May 26, 2012 – “Legends Day” at the Indianapolis Speedway

Today is Saturday, the day before the Indianapolis 500 and we had tickets for the garage area and the pre-race Drivers’ Meeting at “Legends Day”. Last night we had learned that the events were all in the morning, so we were up at 7:30 AM, earlier than ever before on this trip.

We left our car in the garage and took a taxi to the track at 8:30.  We were the only ones looking for a taxi, and were really surprised that there weren’t crowds heading there.  The taxi driver, from Niger, told us that attendance has been falling off steadily for the past few years.  He was able to take us to the front gate, while in the past he would have had to drop us off blocks from the track because of the traffic jam.

We immediately saw a row of beautifully maintained racing cars, and we thought these 

The owner, Teresa, and her matching car

were the historic racing cars that were going to parade on the track shortly.  But no, these were enthusiast’s cars lovingly restored and maintained for show, and don’t generally see a track any more.  This morning the temperature was in the mid-90s F, and they were expecting record highs for the race.  It seriously hot already.  The event that was going on at the moment, and all morning was

the signing of autographs.  All the drivers were seated at tables, and there were long lines at each one.  I began looking for a way to get to the track to put a foot on what used to be called “the brickyard” because that was the track surface in the old days.  But it was not to be, so we wound up in the grandstand for the parade of vintage Indy cars.  When they finally came by, it was no parade at all!  They were really moving!  And sound! It had the effect of actual racing.  I can imagine what it must be like when they are racing for real.  Teresa said, “I’m really getting into this!”  We figure that if the dates were right, we could come to the actual Indy 500 and still make it to the World Science Festival in New York.

Next came the Drivers’ Meeting where they were all presented with their Indy starters’ rings which they earned by qualifying for the race. There were some instructions, too, which included that if there was a restart, it would be single file, which apparently the drivers do not care for.

Two drivers signing autographs

The speaker said that very likely they would go back to double file
restarts next year.  He also said that if there were a full-track yellow in the last 20 laps, all the lapped cars would be placed at the end to give the contenders better competition.

We next headed over to the garage area where the teams were finishing preparations of the cars.  Part of prep was to tow them out to the fueling area.  They only top them off tomorrow morning one mechanic explained.

The garage areaa

Time for a little R&R and blogging. We headed back to Gate 6 where we had come in, wondering what we would do about getting a taxi, when just as we arrived curbside, a taxi pulled up and we got in.  As we headed for the hotel, he said “You called for a cab. right?”  We answered no, and it was hard to determine whether he cared at all.  At that point, we certainly didn’t.

For dinner Teresa found the Slippery Noodle, which, according to our guidebook “has seen action as a whorehouse, slaughterhouse, gangster hangout, and Underground Railway station; currently it’s one of the best blues clubs in the country.” We headed over there and found a rabbit warren of little rooms off a long central hallway.  There were three bands scheduled that night, one outside and two inside.  We picked the “Illusions” because our host said they played some Michael Jackson numbers last night, and there were Blues Brothers iconography all over the walls.

Karri and Ryan Nickerson from Ohio

I tried a pork tenderloin sandwich, which is touted as an Indianapolis specialty, and in fact, it was very good. We met Ryan and Karri Nickerson who were here from Iowa for their first 500.  He works in exterior building materials and to some extent, remodeling.  Karri works for the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) an non-profit organization.  She was quite familiar my daughter Jessica’s company, Elsevier, does publishing in various form. When the band came on, it was very good too, but just plain too loud.  I turned off my hearing aids and made Teresa ear plugs, but it was still painful.  Their drummer was really good.  His best work came before I started recording, but here’s a sample.

We decided to finish dinner and escape to the balcony, but there was another set of speakers up at balcony level which were just as loud, so we escaped to the outside band which was just fine.

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One Response to May 26, 2012 – “Legends Day” at the Indianapolis Speedway

  1. Jessica says:

    Oh Ryan Nickerson, I know that guy. He’s on his 3rd wife. That’s his 2nd one. Truly a loser.

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