I started thinking about what I wanted to do in terms of this year's IndyCar season, and I think I have some pretty good goals in mind. With that in mind, so I made a list on the big things I want to accomplish this year:
1) Bring New Fans To The Indy 500
Every year, I try to get new fans into the Month of May, be it practice, qualifications, or the race itself. There's nothing like seeing that glow when someone finally understands what all the excitement and pageantry is about. Whether it's the cost of a practice ticket, or helping find someone their first seats for the 500, this is one of the best times of the year.
2) Take My Daughter To Her First IndyCar Race
This will occur in June, when my oldest daughter heads to the historic Milwaukee Mile for her first full race weekend. She's been to IMS with me plenty of times, but never to the race itself. She's excited, I'm excited, and I can think of few better introductory races for a kid her age. This should be my favorite trip of the year.
3) Help Grow INDYCAR's Appeal For Kids.
With Turbo coming out this year, the time is well past for INDYCAR to feature more online resources for kids. Whether it's for INDYCAR Nation or another part of the site, there needs to be an online presence that is kid-friendly and accessible. Printable coloring pages, drivers answering questions from kids, age-specific tech interviews. We have a sport that kids should find fast, amazing, and ridiculously cool. Time to recognize that and grow that demographic. I will write emails all year, lobby the powers-that-be, and generally be a pain in the butt until something is done.
4) Trash Talk When Takuma Sato Or EJ Viso Wins A Race.
You might not know this about me, but for the last year in our family's Pick-A-Driver contest, I have chosen either EJ Viso or Takuma Sato as one of my three drivers for the race weekend. Oh, sure, the skeptics out there scoff, and I'm fairly certain our family's reigning champ (my 5 year-old daughter) sees me as a pitiable idiot, but I endure. For I have FAITH. Taku or EJ WILL take that checkered flag, and when it happens, I will do a horrifying, delicious Dance of Vindication in my living room.
5) See A One-Off Underdog Kick Butt At The Indy 500.
There's really nothing I can do to make this one happen, but I am rarely happier than when someone the deck is stacked against either a) makes it in on Bump Day, or b) manages an awesome finish at the 500. I have a few drivers I wouldn't mind seeing this scenario happen to, but as long as someone unlikely makes good, my perpetual love for underdogs is rewarded.
6) Somehow, Make It To Pocono.
I swore, when Pocono was announced on the schedule, that come hell or high water, I would make it to this race. My racing budget, outside of what I have announced? Zero. Will that deter me? Certainly not. I gotta see the return to the Tricky Triangle.
7) Make It To More Mazda Road to Indy Events.
I usually see a fair amount of Firestone Indy Lights events over the course of a season, but I was seriously short on watching Pro (Star) Mazda and USF2000 races last year, despite the fact that ladder series such as Pro Mazda have some of the most exciting racing going. As much as I enjoy the Mazda Road to Indy, I need to ensure that my schedule for combined race weekends take them into account.
(Courtesy IMS Media)
8) Continue To Thank The Sponsors
I got some really neat responses from INDYCAR sponsors last year when I was part of the 33 Days, 33 Letters challenge. This year, I wanted to a measured approach throughout the season, identifying such companies on social media, and genuinely thanking them for their involvement. Whether it's GoDaddy, RC Cola, or Fuzzy's Vodka, I want them to know their time and investment has a direct effect on our family's purchasing habits.
9) Join In NewTrackRecord's Tenderloin Tour
My pal Mark Wilkinson is not only a man of letters and wisdom over at New Track Record, he also may boast of being the impetus behind the Indy Tenderloin Tour. If you need an example other than the 500 that God blessed the State of Indiana, I would direct you to the breaded pork tenderloin, which along with sugar cream pie, is essentially proof of His love.
10) Get My Son To Meet Scott Dixon
In my son's mind, Scott Dixon is the fastest human on the planet. Threatened only occasionally by his other favorite drivers, Dixon, by merit of driving a red car and because he is awesome, is the best, as my son will sagely inform you. I really think he'd be hugely impressed to meet one of his heroes, and there's a much better shot of him getting to meet Scott Dixon versus Batman or the Incredible Hulk (the other two parts of his 3 year-old Triumvirate of Awesome).
Well, there it is. Perhaps not every item on that list will grow the sport, but they should all be a lot of fun. What does your IndyCar Fan List look like this year?