Wednesday, May 8, 2013

INDY 500: A Centennial Race Weekend to Remember...

So it’s funny – stealing a cliché from Mr. Dashley (Dario Franchitti) about starting to GET IT! As in starting to understand exactly just what Indy means... Just when I was beginning to feel this euphoria – the whole DISGUSTING Bump Day Shenanigan’s thrust upon us by Mikey Andretti in order to appease his sponsors DHL & Sundrop and BUY Ryan Hunter-Reay’s way into the 95th running of the Indianapolis 500 were dumped upon us, as this travesty made me feel completely Gutted ‘N wonderin’ why in the HELL had I bothered spending several hours of a weekend watching this year’s Pole & ‘Boomp Day? As I can only imagine the uproar if it’d been Danica instead... But how ‘bout that mesmerizing race day performance by Hunter-Reay, eh? (Can you say P23?)

Unbeknownst to Mwah, your humble No Fenders scribe was made an Honorary ‘Kuhnaidiun in support of ‘TAG whilst modeling his world famous floppy hat! (DOB)
Alas, having  already purchased my Aeroplane ticket many months ago, not to mention looking forward to another weekend’s outing at a racetrack with good friends, sunshine and the ambience of Motorsports all around Mwah; as I LUV the smell ‘O Ethanol in the Morning!

Yet I still DON’T know why I booked a flight leaving Seattle at 6:15AM – which means I’d awoken at OH DARK-30 in order to begin the frivolities of Airport travel – as my first ‘Handler (Wheelchair Assist) asked me why in the HELL are you traveling on a Thursday before  Memorial Day Sir? As he walked me thru an overly humongous crowd in Denver’s airport, where all of the flights seemingly departed at the same time – Oh Yeah, that’s right! I’d wanted to get to Indianapolis before nightfall and my arrival time worked out well, as Indiana Bureau Chief Daniel Baines Cooper was  awaiting me at the Security border of my flight’s arrival gate – musing: ‘GEEZ! Even the Pilot beat Yuhs off of the Aeroplane; Yuck-yuck-yuck!

Then Danny whisked us over to some ‘lil ‘Ol racetrack at 16th & Georgetown to the IMS Administration building to pick up my awaiting media credential before becoming ensnared in “Rush Hour” traffic upon our evening’s dining spot, the Jonathan Byrd’s Cafeteria, which reputedly is known as the Worlds Largest Cafeteria - seeming somewhat symbiotic to partake my initial foray into this eatery, since I’d long known of the late Jonathan Byrd’s name due to his long running involvement in Indy Cars, having even won the 1997 Indy 500 as Co-owner of Tredway Racing’s Arie Luyendyk chassis, albeit I remember Byrd more for his sponsorship of Dick Simon’s CART racing cars...


Carb Day: Friday, May 27
Dave “CARPETS” O’Brien: Dave, Dave’s NOT here! (‘Ol Cheech ‘N Chong routine...) And Mwah left to meet a few friends for a Caravan to the Speedway for Carb Day, albeit I found traffic into the Brickyard to be somewhat atrocious – as it’d take us two hours to make our way into the Infield, Thanxs to the parking pass IMS included with my media credential – as we ended up parking upon the Formula One backstretch; Y’all know that portion of tarmac Uncle Bobby thinks needs to be torn-up; Oh Never Mind!

And ‘CARPETS timing was impeccable as we sauntered down the front straightaway on the infield side of the track, walking past many of the Pit boxes which Dave read off to me as we passed each awaiting IndyCar driver & crew eagerly awaiting to begin the final Tune-up practice session before Raceday, before we clambered up a stairway to first stand and then finally sit in some bleachers. And it was amazing how cool it was Friday, as I think I was even accused of bringing Seattle’s weather with me?  And spent the entire day in a jacket & long pants...



Centennial Pace car driver ‘SuperTex, aka A.J. Foyt behind the wheel of 2011 Camaro at IMS. )DOB)
And the cool weather also seemed to play into the opening minutes of the ‘BigBoyz practice session, as ‘HULIO was clocked doing a scintillating lap of 136mph; WTF? As I commented how I couldn’t see any useful data being acquired by everybody running such slow speeds? As I think Justin ‘BIG UNIT Wilson was the first driver to crack 200mph – with Dave reading off to me the slowly increasing speeds which I presume he was seeing posted upon one of the track’s Big Screens?

This was a somewhat weird way to rekindle my Indy Car lore, as it’d been just over ten months since I’d witnessed the ‘BigCarz running in anger Up North Eh! Around Edmonton’s City Centre airport (to which I still haven’t managed to scribble ‘bout yet; CRIKEYS!) Yet the funnest part of the IndyCar session was my being able to observe the multitude of shiny, small, colourful blurbs burble, snort and snarl their way down Pitlane to their respective pit stalls.

Afterwards we sauntered back down the stairs to stand directly in front of Pitlane listening to all of the compressed air bottles going Pop- Pop- Pop- Pop... As they were all emptied before being shut off with Dave pointing out the various drivers going by; as ‘TK Follow-your-Schnoz  (Kanaan) walked by and waved to all of the fans, along with “Simona-Simona” (de Silvestro) resplendent in her “Mickey Mouse” gloves waving from her cockpit.

Then ‘CARPETS said there goes Kurty Cavin, do you wanna meet him? Next thing I knew Dave was yelling Yo Kurt Cavin and we both began waving frantically(?) at the mystified IndyStar scribe who politely turned around and came over to talk to us. Dave introduced me as Cavin stuck his enormous ‘Paw thru the slit in the fence and we shook hands – with Cavin saying” “I’d heard you may be coming out...” WTF? How in the HELL does he know? Telling Kurt I’d been listening to Trackside all month long, Kurt replied: You’ve been busy! While Dave interjected He’s a Zanardi fan, to which Cavin replied; so am I...

Next, we joined our Caravan friends who weren’t able to park inside and had to park elsewhere’s, as I believe when we arrived that the infield was then only open to those with parking passes... As our group made its way upstairs to the second level of terrace seats just south of the Pagoda - where we watched an overly chaotic Freedom 100 Indy Lights race – which seemed to have been run under more yellow flag laps then green? As I couldn’t see the nasty Turn-1 crash that ended the race under yellow, as hopefully all of the drivers were ok? After our friends left to go home, Susie & Debbie dropped by us to say hello to ‘CARPETS, during an overly LONG, drawn-out Pitstop competition, before meandering off to the fast approaching Carb Day concert’s twin bill of Poppa Roach & Staind; as in that’s stain with a D on the end of it – right, Dave? Yuck-yuck-yuck...

Afterwards we dropped by our favourite Waterin’ Hole, The Flagroom, which sadly lacks the ambiance, flair & frivolity pre-remodeling, as the once colorfully adorned walls with motorsport artist Ron “The Painter” Burton’s artwork are now bare – and even worse yet, UNEXCUSABLY! ‘Juan ‘O Burton’s $10,000 originals vanished during the remodeling, to which most understandably, Messer Burton is most upset by...


’BIA, nee Ana Beatriz on the Red Carpet - on her way into the Victory Banquet at the JW Marriott. (DOB)
Upon exiting the stale Flagroom, ‘CARPETS said; I think that’s ‘BIA? Before saying Hi Ana (Beatriz) to the fast approaching woman sporting a No. 24 baseball cap – as Ana then stopped and walked back towards us and said: Where are you guys going? The party’s just starting... As ‘BIA was on her way into the Last Row Ball being held next-door...

Having situated ourselves in a pair ‘O LazyBoy recliners at ‘CARPETZ MANOR, Dave & I took turns “Wresting-our-eyes” whilst awaiting Rob’s arrival from Toronto – as we’d accidently lucked into a wonderful Year-by-Year narrative of the Indy 500 race on some local Indianapolis TV  channel narrated by the recently deceased Tom Carnegie, having begun watching the program on the year 1971 – it was strange listening to The Captain’s youthful voice, when he was simply known as Roger Penske, the leader of those Crew Cut spit ‘N polish Boyz; enroute to capturing his first Borg Warner trophy with the late Mark Donohue in 1972. Then ‘CARPETS & I took turns dozing thru the ‘80’s before Rob finally arrived from his 11+ hour trek to Indy. And as we  yakked ‘bout various topics, mostly IndyCars, (obviously) Mr. Carnegie was rudely replaced by a Miss Indiana beauty pageant, as Carnegie, who I mused had been talking nonstop for the past 3hrs was simply replaced by somebody telling us about Cathy, a 22yr old film maker...


(DOB: Photos Courtesy of No Fenders ‘Offical Photographer ‘CARPETS)

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