Sunday, April 25, 2010

For Race Fans Only

The month of May is almost here! May has always been one of my favorite months of the year, second only to October. A few years ago you would always know where to find me during May ~ I would be at the Indy 500 track sitting in the stands with my friends, drinking beer, and stalking race car drivers. For 32 years I lived only a short walk from the famous Speedway and I LOVED it! My parents started taking me to the race when I was only 2. As a kid my dad use to work at the track as a yellow shirt and before that he would hop into the trunk of a buddys car and sneak in for the race. Both mom and dad loved AJ Foyt so he became my favorite driver too. The first race I actually remember was the 1973 race - we were sitting near Salt Walther's crash and to this day it remains one of the worst crashes I have ever witnessed at the track. As bad as it might sound, that is what got me hooked... it was the element of danger.

Abigails first time at Track

During the month of May when I was in junior high my mom would even call me in sick to school so we could go to the track for the day. One time we were walking to the track with a cooler in hand and we ran right into my vice principal. Without blinking an eye mom said we were heading to Rosners drugstore to get me some cold medicine and we had to put it on ice... then she told him the truth without even slowing down because we were in a hurry because it was Fast Friday.

I mentioned that I was a race car stalker.. Yes it is
true. I could not tell you how many hours I have spent in the garage area waiting to see, talk, or get a picture or autograph of my favorite driver. I have so many great memories of the times I have spent in the garage area.

Like I said, AJ Foyt will always be my favorite driver! The best memory I have of him was the first time I went to the Indy 200 in Disney World. I was there with my parents and we stayed in the Polynesian Resort. We were just getting in from a long day at the parks and I went outside on the pier in my PJs to watch the fireworks. I heard someone talking and looked over and couldn't believe it... It was AJ !!! I can't tell you how excited I was... I ran like lightening back to the room to change my clothes and told mom and dad to get dressed again and then we went into stalking mode.... He was having a late dinne
r in the lobby and I sat outside the restaurant and waited. When he finally came out I asked him if I could get my picture with him and he was actually really nice. I was so nervous because my dad invented the word slow and it seemed like forever until he took the picture. So worth it!

He has always been one of my heroes!

Most of my times and memories at Indy were happy, but when Scott Brayton was killed during practice in 1996 I remember being really sad. He was on the pole for the race and just a few days before his wreck I got to meet him at a downtown fan fair. He was so funny and you could tell that he was just a great guy.

I made it to 37 straight Indy 500s and I never thought I would
ever miss a race but when the IRL and Cart split happened it slowly became less exciting for me. Without the names Foyt, Andretti, Mears, and Unser it just lost my interest. This year will be my 3rd Indy 500 that I will watch from home and Yes I will be sad and probably cry a tiny bit when I hear "Back Home again in Indiana", and when I hear" Gentlemen Start Your Engines" I will get goosebumps as always, and when they wave the checkered flag I will raise my glass of beer and smile ~ for me, the race has lost a lot of its luster, but for some reason the history of the race and everything that goes on in the town of Speedway during the month of May will never leave me, and I will always treasure my times at the track with family and friends.

Jeff and I get so mad because we are both from Indy and now living in Southern Indiana we just hate the news here. Right now all we will hear about is the Derby- but you will be lucky to find out the winner of the Indy 500 come race night. So frustrating! **** I have paused a few minutes to think why did I just write a blog about the Indy 500???? I guess this time of year I tend to get homesick. I have no family there now but Speedway will always be my home.
Jeff at Indy

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