Since I was a lot younger I’ve wanted to go see a car race in person. I’m more of a Nascar fan, but when Dom asked if I wanted to go to the Indy car race last weekend I was excited anyway! It was my first ever live car race and while I’m sure there will be more in the future, it was an experience to remember.
Saturday evening we arrived at the raceway and checked into tent camping. We were able to choose any empty tent spot and we ended up picking one on the end near security and the bathrooms (I was very thankful for that!). We grilled our dinner (I chose some griller veggie burgers at the food store and they were awesome!) and set up camp.
At about 9:45 they announced a storm watch (we were already watching the lightning in the distance) and that we should get everything secured and seek shelter. After our last camping experience we thought we were ready for a little bit of rain, especially since it was only going to last a half an hour. We got in the tent, expected to get rain, and got crazy wind gusts in addition to the storm! Our tent cover started blowing around and I was grabbing it from inside the tent while Dom got his rain gear on to tighten everything up. About 5 minutes later it was only a light drizzle but our blankets were pretty much soaked. We let it dry and brought what stayed dry into the car where we stayed for a few hours until everything else was dry enough to go back to sleep in the tent. It was a rough few hours but we were sort of dry and only a little chilly (me).
Sunday morning showed way more promising with it’s bright skies and 60’s – 70’s temperatures. I woke up early to tent-side paper delivery and read about the day’s race.
I waited for Dom to get up so we could go shopping before the players came out to do autographs! We got to explore the pits, paddock, and garage with our passes and it was all so cool!
We were finally directed to the large Indy Car shop so I could search for a Will Power shirt. I found one I liked, after some long deliberation, and Dom bought a Helio Castroneves shirt for himself. We were about to leave the store when we discovered the most perfect cozies (I bought Will Power again and Dom found Fernando Alonso, a formula 1 driver who drove in an Indy Car race this year and whom Dom loves).
When we finally left the store we saw the lines for autographs were already ridiculously long and the drivers wouldn’t be out for another hour! Instead, we decided to check out the Firestone tent where we drove in a virtual race! Dom came in first and got to do a victory video 😂
By that time, Tony Kanaan was getting ready to do a Q & A so we decided to check it out. We stood on the side and got to watch as he answered some great questions. He had a really good sense of humor and was fun to watch.
Towards the end of his Q & A James Hinchcliffe (Hinch) came out (non race car fans may know him from Dancing With the Stars) and that was so much fun.
Then we were in the perfect spot to see all the drivers arrive for their autograph session!
After that we went back to change into shorts, since it had gotten warmer, and our new shirts. We made lunch and then decided to go explore the pits before the race started.
We then decided to stay behind the pits (we got kicked out of the pit area about a half hour before the race started so the teams could get everything ready) so we could watch through the fence. I got some great footage of the start of the race with the Pace Car leading through Pit Road. We watched until the Pace Car drove back down Pit Road and the rest of the cars got the green light!
Dom wanted to stay to watch the first pits but we didn’t know how many laps that would be so we decided to go back to the car, pull it up to the fence near turn two, and watch from the roof of the car until a later pit so we could walk back and watch.
It was so fun to sit on the roof of the Roadmaster and watch Turn 2. We used Dom’s Indy Car app to listen to everything that was going on in the other turns and we could sort of make out Turn 1. Turn 3 was behind a big ol’ RV and we couldn’t see anything past that.
At around lap 81 we decided to get down and walk back out to the pits so that we could see a few pit crews in action around lap 100-110. We ended up being in for a safety but the cars all came in and out so quickly we only actually saw 3 full pits. It was really cool and Dom took video of two of the pits we watched. They get in and out in like 7 seconds!
We then went back to watch the rest of the race from the roof of the Roadmaster and what a race it was!! For about 30 laps Graham Rahal (#15) and Tony Kanaan (#10) fought for the first spot, switching every other lap! We were in a great spot for this and as they came around Turn 2 we could see them getting closer and closer before the second driver made a pass in Turn 3. Then the score board would change as they completed the lap! The excitement was insane! It really was an amazing race.
Then it came time for everyone to pit. Since Will Power (#12) pitted later than most of the other drivers, he held out the longest and then increased his lead by almost lapping the other drivers. That meant when he finally went in to pit he was able to keep his lead and take the first spot! That’s when it got so exciting for me since I was hoping he would win! The last pits came and he held onto a lead again with only about 20 laps to go. Marco Andretti (#27) tried to hold off longer, keeping that top spot until it was absolutely necessary for him to pit. He just did a quick gas and go to try to maintain his lead but then everyone else was on new tires and he didn’t catch back up to the leaders.
By the last few laps, Josef Newgarden (#2) was running in the #2 spot. He was close to catching Power, but since they are teammates, he was also helping keeping everyone else at bay. Dom looked it up and if Newgarden came in second place, he would take #1 in the points leaderboard so we figured his team would tell him that and try not to overtake Power who needed the points to secure his spot on the leaderboard. Down to the last lap we were biting our nails in anticipation and when Power drove around Turn 2 in the last lap still in the lead I was elated!
The scoreboard changed to lap 200 and it was official – Will Power won the race!
I was overjoyed as we got into the car (we had everything but the snacks and the blanket we were sitting on on the roof packed already so we could leave) and got on our way. Overall my first car race was a complete success, and aside from a few hiccups – rain giving us a restless night and being pretty exhausted on the ride home – it was amazing! We are already hoping to go again next year and maybe rent an RV. We would both love to do a Nascar race and see the difference in fans (this race didn’t get nearly as many people as Nascar races get) and I would just love to see the stock cars in action 🙂
This was a longer post than I anticipated. Not all of my 30 Before 30 posts will be this long but this was so recent and I’m still so excited about the race that I had to get it all down!
Tune in next week for another post off of my 30 Before 30 List! ❤ Juli