I loaded up my oldest daughter (six years old, going on eighteen) yesterday and headed down to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for Fan Appreciation Day.
Here's a few of the highlights:
-Tomas Scheckter, one of my favorite drivers, signed an autograph for me and my daughter. I wished him the best of luck, and said I hope he has a full-tine ride this year. That's the first time I've been able to meet Tomas, but
-Steve Chassey, Paul Goldsmith, Eldon Rasmussen, and Bob Harkey were all on hand as Indy 500 Legends. I ended up with all their autographs on a single page, which is going to hang in some prime real estate in my corner of the dwelling.
-Indy Lights drivers Pippa Mann and Philip Major from Sam Schmidt Motorsports were both on hand, also signing autographs. Pippa was especially nice to my daughter, which I really appreciated. She's charming, talented, and fun--I hope we see her in an IndyCar at some point next year.
-Perhaps the coolest moment was getting to meet one of the people I admire most, track historian Donald Davidson! I got to talk with him for a minute, and tell him how much I love The Talk of Gasoline Alley. I also joked about how every year, he gets the caller with the Jim Hurtubise Beer Under The Engine Cover Story. Absolutely a priceless moment.
-In addition to this, we wandered around the museum and the Louis Chevrolet monument, checked out the gift store and grill (both had some great discounts; the daughter snagged a Sarah Fisher t-shirt), and watched people do the IndyCar simulator and talk about IndyCar and the 500. It's a great day any time you're at the Speedway, but this one was truly special.
I hope next year sees another great Fan Appreciation Day, because we truly enjoyed it. Thanks to IMS and IZOD IndyCar for putting this on. I'm already a die-hard fan, but I think this is the sort of event that's great for making a whole new generation of die-hards fans. I think my daughter would agree.