After three hours stuck in traffic only one inconceivably short mile from the stadium with a prepaid parking pass, an overheating car, and a line of parking lot attendants mockingly suggesting we ”park here since it’s only a short ten minute walk to the speedway” (I know smart ass, I can see the gates!), we finally arrived for the 100th anniversary running of the Indianapolis 500, or as it is billed, “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”
We got inside the speedway just in time to see the parade of classic Indy-winning cars and 33 Indy 500 winning drivers from every era of racing, followed by the pace car parade and finally a lap in honor of our service men and women featuring members of the Army, National Guard and Navy.
Now remember, The Indianapolis 500 was merely a bucket list item for both of us – something we had to do at least once. Be part of that grand spectacle. We’re not fans, we’re not casual observers, in fact, the bulk of my knowledge of auto racing comes from the annoying interruptions I’ve been forced to endure over the last 20 years to my baseball, football or basketball highlights on ESPN.
But, at least from my perspective: WOW! These freakin’ cars are like jets with wheels. The parade lap was fast enough. Victoria actually even said “wow, they’re fast” – and I responded with “that’s like 1/3 speed.” But, once they really got roaring, it was a moment that takes your breath away, followed by a few moments catching your breath, followed by a quickly arriving hum and another breathtaking, ear shattering scream of engines. Over and over and over and over again.
So, we went to the concession stand, enjoyed some cracker jacks, perhaps the worst fries ever, another beer and another 15 laps of “zzzzzzzzooooooooommmmmmmmm……………………………………….zooom….. zooom………………ZZZZZZOOOOOM” (those little zooms were those adorable little cars that were trying so hard, but each moment were dangerously closer to being lapped by the bigger, more well-tooled set of rocket vehicles.)
Then we headed over to check out the other viewing areas. The vantage points at the Speedway are probably the top feature of the raceway. No matter where you sat, you had 3-5 seconds of prime viewing each lap. (Do you get what I’m saying here – these things are SOOOOO fast!)
Anyway, it was 90+ degrees and by 1:15, we were already sunburned and looking for some shade. So we walked around a bit more, picked up a few souvenirs, watched a few more laps and headed out to beat the traffic. While I wouldn’t personally say it was the thrill of a lifetime, I’d definitely consider taking a lap in one of those bad boys (probably keeping it under 150 though!)