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15fan
05-15-2009, 10:58 AM
Going to Indianapolis over Memorial Day Weekend to visit my sister, brother-in-law, and newborn nephew. Had a pair of tickets to the 500 fall into my lap, so my brother-in-law and I will be at the race.

I generally have 0 interest in car racing (and cars in general...), but I figure that if I'm ever going to take in a race, this is the one to do.

Brother-in-law is a native Hoosier, so he's in charge of all of the race day logistics. With that in mind, I figure surely folks around here might have some suggestions as to what to do/avoid at the track, things to check out, etc. Our seats are fairly high up in turn 3.

So, fellow Redzoners, what do I need to know before race day?

HoosierRedsFan
05-15-2009, 11:28 AM
First and foremost give yourself plenty of time to get parked and into the track Sunday. I would suggest being in the vicinity of the track by 10:00am Sunday. Traffic is always horrible on race day and this year it will be worse with construction going on. I suggest being in your seats one hour prior to the start of the race so you can see all the pre race festivities. If you are in town or have time the night before the race the area around the track is one huge party.

Bumstead
05-15-2009, 02:40 PM
I go to the race every year with my Dad. We sit in the top row of turn 3. I agree that you should get there early. If you get a chance check out the museum; it's pretty neat if you've never seen it.

Sunscreen, bring it; the sun reflecting off the aluminum stands can be pretty intense. Last thing: watch all the stupid drunk people as they can be pretty entertaining sometimes!

Bum

BillDoran
05-15-2009, 03:04 PM
Last thing: watch all the stupid drunk people as they can be pretty entertaining sometimes!

Bum

It was a few years back, but you could bring your own snacks and drinks (booze included!). We brought in water pitchers filled with Morgan & Coke and packages of Lil' Debbie Cheese on Cheese crackers. We were the people Bumstead mentioned.

So, I recommend bringing your own refreshments and, of course, sun screen. The atmosphere is worth the trip, even if you don't enjoy racing (as I don't, either). A bit of a Kentucky Derby vibe to it.

Danny Serafini
05-15-2009, 03:18 PM
If you get a chance check out the museum; it's pretty neat if you've never seen it.

I'll second that, their museum is very good. Of course if you're not interested in racing I'm not sure you'll get much out of it, but if your brother-in-law likes racing he should really enjoy the museum.

George Anderson
05-15-2009, 11:03 PM
I strongly recommend you take the bus. You have no idea what log jam traffic is if you try to park yourself near the Speedway.


http://www.indy500.com/news/13954/Roundtrip_Shuttle_Service_To_Be_Offered_For_Indy_5 00_Fans

gilpdawg
05-16-2009, 03:56 AM
I used to park at an industrial park off 10th Street. Easy in, easy out. Shh, it's my little secret spot.

HoosierRedsFan
05-16-2009, 11:28 AM
I forgot to mention....You can bring a cooler in with snacks and beverages. Your cooler can only be a certain size and no glass. I believe you can look and their website and see what you can and can not bring.

www.indy500.com

SunDeck
05-16-2009, 02:20 PM
One word, ear plugs.
Another word, sunscreen.

15fan
05-16-2009, 03:11 PM
I strongly recommend you take the bus. You have no idea what log jam traffic is if you try to park yourself near the Speedway.


I've lived in Atlanta for 14 years, so I've seen a traffic jam or three. ;)

Thanks for the advice, folks. Keep it coming.

GIK
05-17-2009, 03:13 PM
I love Indy. The 500 is the best race in the world. You're going to have a blast.

For additional advice, you might want to drop by Track Forum (www.trackforum.com).

Danny Serafini
05-18-2009, 10:50 AM
You a poster there, GIK?

gilpdawg
05-18-2009, 04:55 PM
I'm actually a lurker there. Grew up 50 miles from Indy, so I'm all about the Indy 500. I'm 31, so I can remember when Indy was still Indy. I still watch those late 80s early 90s races when they come on ESPN Classic. Then I've read up a lot on the history of the race and track, so I'm somewhat of an Indy history geek.

Bumstead
05-18-2009, 06:07 PM
I'm 41 and have been going to Indy since I was 3. There were the good old days, then there were the great IRL races and then there is now...the racing is still great but man, they have lost the public's interest. I still get chills down my back at the start of every Indy 500 though!

I second the ear plugs!

I park in the 'Coke' lot but then again, I'm never in a hurry to get out.

Bum

Hoosier Red
05-18-2009, 06:11 PM
I've lived in Indy since 2000 and every year I get a little bit more excited for the race. Last year I listened wire to wire.

I'm interested in the personalities this year. Helio and his tax issue than taking the pole, Kanaan and his everlasting search for the win. Danica who has gone from phenomenon to overrated to probably a little bit underrated. The young guns who had great qualifying times. It'll be hard to see how this race could disappoint.

RedsBaron
05-24-2009, 09:21 PM
It didn't disappoint. Castroneves's win today is simply a terrific story.

Bumstead
05-26-2009, 01:31 PM
Would have been a better story if Will Power had won...same guys win every race. How is it a great story? He avoided prison...should he be in prison? He has 1 of the 4 best cars on the track...Basically nobody can pass except on restarts...Oh well, if they don't get some AMERICAN personalities in there soon they are going to lose what few fans they still have. That said, I still love the Indy 500 and have already renewed my tickets for next year...

Bum

RedsBaron
05-26-2009, 01:45 PM
The relative lack of competitive American drivers has been a problem for the IRL. At the moment, the only Americans who are consistently competitive are Danica Patrick, Marco Andretti and Graham Rahal, and that trio ranks behind the "A" list of IRL drivers, who would be Castroneves, Franchitti, Dixon, Kanaan, and, perhaps, Briscoe.
The IRL has to be hoping that Danica does not defect to NASCAR.
I still think that the victory by Castroneves was a great story. In today's Wall Street Journal, Jason Gay wrote: "Naturally, he's now the runaway favorite to win ABC's new fall series: 'Celebrity Justice Grand Prix Dance-Off Hosted by Ryan Seacrest and Nancy Grace.' "

Danny Serafini
05-26-2009, 02:52 PM
Would have been a better story if Will Power had won...

Will Power is for real. Hopefully he can get a full season deal for 2010, he could be a title contender.

Bumstead
05-26-2009, 03:11 PM
I still fail to see how helio winning is a great story...what's great about it? The richest team with the best car and the most $$ wins with a guy who maybe should be in prison...who cares? Helio thinks it's a great story. It's like the Yankees winning...they should win!

Will Power deserves a ride for sure; of course, that has never resulted in a person actually obtaining a quality ride....just ask Sarah Fisher...Danica...can't even look at her, she is so full of herself (acts like a 3 year-old most of the time)....I wish she came with a 'mute' button.

I don't mean to be overly negative, but c'mon, there's nobody to cheer for who has a chance to win. The owners of these teams are running the IRL into the ground.

Hoosier Red
05-26-2009, 04:17 PM
The whole Sarah Fisher is so much better/nicer than Danica thing has been beaten to death here in Indy to the absolute point of ridiculousness.

Comparing their careers Danica has already accomplished much more than Sarah Fisher. Sarah is a very nice woman who is a great local story once a year. She's a great face for whatever company decides to back her, but the reason she can't get bigger sponsorship/team deals is that she's generally middle to the back of the pack. Fisher's a great spokesperson for the circuit though as she's great with fans, but then again she pretty much has to be.

Until last year Danica has 4 top 10 finishes at Indy out of 5 tries. Though she's on a power team in AGR, there's little doubt that she is 3rd or 4th on the pecking order for that team.

Bumstead
05-26-2009, 05:46 PM
It's easy to say, look at their records but it is also ridiculous to say such a thing. How do you compare two people that have raced under considerably different levels of funding? Danica has had top equipment every single race she has participated in. Fisher has never had top level equipment. Silly argument. Switch equipment for one year and I believe you would find that they could both be competitive with the boys in this type of racing. The reason Fisher can't get the sponsorship deals that Danica does is because she's not going to take her clothes off for the advertisers; one shouldn't have to do that to maintain their sponsorship; in theory, the best drivers should get the rides...unfortunately, that is not what happens.

My point really was, I don't cheer for Danica because she is an immature little brat. I'm not sure a 'mute' button could even solve that issue for me at this point. Honestly, I hope she never wins Indy; I couldn't stand having to hear about it forever. As an aside, the IRL needs people like her in the sport; it's nice to be able to cheer against her and the Andretti's. Still, there has to be someone to cheer for! Who is that going to be in the IRL?

Bum

Hoosier Red
05-26-2009, 09:12 PM
It's easy to say, look at their records but it is also ridiculous to say such a thing. How do you compare two people that have raced under considerably different levels of funding? Danica has had top equipment every single race she has participated in. Fisher has never had top level equipment. Silly argument. Switch equipment for one year and I believe you would find that they could both be competitive with the boys in this type of racing. The reason Fisher can't get the sponsorship deals that Danica does is because she's not going to take her clothes off for the advertisers; one shouldn't have to do that to maintain their sponsorship; in theory, the best drivers should get the rides...unfortunately, that is not what happens.

My point really was, I don't cheer for Danica because she is an immature little brat. I'm not sure a 'mute' button could even solve that issue for me at this point. Honestly, I hope she never wins Indy; I couldn't stand having to hear about it forever. As an aside, the IRL needs people like her in the sport; it's nice to be able to cheer against her and the Andretti's. Still, there has to be someone to cheer for! Who is that going to be in the IRL?

Bum

That's a weak argument though. Sarah Fisher is personable, AMERICAN, and apparantly everyone has wanted her to succeed since she came up. Despite that, she can't get sponsorships or on a powerful team. All this because she won't take her clothes off? I have trouble buying that.

Danica finished 4th and 8th with Rahal Letterman which is admittedly a notch above the poor teams, but was by no means a powerhouse team. Victor Meira has finished 2nd twice without powerful teams backing him up.

I guess I'm at a loss to see what Sarah Fisher has done to lead people to say she's an excellent driver but just lacks a good team.

I agree that people's dislike of Danica is good for the sport. I just think that as much as people love of an pretty but socially awkward driver was over the top, the dislike is equally over the top.

As for other names that were brought up earlier, Will Power, talented though he is wouldn't add an American star to the circuit as he's an Aussie.

RedsBaron
05-26-2009, 09:44 PM
Indy car Racing is about the only sport in this country where I root for the leading team. Normally I go for the underdog and root against the Yankees or Celtics.
Penske Racing is different for me, and for one reason: Rick Mears. I rooted for Mears his entire career. His 1991 victory at Indy to win his fourth "500" remains my favorite race. He has been retired since 1992, but I have kept rooting for Penske Racing out of habit.
That said, I can usually find somebody to root for in any IRL race.

Bumstead
05-27-2009, 10:02 AM
I never discounted Danica's ability to drive the car, but I don't think anyone will ever know whether she has more 'driving' talent than Sarah Fisher. Rahal Letterman had excellent equipment except for one season...check out how many races that team won. So, you don't think Danica being attractive and being willing to show off her 'bells and whistles' doesn't give her better sponsorship opportunities?? Comical...Go Daddy...surely you joist...Back when there wasn't such a disparity in equipment as there is now, Fisher posted 2nd and 3rd place finishes in the blue 15 car owned by Walker (?) I believe. When that car wasn't breaking down she did well in the series; obviously being popular with the IRL fans doesn't lead to sponsorship opportunities...

Will Power: I know he is from Australia, I would have just rather seen someone else win...someone without enough talent to have a ride all year...:rolleyes:

Yeah, I see all the Yankee caps worn all over the country...it's easier to cheer for the team that has all the money. Doesn't make it a great story when they win though; it makes it more of a redundant story than anything else. Penske has won 14 of the last 31 Indy 500's...how exciting...at least Mears was an American that fans could relate to. I haven't seen Brazilians packing the house at the Indy 500 lately (seats are available in case they didn't know; it is their countryman's series after all...apparently).

Vitor Meira is one of the most talented drivers in the series and he has had some good quality rides. He was in the 4 car when he had his best seasons...you know, the team Hornish won 2 championships with??

I have been a fan of this sport for over 30 years. I have seen both ends of the spectrum. This isn't the good end and it's not a 'great' story.

Bum

15fan
05-27-2009, 10:04 AM
Thanks for all the suggestions, folks. Brother-in-law and I had a great time. 220 mph is hard to get your brain around until you see it live.

And the people-watching was pretty good, too.

Hoosier Red
05-27-2009, 11:34 AM
Oh I'm not arguing her looks help. I'm just saying its ridiculous to think sponsors wouldn't be looking for people like Sarah Fisher who obviously has her own appeal. I've been beat down by the whole sob story for the last two Mays in particular. If she was good enough she'd be getting a ride from someone. She has everything else sponsors are looking for. She is able to get sponsorships even when its obvious she won't win now.

Spare me how all the talented drivers are getting screwed because these undeserving hack like Helio and Franchitti and Danica are elbowing them out of the way. Its whining to the highest degree.

Anyway, why does the driver have to be American? Its not like Helio hasn't attracted fans. There's this myth that NASCAR is forever going to have the upper hand in motor sports which I don't buy. I think that NASCAR may soon find it has flown too close to the sun, and over exploited itself to a level it can't deliver. When that happens part of the natural ebb and flow will come back to Indy Cars.

That said, the ending sucked. Nobody was going to catch Helio and everyone knew it.

Bumstead
05-27-2009, 12:23 PM
Where did I say those drivers were hacks? Nobody cares and that is why this series is on VS every race except for Indy...these drivers aren't interesting. This is an American series with very few Americans...Nobody cares. Lots of seats are empty at Indy...do you think people go to the other races if they can't sell out Indy. Do you only watch Indy? If so, then you are like everyone else. You don't care and you don't know.

Nascar is the only racing that has every race on a major network. Do you know why? Because people care! They want to hear what the drivers have to say and who they don't like and what they do on their time off. They have characters! Nobody cares about the IRL drivers (other than viewing Danica in a swimsuit). The ebb and flow will not come back to the IRL without the owners/sponsors putting American Drivers behind the wheels of these cars.

USAC is where they should be looking, not Brazil. Bobby East, Tracy Hines, Chuck Gurney Jr., Bobby Santos III, Jason Leffler (lost), that Mockler girl (lost I believe), Dave Steele (too late maybe), and plenty of others. The IRL needs characters if it wants to ever end up back in the spotlight...right now, that's not happening. It's too bad, it's such a great form of racing.

If you think the best drivers always get the best rides, you are wrong about almost every form of racing. Danica has Marketability, Sarah had popularity; the difference is huge (Sarah did run a good race in her car this year though).

Bum

RedsBaron
05-27-2009, 12:41 PM
I question how great the disparity is in equipment, given that the IRL is largely a "spec" series, with the same cars, engines and tires used by all of the teams. In the 1980s and 1990s, prior to the IRL-CART split, a variety of cars, engines and tires were used. Some years a March was the car to have, while other years a Penske car created the "unfair advantage" that Roger Penske always sought.
I do believe there is a disparity in the teams, their resources, the quality of their crew members, but such has always been the case.
As for the drivers, even a great driver will have limited if any success if he or she is teamed with a poor crew, team and/or car. However, the IRL is hardly unique in the racing world in that regard. In Formula One, for years there have only been a handful of teams with any realistic hopes of contending for a championship or even a race win, and NASCAR is dominated by two or three "super teams."

Bumstead
05-27-2009, 01:03 PM
And yet Nascar is popular. Why is that? American Drivers with character! Also, how many different drivers win races every year in Nascar, even with the powerhouse teams? How many win races in the IRL?? Who cares about F1? Who watches it? It is on Speed; my Dad watches it; I don't know anyone else who does. It's not an American series anyway.

If you want to know the future of the IRL, here are 3 names of open wheel drivers whose story of how they ended up in Nascar is why the IRL is going downhill: Juan Montoya (one of the best open wheel drivers of all-time), AJ Allmendinger (won 5 or 6 races his rookie (?) year in CART and didn't race the last race of the season so that he could prepare for his next season in Nascar), and Sam Hornish Jr....maybe the biggest loss of them all; an American who dominated the series and had a personality. Montoya is doing pretty well in Nascar on one of the 2nd tier teams while the other 2 are improving but are still basically in the bottom half of the drivers in Nascar...It's just sad. No point in bringing up guys from years back that were lost to Nascar (Steward/Gordon, etc.), but what about Leffler, Casey Mears, Scott Speed? None of them are contenders in Nascar and they aren't going back to open wheel cars anytime soon (although I heard Leffler was looking for a ride on the last day of qualifying at Indy).

American Drivers with Character (driving for the top teams) with a few super-talented foreign drivers with Character is the only thing that will bring back this series unfortunately. I can debate this till I'm blue in the face, but if you don't understand this then what's the point?

Bum

Hoosier Red
05-27-2009, 04:38 PM
Bumstead, you're right, I listen to Indy beginning to end and follow the series the rest of the year but to say I'm a fan as invested as you would be a lie.

NASCAR is more popular now, though again the ratings have been pretty disappointing as I understand, and it's gone off one network and may be working its way off another.

NBC couldn't wait to get away from it.

I also understand the IRL has a long way to go, and getting marketable drivers has to be the number one goal of the series.

I think the real problem with IRL drivers leaving for NASCAR is when they go to underfunded teams and fail to perform it leaves the (incorrect in my view) opinion that they are inferior drivers. If a IRL driver like Helio went to one of the top NASCAR teams and dominated, it would actually be a boost for the circuit. As it is, people see Dario Franchitti win the 500, go to NASCAR and fail, than figure that Indy Cars are nothing more than Go-Karts.

The other problem though, and the one I was getting at was the idea thats said by so many Indy followers that the drivers winning are just "fortunate to be with the good teams" when "enter driver name here" is actually a better driver, he/she is just being elbowed out." While there may be some truth to it, the statements denigrate the winners and make it impossible to market the series when even the die hards don't think Helio/Wheldon/Danica are that good.
That's why the Sarah Fisher statements bother me so much. Not so much from you, because you acknowledge that Danica's a good driver, but rather from the petulant yokels who think these guys all suck and they're favorite driver is being discriminated against.

Bumstead
05-27-2009, 04:59 PM
I agree that those are good drivers and those particular drivers aren't necessarily bad for the sport. But, you have to have American Drivers that are characters in quality rides or the average Joe is not going to pay any attention to it. As an obvious diehard fan of this sport, once Hornish left, I was left with nobody to cheer for. The fans that are at the track cheer for Andretti and Rahal only because they know the names. I am reduced to hoping for a miracle from Ed Carpenter or Townsend Bell...I keep hoping something changes, but it's hard to believe it will when AJ has Vitor Meira driving for him (yes, he's a good driver, but AJ was one of the 'put Americans in the cars' proponents when the split occurred...so that is a bit disheartening).

Anyway, I have enjoyed the conversation. I will continue to support the series with my attendance and my interest and hope things turn around for the better somewhere down the line.

Bum