Saturday, June 16, 2007

US Grand Prix at Indianapolis - McLarens Top Friday Timesheet

It was another beautiful day for racing in Indianapolis, and despite what F1 czar Bernie Ecclestone was quoted as saying in the Indianapolis Star June 15th, Formula One DOES need to be in America. More specifically, it needs to stay in Indianapolis. Where else is someone going to spend upwards of $100 million to make a facility suitable for F1 which has the recognition of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway? Nowhere. Maybe Bernie has forgotten what racing in Dallas, Phoenix and Vegas were like. Then again, he probably made money so maybe he doesn't care about the rest.

And the "rest" today was simply awesome. Alonso and his British superstar teammate Hamilton showed everyone else the fast way, and in Turn 7 you could see they were pushing really hard, as Hamilton had more than one lockup in the breaking zone. Three solid hours of track time today under bright warm skies had the local fanatics who called in "sick" today joining thousands of out-of-towners for a great speed show. It serves Ralphie right that he is faster than only the Toyota test driver Nakajima and the woeful Spyker team cars, having said F1 shouldn't be on an Indy-style track. This from someone who couldn't handle the Oval Turn 1 (twice) and might be a tad light footed getting around the old Brickyard. He's outta here anyway after this year, especially now that he doesn't have his big brother's coattails to hang onto. But enough of my rant already.

There's a sweet beauty to the sights & sounds of Grand Prix cars that is unmatched in racing. Perhaps only LeMans style sports car racing has greater variety of manufacturers and designs. And at Indy, some may lament the layout but I think it's a perfect blend of high speed oval and challenging infield road course. But then I'm biased since it IS Indianapolis after all.

I am blessed to live in Indy - truly the racing capitol of the world. My story today goes beyond the excitement on the race track. I have to thank the Speedway's Safety Patrol and fans in the Turn 10 mounds area. About a half hour after the afternoon practice session was over, we had left the mounds and walked over the Bridgestone bridge to the Museum parking lot when I realized that my cell phone was no longer clipped to my pants pocket. So I retraced may steps and went back to the now-vacated mound area and looked around where my brother, his son and I had sat down for awhile, and where I had been shooting against the spectator barricades. I was about to be disappointed in myself for having lost the phone when I asked a group of Yellow Shirts if anyone had turned in a phone. The oldest gentlemen in the bunch simply held it up and said they had been talking about how to try to find me. Thankfully, some fan found my phone and turned it in to them. That absolutely made myday and proved to me once again why race fans are some of the best people on the planet.

I owe you one.See you Sunday!


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