the century. A rookie, just like us.

He ran out of gas on his victory lap.

The race winner, getting a tow back to the starting line after running
out of gas on his victory lap.
There weren't many wrecks, and the scariest moment was when some doofus threw a bottle of milk onto the track with 9 laps to go. Our group in turn 4 was freaking out, trying to get the attention of the trackside crew to warn them of the potentially dangerous debris on the track. It could have been devastating; thankfully, it was not and the race finished without incident and we have a "remember that one time when they guy threw the milk bottle on the track?" with no proof of it.

After the race, we were all a little sunburned, a lot hungry and riding high on the adventure of all we'd experienced. A quick cool-down nap and then it was off to dinner.

Not gonna lie, I was excited to dig into this.
I think it's awesome that first-timer won this historic race where we were first-timers. A good time was had by all. Next stop? Something that's been on my bucket list. Until then, I leave you with this.


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