Sunday, September 23, 2007

Brickyard Flyer (Part 2)

Standing in pit lane watching the whole procedure was very enlightening, as everything except for climbing aboard followed normal racing procedures. From the firing of engine via auxiliary starter to the pit crew pushing the car off via the rear wing. Along with Hamilton killing the motor and coasting the last 100 feet to a complete stop.

With four (victims) riders ahead of me, we watched Hamilton being rolled backwards as the momentary silence was broken by the BBUURRRR-RAP BBUURRRR-RAP BBUURRRR-RAP Rat-a-tat of wheel guns bolting on a fresh set of Firestone rubber…

I then overheard two men behind me commenting that they didn’t want to go out on “Sticker’s.” So I interrupted and said you want them scrubbed –in for maximum adhesion? Although I’ve been led to believe that sticker tires are faster than scrubbed?

And then back to action as we continued watching Davey run mid-50’s during his hot laps. As Mike kept checking his wrist watch along with pointing out that the Sinden crew was also timing Davey. (50-55 second laps approx.) As Danny had earlier informed the check-in girls that Mr. Tomaso would prefer to go 200mph today! And although this chassis has apparently reached 208mph, the Speedway has imposed strict performance limitations. With the Sinden Racing literature claiming a top speed of 180mph

Then it was Mike’s turn to put the rest of the uniform on, before going for his ride, which meant I was next… GULP!

Moving forward, another very friendly woman first assisted me with putting on the balaclava. Making certain it was tucked in correctly before fastening the velcro throat strap.

Then she asked me what size helmet do you wear? “I DON’T KNOW.” Ok, we’ll try a large. Placing the helmet on my head it seemed fairly snug when she first put it on. It actually felt almost too tight giving me a brief headache. She replied, good that’s what we want As I’d later understand why while she fastened the chin strap securely before helping me don on the matching nomex gloves.

Standing there with the helmet visor up I was asked; “Are you nervous?” NO!!! I feel GREAT!!! With Danny telling me to try keeping my answers a bit shorter…

Actually I had mild butterflies of excitement, as I was totally ready for the ride of my life! Since it’s not everyday that I strap-on a two seater Indy Car!

Then Scott Jasek (Sinden Racing Co-Owner) came up and greeted me, saying he’d personally help me aboard the race car when my turn came. As I watched Hamilton coasts the beast to a stop directly in front of me. Next Mike climbed out and soon it was my turn to enter the pit lane. As they have really cool custom fabricated aluminum steps for getting into the back seat, with the two step platform neatly fitting underneath and over the G-Force’s side pod.

At this point I was slightly nervous of mis-stepping, since I noticed with my helmet on. It was hard to see where my feet were going. (As I heard my “Inner-Child” SCREAMING DON’T step on the side pod!) Then I was instructed to put my right hand on the passenger’s roll hoop and grab the driver’s roll hoop with my left. Before simply stepping into the belly of the beast and rotating 45 degrees

Now facing forward while standing on the carbon fibre passenger’s seat, I was instructed to simply slide down. No, put one foot on each side of the drivers seat I was told. Interestingly the driver’s seat was completely visible to me, since this is where the chassis had been modified. Now comfortably seated, they reached in to secure my lap belt. Next I was told to bend my head forward while the shoulder belts were connected. Then tilting my head back they cinched up the six point harness snuggly. I asked what about my visor? Don’t worry… We’ll take care of that. And then SNAP!

Next I heard the bark of the engine being fired behind me… Idling serenely, I heard the thump of first gear being engaged and then we were off! As the car rolled down the pit lane warm-up loop quickly gathering speed

With the initial clutch engagement, I counted as Davey shifted gears four times while blending onto the Speedway upon exiting turn Two. And man oh man; we were already totally up to speed as we scooted down the back straight. Which really didn’t feel that fast to me

Although I’m told there’s handles to grip, I never located these. Nor did I grip anything during the entire ride. Yet perhaps I was simply resting my hands on top of them. As there appeared to be two slight openings on each side of the drivers roll hoop. Since there doesn’t seem to be any space alongside your legs. Definitely NO armrests, I just stuck my hands in these holes for the duration…

And then BOOM! We entered turn Three and I was TOTALLY FLABBERGASTED as the unexpected G-Forces tried to throw my head out of the cockpit! SHEISA!!! As the unexpected G-Forces physically pulled my helmet hard right… And that made me scream!

And then the funniest sensation of the whole ride As my brain felt like it was a step behind. Quickly learning why the section connecting the two turns are called the Short Chutes.

BAMM!!! HOLY FUCKING SHIT!!! As my head was ripped right once again… And then before you know it you’re screaming down the front straightaway!!!

Now In full sensory OVERLOAD!!! I decided to try looking ahead over the back of Davey Hamilton’s helmet. And upon doing this I suddenly felt the air trying to rip my helmet off! OH CRAP!!! Better NOT try that any more. Instead just looking over to the right Hey there’s the empty grandstands. And then to the left Yep, there’s the pit lane… And OH SHIT!!! (CENSOR that RASSCAR!) Here comes Turn One… YEE-HAWWWWWWWWW!!!

Simply screaming gleefully every time we entered a corner And although I thought it!!! I NEVER screamed any bad words… As it was just too DAMN FUN! With my 64k Commodore “noggin’” (brain) totally incapable of fathoming the feeling of the G-Forces. And WHAMO!!! As we’ve already traveled the length of the Short Chute and my head is flinging right again thru Turn Two…

Down the back straight somewhere between 170-180mph! Funny, now for several years I’d been telling’ Jefford how I wanted to join the 200mph club! (And still do!) To which this was the closest I’d ever been. But I was so much MORE impressed with the cornering speeds that going 175mph really didn’t feel that fast. As I suspect it has something to do with how long the two main straightaways at Indy are…

And then get ready for it, KABLAMOE!!! We’re hurtling thru Turn Four once again as we’re now doing our hot middle lap, with the race car at full song. Yet I never felt anything while going over the Yard of Bricks, along with being amazed how cool I felt with the surging of fresh air firmly flowing thru my cockpit appendage. Yep, there’s the Pagoda and Scoring Pylon… Which means. SHEISA!!! BOOM! Turn One as I am counting my laps the whole time…

The Short Chute flies past briefly and WHAM!!! Turn Two and another blast down to Turn Three. And I’m silently hoping during all of my contorted screaming that may be, just may be? I’ll get an extra lap? As we’re still rocketing around the Speedway at full speed for one last trip thru the final two turns And after exiting Turn Four sadly the car turns left as we’re back onto the pit warm-up lane, quickly decelerating… And NNOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!! It’s too soon. DON’T STOP!!! As Davey cuts the engine and we coast in the last 100 feet silently…

Then there’s arms inside the cockpit disconnecting the six point harness, which has aptly done its job. Flipping my visor up, I’m given the all clear to stand up. As I reverse the procedure of extricating myself from the cockpit, the warmth instantly hits me. And feeling a little dizzy, I start to put my feet in the wrong position when stepping back down onto Tera Firma…

Then I’m out of the car and my helmet strap is undone, allowing me to pull off my helmet and balaclava before being directed in front of the beast for one final picture

Stepping off pit lane I pause to return my helmet and gloves, while being asked: “How was It?” AWESOME TOTALLY FRILLING AWESOME!!! IT WAS TOO SHORT AND TOO SLOW!!! To which everyone laughs at. With Danny telling me the smile on my face was worth the effort of chaperoning me…

At this time I suddenly realize just how much I’ve been sweating, as while inside the cockpit’s cocoon, my sensories had been fully diverted to the E-Ticket ride I was taking. So I decided it was time to get outta the monkey suit and slip back into shorts. Yet I couldn’t stop talking… As it was the most INSANE ride I’d ever taken!

And there you have it. In the time it took you to read this article I had circulated the Indianapolis Motor Speedway three times…
For more Indianapolis stories, see; Doctor Doctor

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