[brickyard - the writeup]
Okay, so we went to Quals.
Dad and I loaded up the pimp wagon and trekked up to Indy for a day of sun, suds, qualifying and hopefully a wave at our favorite crew chief.
Due to some unseasonably weird weather, we were actually *cool* as we sat in the grandstands, right across from Gasoline Alley so we could see all the cars and drivers as they emerged from the garage area. The sights were great, the qualifying faster than hell, and the camraderie in the stands typical of any Indy event.
You know, friendly and a little drunken. :-)
After quals, Dad and I hoof (along with 4000000000 other fans) through the tunnel to the infield to do a little shopping and to try and snag a quality garage peeking spot for the practice sessons.
We've done this every year since we started hitting quals. We're pros, people.
The shopping was good.
The weather was divine.
The people were friendly.
The quality garage peeping?
Not so much.
My theory (and it's only a theory, but I think it's pretty sound) is that Tony George is out to make even more than the gazillions he already rakes in every year as owner of IMS. IMS has figured out that fans, regular, low-ticket buying fans were getting primo spots above the garage area on what has always been a "public walkway" balcony thing.
Mais non! C'est terrible!
IMS stations a squadron of people to block off pedestrian traffic in the busiest part of the infield. Said squadron get downright nasty about where we can and can't go, and only the very rich folks who have bought "hospitality passes" are able to go upstairs. We glanced up at one point, and on the balcony that used to hold hundreds of people, I saw six - none of whom were watching the garages, but rather the fans.
We managed to get one spot near Gasoline Alley that looked into the 48 garage, but the crush of people made photos or even watching difficult. I caught a couple of glimpses of Chad, Jeff and Jimmie before being hit in the head by some teenagers who were screaming for Junior to come take their phone number. (He didn't.) Dad and I beat a hasty retreat back to the grandstands to watch practice and snarf some fries before leaving the track for the day.
I saw Chad once, though. He ambled out to pit road as the first practice started in order to watch Jimmie's circuits around the track, but didn't stay long.
We theorized either the car was REALLY good, or REALLY bad.
I guess now we know which. :-(
It was a good day, a beautiful day, but ultimately, an annoying day. Grr!
But, on Thursday night over at Indianapolis Raceway Park, I met Tony Stewart (hometown, represent!), who is just the sweetest, nicest guy. He joked, he posed for pictures, and he signed a lot of stuff for us. What a guy. :-)
A few pics...
Our best view of the garage:
Meeting Tony Stewart and Danny Lasoski - I'm the dork on the right: