Normally, living in the suburbs on the northeast side of Indianapolis as I do, I’m a commuter when it comes to the Indy 500. I drive back and forth for all the days I’m out at the track, including race weekend. This year, with gas prices higher and the schedule of activities larger than ever, I’m camping out for race weekend, having secured a spot in one of the yards in Speedway to call home base for the weekend.
There’s a few things I want to do this year that I normally don’t get to do. That said, I didn’t want to make my regimen too strict. Aside from attending the Firestone Freedom 100 and Pit Stop Competition on Carb Day and checking out the autographs and memorabilia show on AJ Foyt Day Saturday, I’ve left the weekend before the race open a bit. Here’s the things I hope I find a chance to do:
-Have at least one meal from Mug n’ Bun. It’s been far too long.
-Visit the good folks at Camp and Brew. I’ve never been able to go before, and it’d be nice to see some online pals in person.
-Walk Georgetown Road the night before the race, and observe the general madness.
-Listen to the Centennial Celebration series from WIBC on my mp3 player the evening before the race.
-Hit up a big breakfast the morning before the race. I hear good things about the American Legion by the track.
-Pray for no rain, or at least a window over Terre Haute.
-Scrounge up a shower at some point.
-Take pictures like there’s no tomorrow.
-Visit the IMS Museum again. With the special 500 Winner collection only there through this May, I’ll take every chance I can to see this once-in-lifetime opportunity.
-See if I can find something (affordable) pertaining to Eddie Sachs at the memorabilia show. Even though he was before my time, he’s become one of my favorite drivers, and probably the one I most wish I could have met.
-Get as many autographs of the legends and also-rans alike at the “World’s Largest Autograph Session” Saturday. Whether someone was a champion or whether they barely qualified in Row 11, they did something amazing, and I’d be pleased to meet them.
-Reread Al Bloemker’s 500 Miles To Go.
Honestly, though, my dream would be to be able to walk out on the track in the middle of the night before the race, just listening and thinking. I doubt I’ll ever get the chance to do so, but for me, with what a sacred and amazing place the Speedway is, I’d remember that for life.
It should be an amazing weekend of fun, but with it being the Centennial Anniversary, it’s also going to be a time for a little more thought and reflection. I should be far enough away from some of the craziness that hopefully only a small amount of my reflection won’t come when I’m trying to dodge projectile vomiting and cornhole beanbags (though playing some of the latter is definitely on my to-do list).
I think it’s important to make your traditions at Indy; whether you’re there one day or all month, whether you’re camping or commuting, whether you’re with friends in J-Stand or doing a driver pool with friends 1000 miles away, we can take the best of Indy and create our own stories around it.
Once Race Day arrives, I’ll be at my seat early as always. But for this year at Indy, I’m looking forward to incorporating my own new traditions with the old.