Sunday, June 14, 2009

Surviving Indy (Lap 151-200)

Graham Hill Lotus 56 Turbine chassis

L200: Aftermath; Mon, 5/25
So it was nice to sleep in and not have anywhere important to go... Although originally Danny was gonna try taking me to the Winners interview Media-throng at the track, but told me that rain was definitely on the way and just minutes after hanging up two police sirens whailed by which were immediately followed by a massive crackling of thunder... as soon the entire area was under a deluge of precipitation and a long running thunderstorm... As Danny would later tell me that they’d gotten soaked at the Speedway... See Hulio? It’s NOT nice to fool Mother Nature...

And thus, I sent a large chunk of the day listening to as much of AM1070’s THE FAN race recap as I could stomach... Although amused to here one caller say he was still waiting for Danica to drive harder! While the overlying theme seemed to be that the race was BORING and NO one could pass... But by far the number one complaint was Mrs. Brady’s singing... Something about being put out to pasture.

And as Krabitz ‘N Eddie interviewed “RAFA,” it was the first I’d learned of his accident with Vitor Meira, thus I was surprised to hear Rafael Matos saying he’d gone to visit his friend Meira in the Hospital and that Vitor had broken his L2 vertebrae... As apparently Meira’s broken two vertebras and will be out of action for 4-6 months...

And Bill Martin of Sports Illustrated is blathering on about the race and bashing the Media center... Calling it an Aquarium Fishbowl, while later on in the show its none other then Mr. Dancin’ fool himself, as I’m sure Y’all have heard the sound bites of Hulio informing everybody that he just wants to make it absolutely clear that the $3.2m isn’t all his... Although he’ll now be able to pay his lawyers; Yuk-Yuk-Yuk...

And I’m starting to get a stomach-ache over ALL of the Danicker RASSCAR CRAP!!! I mean would she rather be a big fish in a small pond (IRL) or a small fish in a big pond? (NASCAR) Oh, but the IRL NEEDS her, whah-ahhhhh................ (But nary a peep about Sarah Fisher’s race, eh?)

Returning from dinner with Dave & Danny at the Union Jack Pub, as everyone’s been raving about their Pizzanoes since I arrived... Danny sez; hey look! There’s Justin Wilson’s truck... Huh? As sure enough there were two gleaming white Dale Coyne Racing team transporters parked discretely in the North forty as ironically I was sporting my J. Wilson RuSport T-shirt... So off to get ye ‘Ol camera while Danny softened them up... As I was introduced to DCR’s main truck driver Mike and back-up driver Scott, who’d previously worked full time for DCR for 16yrs before leaving last year, as they’d just spent the entire day at IMS breaking down the garages and getting ready to drive the four Dallara/Honda chassis back to Dale’s shop in Chicago, which was a 3hr drive, which they’ll do tomorrow, have a day off and then probably leave for Milwaukee on Thursday.

And Mike is a bit of a “Handyman,” not ony driving the Semi, but also being a tyre buster and doing the Hospitality suite... And although he offered to let us take a peak inside, he said it’s pretty dark and the cars are up above. Hey, hang on a second; let me see if I’ve got any Hero cards? Better yet, Mike came back with a Justin Wilson Press Kit for Mwah, COOL!

Tues, 5/26
About 8:11AM I hear that low grumble of a Diesel Semi-hauler pulling away as it works its way up thru the gears outside my rooms window; there goes the Dale Coyne Boyz... Before listening to more Hulio fodder on AM1070 while awaiting Danny’s arrival, as today we’re off to one of my favourite Automobile haunt’s; the IMS Hall of Fame museum.

After sauntering about the two gift shops where Danny’s asked two clerks if they have the Jimmy Neighbors blender? You know it’s from 1962 and has all those speeds; dicing, chopping and puree... Whale I could go look for you Sir? Then Danny notices that the esteemed Donald Davidson is sitting on a bench near the museum’s entrance bantering on about yesteryear with a few friends, so we stop and introduce ourselves and I thank him for all of his assistance on my Blue Crown Spark Plug Specials story... And I still cannot believe it’ll only set you back three smackeroos ($3) to get into this most Historic museum!

Naturally I had to ask the Docent at the entryway if they had Mauri Rose’s 1947-48 INDY 500 winning Blue Crown chassis on display. Yes, its right in there turn left at the first hallway... As Danny took off to blast thru the museum I decided to start at the end of the row after we’d briefly viewed Rose’s mount... Thus as I stood admiring ‘Ol Parnelli Jone’s ’63 winner Danny returned, looked behind me, did a double take and then asked; Do you want to meet Will Power? Uh Duh! As there was a group of three persons standing directly behind me; and as I turned around Danny introduced me to Will and before I knew it I was shaking hands... And then I sheepishly asked him how far he’d gotten up to? I think I heard third over the PA system, to which Power replied; I’ got up to second and was chasing down Helio. Then I mentioned to him how I’d heard something about his insane training regimen? You’re doing a Triathlon shortly aren’t you? NO! All of that was my Trainer’s idea, but I did do the Mini 500 this month. Any chance we’ll see you in anymore races this year? Well hopefully I’ll be doing about six more? And then we said our goodbyes as I overheard Will telling his party that an old friend had told him about the museum...

Next we made a brief sweep down what Danny called “Winner’s Row,” which featured a great selection of INDY 500 winning chassis; from Eddie Cheever’s ’98 mount, Arie Luyendyk’s ’97 Tredway car, Gordie Johncock’s ’73 STP Special, Big Al’s (Al Unser Sr.) ’86 Penske, Mark Donohue’s 1972 Sunoco Special, which Donald Davidson had previously told me is the real one... Mario Andretti’s ’69 Brawner Hawk and Bobby Unser’s ’68 Risoline Special... and I can’t remember if Tom “The Gasman” Sneva’s ’83 Texaco Star was in there or not?

On the opposite side of the room was the magnificent 1968 Lotus 56 Graham Hill Turbine car, which is stunning and thus it only seemed fitting that Herr Schumacher’s (Michael) 1991 Camel liveried Benetton B191 whas holding station alongside. And the rest is a blur, as there was the same Porsche and Peugeot Sports Racing Cars as I once again gravitated to Alberto Ascari’s Ferrari and the awesome Mercedes Benz 196(?) Silver Arrow, not to mention a bunch ‘O pristine turn of the century touring cars, etc; and that doesn’t even include the massive display cabinets filled with all sorts of memorabilia. Then a very brief gander at the Marmon Wasp, AJ Foyt’s ’67 winner and URGH! Danica’s 2005 Rookie RLR Argent car complete with firesuit and helmet as Danny said it’ll cost you plenty for me to take this picture...

Then that evening it was off to McGilvery’s, as Dave picked me up early for my impending “Big Interview” on Don Kay’s ‘lil Radio Show, of which I’ve already scribble ‘bout in: Tomaso on Autosport Radio. After my 15min ‘O fame “Dr. Who,” a.k.a. Tim Wardrop joined our table and I congratulated him on their two Indy Lights victories at St. Pete, as Tim briefly told us stories about the season, working for Porsche, etc before taking off. When I asked him about the Long Beach fiasco, Tim mentioned that it’s an old car, seven years old to be exact and that new flat crank causes some massive harmonics... And I’m assuming there’s also body flex in the chassis? As Tim said that the electrical system caught on fire as the whole wiring loom let go! On our way out of McGilvery’s Dave briefly introduced me to “Doc,” who’ll be 93 in two weeks and has been alive for every single INDY 500! As Doc is an old Hemelgarn man and a fixture at McGilvery’s for Don’s show.

Wed, 5/27
Wednesday morning was pretty low key as I’d already packed the night before and simply was awaiting Danny’s arrival, who took me out for a late brunch at a local restaurante called “Charlie Brown’s.” NO! I’m not making that up, but it’s a popular joint and has good food... Before we headed off to make our rounds at the IRL’s Administration Buildings of which I’ve previously scribbled about in; Back from Indy. And then alas, it was time to go to the Airport and begin the long process of going home...

And how can one put into perspective the full brunt of the Speedway’s shadows... Or adequately sum up the euphoria, expectations and pageantry of the INDY 500? As it dawned on me whilst standing outside on the fourth floor of the Media center how the 500 made me think of the Rose Bowl... And how they have many similarities, i.e.; Parade, Glitz ‘N Glamour, event Princesses, Marching Bands, a Massive event and are both each other’s respective Super Bowl each and every year... As one must simply go and attend in order to get the Full Monty of the spirited Spectale that Fisher & Co. built a century ago.

Now I’m exhausted and “I’ve got blisters on my fingers!” From typing madly away at le confUZer the past few dazes...

Kudos to Danny, Dave, Jeff and Carl for making my week in INDY so enjoyable!

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