Monday, August 25, 2014

Fun and Research in Fontucky

Over the Labor Day weekend, I'm headed for a couple adventures, all to do with racing. With IndyCar, specifically. But it won't all be sunscreen and race fuel. And it's highly likely all of it will show up in a future book....

Next Saturday evening is IndyCar's season finale at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA. The town otherwise known as Fontucky to the rest of the greater LA area (no offense meant to Fontana or Kentucky ... it's just a long way east of here). I'll be out at the track Friday for practice and qualifying, as well as there on Saturday for festivities and the race itself.

That will be one adventure—my second IndyCar oval race and my second at that speedway (I attended my one and only NASCAR race, so far, there a couple years back). Yes, I expect it to be hot. But I expect to hang out with a whole bunch of fellow crazy race fans/friends—including @cogitoergobibo, aka, the other member of "the crazy hair color race fan club" (pictured here with me on the front straight of the Indy 500; hair colors are more crazy in person). So we'll find shade and drink plenty of water. 

The other adventure will take place Sunday night, because the same friend got us both tickets to the IndyCar championship banquet. That's up at LA Live in Downtown Los Angeles, and it's a situation that will require a whole different dress code! Cocktail attire, I'm told. I'm looking forward to seeing what the scene is about.

I'll be comparing it to the one other Series championship banquet I've attended. That was the ALMS party 10 years ago. I remember it being partly interminable and partly a whole lot of fun. Then again, I knew more people then and was more connected to the series. This time around, I'll be more on the fringes. But whether I'm connected or not, it'll be a great opportunity for people watching and note-taking. 

Sometimes when I go to a race, there's specific research I need to do. But most of the time, I'm enjoying the event, taking in everything that's going on, and waiting for ideas to come to me. Not that I'm plotting new books or scenes in the moment. Instead, I'm soaking up the scene and the interactions for use later, when I need them. In particular, it helps to see how real-life drivers interact with passers-by, fans, and their teams. It helps to see what they're doing and when throughout a race weekend.

And I'm sure it'll help to see how they all interact—and what kinds of relationships they really have with each other—when the pressure and the performance of a race weekend and series are over. 

Kate might not ever end up at an IndyCar banquet (at least in print!), but you never know what I encounter next weekend might turn out to be useful. I sure can't tell you yet! 

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