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9:12 a.m. - May 29, 2006
It's Hot - I'm An Idiot!
Smed is congruent to idiot.

Yep.

Who else, when sunscreen is available, eschews it, even though he is going to sit outside in the heat and humidity from about 10:30 to 4:30 watching the Indy 500?

Me, that’s who!

(Although at about 2:00 I did put some on, but I think I was basting myself more than anything. I was merely sealing in the juices, as it were.)

I think Wolfgang Puck is going to serve me in a cream sauce today at the Indianapolis Museum of Art’s restaurant.

Race day was a fun day, though.

The whole purpose of the home invasion was so my brother and his wife could come to the race. They did bring my niece, her husband, and their two kids as well, and everyone was staying at our house on Sunday night so they could all get to the airport Monday morning, and so that my niece could eat Pizza King pizza.

(Pizza King – not normally my choice, but hey…)

Because the race starts two hours later than it traditionally did (thanks to TV and DST), we didn’t have to leave the house at the crack of light in order to get parked and get into our seats.

That was a good thing. As soon as I picked up my sister, I realized that I forgot one important item.

Oh, I brought beer, food, cheetoes, and some CDs to listen to on the way home.

But one important item was missing….

The tickets!

Fortunately, we were just five minutes away from the house so it was an easy jaunt back to claim the important ducats.

Having secured them, we went on our way. It was a pretty non eventful drive.

There was some traffic on 38th Street, but it was moving fairly well despite the fact that 250,000 people were trying to get to the same spot in Indianapolis. Almost every Indiana State Trooper was on the scene directing traffic and making sure people weren’t being idiots and trying to cross three lanes at once.

We parked at our normal spot (which is about 1 ½ miles from the track but allows for quick exits) at Northwest High School and started our walk to the track. The journey took us through the big parking lot in the field behind the Coke distribution center, and let me tell you – that experience is almost worth the price of admission.

At 9:30 in the morning, while some 12-year old girls were playing pool at a pool table under a big awning, I saw this lady chug a Budweiser tall boy. My kinda woman!

We saw kegs, we saw cans, we saw bottles; we saw beer of all sorts being consumed.

We saw meats of all sorts being grilled and eaten. Some souls were actually eating breakfast foods, too, and washing them down with, well, guess. (Though I did see a few souls with Bloody Marys, to be honest).

Not everyone was drinking, though. The rest of my family was smart and didn’t have any beer, while I don’t think I saw anyone blatantly underage drink. But I can’t tell the difference between a 16-year old and a 22-year old nowadays anyway. Maybe I should count the piercings? Would that be like counting rings?

The music blasting through the parking lot was classic rock. Hoosier classic rock, to be precise. Bob Seger, please report to Indiana, your fan base is here.

We hiked and hiked and hiked, over the tunnel and through the gates, and found our seats. My seats are rows DD and EE, and the stand is pretty darn steep, so after a 1 ½ mile jaunt, you are faced with a big climb. But once you get up to the seats, all is forgotten, because the view is spectacular.

For a while, we were pretty lonely up there. Not many people filtered in to watch the pre-race festivities – with the Festival Princesses and the Celebrities. Lance Armstrong and Patrick Dempsey were the main attractions, along with Ludacris and Carmelo Anthony, among others. The 500 used to get a lot of “Z” list people, though, like Kent McCord. For years, Kent McCord made an appearance. One Adam 12. One Adam 12.

I think the main reason people weren’t coming up to their seats was the heat. It was hot. It was the hottest race day ever, with temps in the 90’s and high humidity. There was a slight breeze, but there wasn’t many clouds, so the sun was beating down on you all the time, and the stands were aluminum, too.

Sizzle, fry.

And me, without sunblock. Because I was taking it like a man.

The race started and it was a pretty exciting affair. Dan Wheldon’s car looked unbeatable for most of the race, but there was some close action and passing throughout the field. I know that the prestige for open wheel racing is down, and I know what the real deal is on the reasons why, but still, it’s well worth the money for me to spend to watch this race. It’s a heck of lot more exciting than watching the taxicabs flail around, for sure. This is speed, pure and simple.

Well, except for poor P. J. Jones. His car handled like an iron sledge and he could barely get out of people’s way. But he kept soldiering on, trying for a good finish.

There were a couple of incidents in front of us, but my poor brother missed them as he was taking a constitutional. Timing is everything! Though now, with the big video boards, your really don’t miss anything at all. Back in the old days, when there was a wreck on part of the track we couldn’t see we had to rush home and watch the wreck on TV so we knew what happened, otherwise it was just a mystery.

My sister and my brother’s wife were really rooting for Danica Patrick, and she put on a great drive. Her car, though, wasn’t the best and she finished eighth.

But near the end, they were rooting for the Andrettis, Michael and Marco. It would have been a great story to see them finish 1-2, but it was not meant to be.

High in the third turn, we thought Marco had it sewn up on the last lap. We saw him hold off Sam Hornish, Jr. through three and the short chute and into four and as we lost sight of them Hornish made his move and squeaked by with the win. A fantastic race!

We left pretty quickly, and made good time hoofing it back to the car. My exit strategy did pay off, as we were on the road, singing along to Bee Gees songs like the fools we were.

Ok, the fool I am.

I dropped my sister off and took everyone else home. Liz’s reaction when she saw me was half concern, a third tsk-tsk and a third “serves you right!”

I was pretty much red. I still am.

The pizza was good and we ended the day watching the Grand Prix of Monaco and part of the NASCAR race before everyone went to bed. Katie had a fun time with her little cousins and that’s always a plus!

Besides the fact that I fried my skin to a delicate crisp (Peking Smed, perhaps?), there is one other casualty.

I unloaded my cooler of the excess beer and water that I had in it, but I failed to secure the cheetoes. So last night, Liz wondered what this orangey water was doing on the porch.

Oops.

Cheetoes dissolve in water, ya know?

(That’ll be a fun cleanup in the cooler…)

 

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