They came. Some came for the first time, some for the umpteenth consecutive time, some for the first time in a long time. Were the latter visiting an old friend for the final time, or were they coming back to witness a rebirth? Were the first timers there just for the celebrity of this milestone, never to return again? We may never know. Nevertheless, the Speedway once again looked glorious in its fully filled grandstands and infield. I remember when every race looked this way. The pre- and post- race traffic delays actually made me happy. Will we see this ever again? here are some final thoughts on Race Weekend:
Carb Day and Legends Day both had tremendous crowds. They were just a taste of what Race Day would be like. I talked to several first timers both days who had a hard time believing the race day crowd would be triple what they were seeing.
The Race Day traffic jams actually made me happy, because it meant that the race had sold out again. I didn’t think it was even close to some of the worst traffic jams I’d ever seen on Race Day, however. A little over an hour on a side street wasn’t bad at all.
The “Celebrating My ____/100” labels was a very nice community touch. They allowed strangers to connect with more than just the smiles and nods that fans give each other as they walk around before the start. I’ve seen many photos on twitter of the tags. Mine will be on display in the “500” room.
The most meaningful event of the weekend was Saturday evening’s pre race party. My race group joined by several of my racing friends was just an incredible bonding of fans. Thanks to my girlfriend Marty, who cooked and planned the event, and to all who came, it was a wonderful time.
The Carb Night Burger Bash is one of my favorite events of the weekend. It is a fantastic post Carb Day get together. I like that it raises a lot of money for charity. However…The move downtown, while necessary because of the growth of the event, took away the intimate feeling of it. While I appreciate Steak n Shake’s involvement and sponsor activation in Indycar, a local business lost out in this deal. The stage and glitz sadly moved the Burger Bash to a new level which I found a bit unsettling. I will still support it, but I am not happy with this direction.
I just watched the DVR of ABC’s pre-race show. It is by far the best pre-race they have ever done. An excellent blend of history and current races, great features, and an overall reverence and respect for the 500 I have never seen from them. I hope this is the beginning of better things from ABC regarding Indycar.
Now on to Detroit. I will continue writing about the history of the 500 while covering the rest of the IndyCar season as much as I can.