Indy extracts from March 2014
have been a motor racing fan since I was a boy. While some kids played football I was making rally stages in mother’s flower beds for my toy cars.
Father took me to the VSCC meetings at Silverstone from an early age and from then on I’ve always liked being in motor racing paddocks. Like most at that age I devoured motor racing magazines and would not miss a Grand Prix or the RAC rally on the telly. Remember this was a time when the general public knew there were other forms of racing other than Formula 1.
I’ve always had 4 circuits I want to visit. Spa Francorchamps, (more of that another time). LeMans, Monaco and the Indianapolis Raceway.
The Company I work for has its Corporate base in Columbus, Indiana which is approximately 50 miles North of Indianapolis. Last year I had to visit there in May including a weekend stopover during the 500 qualifying weekend. Result!!
The Indy 500 meeting is a month long event in Indianapolis. Early on the Saturday morning I was out of the hotel, into the hire car with Sat Nav instructed to get me to the circuit.
The residents of Kirkby Mallory and the surrounding villages near Mallory Park need to take a leaf out the American’s book. As you arrive in Down town Indy you are met with sight of huge stands that tell you have arrived. The local residents who live literally across the road TOTALLY embrace the event. They throw street parties, offer parking on their drives or lawns for 5 or 10 dollars a day. To help sell the spaces on her father’s drive a six year old had dressed as Minnie Mouse and held a sign to create differentiation. Obviously that’s where I parked. As you get out of the car. Rock music is broadcasting from the Stadium creating an atmosphere you only see in America. At Mallory their up in arms if a mini has got the wrong exhaust fitted.
To my shame I have always been dismissive of oval racing. Never again. As I walked into the circuit I saw the famous start and finish straight and watched a
The MVPS Bulletin March 2014
Solitary car fly down the main straight and just turn into turn 1. Throughout the whole of the week-end I did not get used to corner speeds. Phenomenal!!. It requires huge talent and courage
Qualifying is not recorded in lap time like in F1 but is the average speed achieved over 4 laps. Here’s some stats. The speed achieved for Pole was 229.7 mph! (average lap speed). 4 cars only achieved speeds of just below 224 mph and had to re-qualify on the Sunday morning. Imagine 223 mph being too slow!
It was qualifying so the stands weren’t full but the atmosphere was still amazing. Very American. Fantastically organised. Lots of whooping and hollering as cars achieved near pole times, brass bands, complete respect for the National Anthem. And lunch was a smoked Turkey Leg for $ 8.00. Brilliant!
Sunday is bump day. This where all qualifying is complete so the teams have all day to change car set up for race conditions. (dirty air) An informal agreement ensures all the cars practise at the same time. So I got a feel for what Raceday is like. I sat on turn 4 as 30 cars exited the bend onto the home straight at 200+ mph. Amazing.
They also celebrate their veterans on the same day and entry is free to serving military men and women
Anyone who has been to the States knows a Brit is not on their own for long and I had a great time with some die hard US race fans
Will I go again? No doubt. I have to see that Raceway when it’s full of 400,000 Americans celebrating who they are. I’m 50 in 2 years and it will be the 100th Indy 500.
It’s a no brainer!