I had a chance to go to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for work this past Thursday. This is one of my favorite days of the year. I am not a big racing fan but it's THE FREAKING INDIANAPOLIS 500!!! If you have not gone GO NOW. The sights and sounds are overwhelming and it's hard for me to explain. I just love it. Since I don't have a wireless connection or a laptop I wrote down some of the events of the day.
5:00AM Alarm goes off... SNOOZE
5:09 AM Alarm goes off... SNOOZE
5:10 AM I decide to get up and stumble around my apartment until I realize that I have to be at work by 6:00. Take a shower and all that fun stuff.
6:00 AM Roll into work, grab my Explorer fill the gas tank.
6:30 AM Grab my gear and go into the sports office to find Chud (sports anchor/ reporter) and Katie (associate producer). That's where I find out that Chud only got two hours of sleep, Katie had four and I got the most at six, so I get to drive the three hours to Indianapolis.
6:50 - 7:30 AM I've near killed us, I'm tired and I swear I did not see that truck break in front of me. During the drive Katie asks "Man what radio station is this? It's playing an awesome set." I had to break it to her that it was my MP3 player and we have a lengthy discussion about FM transmitters and where did I find mine. As the conversation ends one of the "future wife's" songs come on: "This is how a heart breaks" By Rob Thomas. I hit the next song button.
10:00 AM Arrive at the speedway. Get out credinals. Huzzah! Off to get interviews and video!
10:15 AM Ummm, wow, there is not a window over Terra Haute. With the threat of rain, no one is getting ready to practice, so this could be good. We get our interviews faster and we can go home at a reasonable time, but no video. I love getting to shoot the divers from the pits. It's a bit of an adrenaline rush, the cars are pulling in and out of the pits, guys running around doing technical car stuff and I'm right there over the wall smiling like a jack-a-ninny. Also getting home before 8:00... Would be nice.
10:16 AM We go to the paddock and see if we can get the drivers. Danica Patrick, Buddy Rice and the new guy Jeff Simmons. We were told to be there around 10 so no big deal.
10:20 AM We try and get Team Hemelgarn who has teamed up with Carmelo Anthony and Gene Simmons. Umm that is an interesting combination, plus their driver, P. J. Chesson, is quit interesting (more on him later). We find out Carmelo and Gene won't be there till probably race day and Roger won't get to Indy till Monday, but on the bright side P.J. will be in later.
10:30 AM We go back to Rahal Letterman and finally find the PR guy Brent. He tells us we can get Danica about 3:30 and Buddy and Jeff will be some time soon, but they are talking to some sponsors. We contemplate lunch, but decided to do some stand-ups.
10:40 AM Chud tells us. "I'm not a fast car guy. I don't get out of bed and go, oh yeah fast cars."
Guy in Blue : So ummm, do you think they gonna race?
Guy in Black: Well I heard there was a window over Terra Haute.
Guy in Blue: That's good, so do you wanna see if we can get Helios' autograph?
Guy in Black: I am so there!
11:00 AM Fate thy name be lady luck! We start taping out Sam Hornish stand-ups when Brent comes out and waves us over and I see Danica... SCORE we have an interview. We go inside talk to Danica, then Simmons and last is Buddy. All three were great interviews and we got just about every sound we need: How has Danica's life changes in the last year, How hard is it for Simmons to replace Paul Dana (R.I.P.) and how hard will it be for Buddy to get his second win at the 500. I'm happy and now it's time for lunch.
11:30 AM Indy 500 has a great lunch for media and it's staff. Today was either quality cold cuts or a Gyro. Katie and I braved the delicious, but messy gyro and Chud had a ginormous sandwich that exploded everywhere. Good times.
Noon We hear that they will be racing in 30 minutes. I'm happy as a little school girl.
12:30 PM We head back over to the Hemelgarn garage and we see P.J.
Just from one interview I want this guy to win! He's covered in tattoos and says what ever is on his mind. Here are some of the major moments in our interview:
- Called Hemelgarn a bad ass Ohio guy, Carmelo an NBAer with watches the size of hub caps and Gene "An Israeli jew from Brooklyn with a tongue that goes below his uh (long pause) his belt.. Buckle. You know what he wanted to say. It's in that area and I wish we would have said it.
- Calls himself a crazy son of a bitch
- Tells a story about punching out a tattoo guy.
- Says Tony Stewart needs to loose 20 pounds
Even though he sounds a little "different" he has one at every level he has raced. If nothing happens I think he can do some damage in the IRL
1:30 PM We have some racing. First on the track is the pens Racing Team with Napoleon native Sam Hornish Jr. I get a little video and one nice picture of Sam on the Track.
2:00 PM I head over to Rahal Letterman pits and all three are either on the track or in the pits and this is where I realize I do not have an "Over the wall" ribbon. I still jump the wall and act like I'm suppose to be there. I love this part of the day, I'm feet away from the cars. If one of the drivers loose there breaks I'm in a world of pain. It's worth all the risks. That's Danica's Car.
3:00 PM We get to leave the speedway and start back to the 'Bus and five minutes after we are on the road we find out Buddy has crashed. Oddly enough the exact same thing happened last year.
4:00 PM So is that Columbus, Ohio Oregon or Oklahoma? You make the call