Sunday, April 3, 2016

Great Weekend in the Desert

The Phoenix oval was made for Indycar
So now the Indycar race is over and I am back in the Phoenix airport getting ready to head back home. A Friday night to Sunday night trip from Indy to Phoenix and back may seem extreme to a lot of people but I love it. I don’t know if I will feel the same tomorrow at work but that’s tomorrow; today I am happy to have gotten the chance to spend time with my brother sharing something we both love - Indycar racing - and talking about where we’re at in our lives. I don’t get to see his son, my nephew, very often as they have lived in Tucson for more than 14 years and the last time I was in Tucson was in December 2009 for my niece’s wedding, so our times together are hard to come by. Racing, or meeting over a race weekend, is turning out to be something we can manage and it gives us the chance to create some new memories together. Our next opportunity will be the Indy 500 in May and we plan to meet at Iowa in July for the ARCA and Indycar weekend. I know those will be a blast.

The gang's all here - at Phoenix together
I rarely get to go to a race these days where I can just spectate; I am usually working and have photo assignments to manage. So this weekend was an opportunity to just sit in our seats and enjoy the racing, exchanging commentary about what we were seeing and who was doing what, while not being worried about producing “award winning” photographs. Mind you, I don’t like shooting through the catch fencing from a distance as there is no way to get rid of it in the image, but I used this race to tune up for the rest of the season. What I found was my instincts are still sharp, and I can anticipate trouble many times well before something actually happens. So I was ready with my finger on the button, but didn’t stress over the results so much.

The Mayor of Hinchtown had a tough weekend
Never was that more true yesterday than during driver introductions as I knew it would be my best chance to get driver candids, and we were able to enjoy the crowd chanting and fighting for t-shirts being thrown out by the Firestone Firehawk, or reacting to the driver interviews and laughing about sponsor plugs like Josef Newgarden’s for Fuzzy’s Vodka. And we were able to do it together. We got to hang out as a group and just talk at a picnic table while we waited for the race. I got to know my nephew’s girlfriend and enjoy my nephew’s sense of humor and see how much he’s grown up, now a drummer and aspiring musician, and listen to him and my brother rattle off baseball trivia.

Today my brother and I ate breakfast and hung out by the pool at the hotel in Phoenix before the whole group went to a restaurant in Scottsdale to kill time before they had to take me back to the airport this afternoon. We went to the Old Town Scottsdale area and walked around the tourist shops, acted silly and then got ice cream and milk shakes before heading back towards Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix. They still had to drive back to Tucson so we said our goodbyes at the American Airlines area and I went in to go through security, find a place to charge my phone and type this blog post. This has been one of the toughest years of my life, with my Mom’s death and other family troubles we’re having to overcome, so it’s hard to put into words how much this weekend together means to me. And how much I miss seeing my Arizona family and being part of their lives. Love you guys. Next stop Indianapolis. Then Akron Tuesday to close on the sale of Mom’s house and then to Nashville, Tennessee Friday for my first ARCA race of the season. I can’t wait to get back again.

By the way - Scott Dixon dominated and won the 250 lap race at Phoenix. 
Scottie D. had everyone covered on this night

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