Race day dawned – fresh and clear with no rain predicted during the race timeframe. We were all up by 7:00, but before heading across the street to the track we had a little packing up to do . . . when the race is over we wanted to be ready to pull out ASAP. With all of the chores out of the way, we trickled over to the track -- Halie and Caleb first, followed by Tom and Micah, and last of all . . . me.
Here is a fun little video that shows the mood at the Speedway -- even the attendants were dancing!
As I left the parking lot at 9:30 the line through my gate was short and it took less than 10 minutes to then walk to my seat. Our seats are the top row in section 22. At this point I had already missed some of the pre-race celebration: the parade of bands, the 500 Princess Lap, and the Borg-Warner Trophy March to the Bricks!
Our seats give us a good view of the cars as they come of out turn one and dive into the short-shoot and then negotiate turn two right in front of us and head down the back straight-away.
It wasn't long until Tom and Micah left their walk-about of the inside of the track and joined me in the stands -- we were all in place by 10:30.
The pre-race celebration continued as: historic race cars took some laps, drivers were introduced, the military was addressed, and "God Bless America", "America the Beautiful," the "National Anthem," and "Back Home Again in Indiana" were all sung. The big event was the delivery of the green flag and the checkered flag in turn one by a US Army Helicopter team. The helicopter hovered and as the men climbed down a rope to the ground and delivered the flag.
Finally -- "Ladies and Gentlemen, start your Engines" by Tony George himself! Then the cars were off, and we saw our first views as they came down the short-shoot towards us in their three parade laps led by the pacecar.
During the next 200 laps the lead changed a record 35 times! There were also a few amazing crashes from which everyone walked away in good shape, and several other yellow flags for debris on the track.
Following all of these crashes, the cars went green for the final 25 laps of racing as we all took to our feet. Takuma Sato, on lap 195, passed Helio Castroneves and continued to hold off Helio’s aggressive charges till the very end – winning by 0.2011 of a second to become the first Japanese winner of "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing." Later I heard that it was the seventh straight year that the decisive pass for the win occurred in the last six laps of the race!
Meanwhile, over in turn one, Caleb and Halie saw a completely different perspective of the race. Here are a couple pictures Caleb took of the event.
After that, a race for home! It was a wonderful time, but we were now focused on unpacking, cleaning up the camper, repacking, and heading out for the next 9 weeks . . . to Alaska! Be sure to check back for those details as I try to keep up with posting duties on the trip.
We don’t go camping any more . . . we go ‘streamin’ ! The “SIlvermine and His” is our 2016 23' Airstream, and ‘streamin’ is the name we use to describe our adventures. Stream along as we document everything from weekend trips to longer summer excursions and full-blown vacations. You know what they say: if you’re not in an Airstream – you’re just camping!
Tom & Ella Brown