Tuesday, June 3, 2014

The Calm Before The Storm: Indy 500, Day Two

My day two at Indy was shorter and a lot more calm. It was Saturday, aka "Legends Day," otherwise known as "ceremonies, but no action on track." The drivers were at the track for an autograph session and a public drivers meeting, and then they were whisked away in a police-escorted bus to a parade in downtown Indianapolis.

I took a taxi to the track from my downtown hotel and arrived midway through the autograph session. I didn't get in any of the lines, which stretched across the plaza. Instead, I strolled pit lane. I'd meant to walk top to bottom, but I was distracted halfway by one of the most famous trophies in sports: the Borg Warner. It's big and very, very shiny. (It requires two attendants to move it. They wear gloves at all times, with which they also compulsively polish the trophy's shiny dome.)

The next event was the drivers meeting, which was more of a general ceremony than a meeting about what drivers should do in the race (apparently, that private meeting happened a day or two prior). But it was fun to see the drivers lined up in the small stands in order of their qualifying, and to be there for Tony Kanaan (the other TK, last year's winner) to receive his ring and "Baby Borg" (the mini version of the big trophy that is his to keep). And something I didn't know: all Indy 500 race starters receive "starters' rings." I thought I'd ask Pippa to tweet a photo of hers, to see what they look like....

After the meeting, I headed for the Hall of Fame Museum, located inside the track. I wanted to get a look inside the place, with the intent of coming back for a real visit on another weekend that's not so crazy! I'd also heard the gift shops in the museum were the best. The crowds were amazing—there were 25 people in line for admission ahead of me, though it didn't take long to get through the doors. 

But the best part was meeting Team Kate members (and now good friends) Rick and Maria. They were kind enough to take me with them to an amazing restaurant out in Broadripple (which still sounds like ice cream), Three Sisters Cafe. One word: YUM. A great meal in a quiet (aka, no crowds and racecars) place was a nice break from the activity at the track. And it gave us a chance to chat. The photo is from the next day, but here's the three of us anyway.

And then Rick and Maria drove me back to my hotel. It was early, and I hadn't done much, but I was exhausted! Plus I was planning to be at the track stupid early on race morning because of all the horror stories I'd heard about traffic on the roads (it took a couple friends almost two hours to reach the track on Friday, let alone race day) and about crowds going through security checkpoints once at the track.

Besides, I told myself, I like seeing a track wake up and come to life before a race. I could do this—even if I was pretty sure I'd be waking up in Indianapolis before my husband was going to bed back in Long Beach. 

I'll leave you with a second photo from the museum. It's a doozie! (As in, a Duesenberg engine.) And so were my Indy 500 race-day adventures. More to come in a third and final blog post....

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