Okay, so I know it’s been a week, but I was waiting on my pictures to come back. So here’s the scoop on our day at the races.
We left at 5:00 a.m. because we had been warned of the traffic getting in, and to get there early if we wanted any kind of decent parking. We were there when the gates opened at 6:00, and ended up getting ushered right under the track to park in the infield tailgating lot! At first we were thrilled, thinking we had great spots. Then as we sat in our car preparing for the day and watched all the tents going up and blocking all the cars in, and the beer coming out and already flowing freely at 7:30, we started to wonder. But we weren’t daunted. We lathered up with sunscreen (I promise we did, no matter what you read later) and hopped out to go see the sights. Walking back under the track led us to the money-grabbers–I mean concession stands and souvenir stands. We got the required Indy 500 patch for Clay, rented some seat backs since our backs weren’t thrilled with the idea of sitting on bleachers for hours on end, and bought a program. Headed back to our car to plot our course for the rest of the day. There was lots of stuff going on at the other end of the track, but we decided not to walk down there. We wanted to get to our seats so we could watch all the ceremonial stuff on the screens. So we ended up in our seats by about 10:30, so early that they didn’t even check our tickets or our coolers, and Clay made it in with his prohibited glass bottle of root beer. While we sat there, watching the celebrities walk the red carpet on the screens, Clay snapped some shots of our view:
We were on the north end of the track, almost centered between turn 3 and turn 4. These four shots show our view from left to right. The cars and trucks that they used to drive all the important people around the track before the race (celebrities, military, pageant queens) were parked just across the dirt that you can see. The pits and the start/finish line were just around the curve of turn 4, just out of our sight.
despite three coatings of sunscreen. Our problem was from the knees down, and all we can guess is that the sun reflected off the bleachers and up to fry us. Anyway, we got to see all of the famous people get driven around the track in the Corvette pace cars, and the military in the red, white, and blue Chevy pickups, and hear Florence Henderson sing God Bless America, some Dancing with the Stars chick sing the Star-Spangled banner, see the fighter jets fly over from right behind us, and here Jim Neighbors sing the Indiana song with an incredible balloon release, and for some reason WordPress will not post my cool balloon picture. Finally we heard the words: Ladies and Gentlemen, start your engines. Clay was a bit disappointed that we couldn’t hear the engines starting because of all the cheering. We had decided to root for the two Chip Genassi Target cars because Clay does pest control service at the Target racing building in Indy, although they don’t let him in the room with the cars, because he might steal their secrets! We didn’t try to take many pictures of the actual race because, well, quite frankly it’s hard to get a good shot of something travelling 222 miles an hour. But we got a couple, if you can make them out:
The first one shows the two Target cars in the lead. They stayed that way for a long time, until #10 finally dropped way back, but #9 held on and won the race!! So we won the tickets, and our guy won the race! How often does that happen!
We were definitely glad to have earplugs, especially when they were going full speed. But there were so many crashes or other problems that they drove a big chunk of the race under a yellow flag, which meant they had to go slower while the crews cleaned up the track. It wasn’t until right at the end that they went more than 10 or 12 laps at full speed, so the race as a whole wasn’t all that exciting. We watched our guy win, then fought the crowds back to our car, where we were blocked in by drunks for over an hour. We saw some very interesting sights during that time. We finally made it out of race traffic after two hours of sitting in the car, and were home by around 9:00, where we got a great report from Aunt Gertie on our girls’ day, which was the icing on the cake for ours.
We ended up being very very grateful for Aunt Gertie, because the sunburn on our shins must have had some poison in it. We woke up Monday and could barely hobble around because of the pain, and we were fire red and swollen up. Gertie ended up bravely loading up our van with her three kids plus our three and taking them all back to Somerset with her. Britani got drafted, along with Brooke and Bree some, to babysit for two days (Thanks!), and after two full days of laying on the couch with my feet propped up, I met Mom and Stacey in Louisville Thursday (a pre-planned trip) to reclaim my children. Our legs are some better, but Clay is still fire red and my legs and feet are still very swollen, six days later. So, we all had a great day Sunday, but there did end up being a cost to the trip after all. Hopefully we will continue to recuperate, but we’re still glad we went. Probably will never go again, but I’m glad I went once. Thanks again to Stacey and all the rest who helped care for my girls in Somerset!!!