I received an email today from my husband reminding me that in 5 months we’ll be in the stands at Iowa for the INDYCAR race. My response was something I never dreamed I would ever say: I’m so excited! I miss the smell of burning ethanol!
Before I got marred I never thought in a million years that I would be this excited about racing. Of course, I had really only seen NASCAR. JP introduced me to the IRL err, IndyCar uhhh, ummm I mean INDYCAR and now I love it. The drivers are personable and friendly. I love having pit passes so we can mill around the pits and even bump into and chat with the drivers. And with the advent of twitter I now feel like I actually know the drivers, it’s like they’re old friends.
Just a few weeks ago we were at a Pacers game and Graham and JR were there. I had just seen a tweet from Graham regarding his cologne so when I got a chance to talk to him at the game I mentioned that he smelled more like the Sharpie he was using to sign autographs than cologne, a comment that made him giggle. It felt like an exchange between friends. JR always seems to recognize my husband and always takes a moment to say hello to him. JP decided it would be a good idea to tell Graham that JR was going to "kick his butt" next year, laughs all around.
Last year at Long Beach I literally bumped into Simona, I apologized and patted her shoulder where I had bumped into her. She just smiled and said “no problem”. At Kentucky I was nearly run over by Ryan Briscoe on a scooter and received an apology. We’ve got pictures of JP with Dario (and of course JR!), me with Sarah, pictures of Justin, Vitor, Tony, Pippa and many others. I think one of the things that sets INDYCAR apart from other sports is that the drivers are so accessible to the fans. Too often you’ll see a professional athlete at some event looking like they’d rather be anywhere but there having to talk to the fans. Our drivers (and yes, they too are athletes) actually seem to enjoy the interaction, they seem to have fun with their fans.
So yes, in 5 months we’ll be in the stands at Iowa. Before then we’ll be in the stands at Indy. After that we’ll be in the grass at Mid-Ohio and in the stands at Kentucky. If we’re lucky maybe we’ll be in the stands or grass for another race or two. But until then we’ll be anxiously waiting the 61 days until we get to see our “friends” on the track in St Pete.
The View From the Right Seat by Niall Burns – Part 2
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