Monday, August 18, 2014

Milwaukee Indyfest in Review

Another Indycar race at the Milwaukee Mile is in the books. Another great weekend with friends and Indycar fans!

The race weekend really started for me after work on Friday when I was able to meet my buddy Dave Dusick (in town for the race). We had a great time catching up. Saturday I had to be content watching Twitter for updates as I had obligations around the house. Sunday morning I met my friend Mike Palmer and his buddy to hit the race! We arrived just in time to make the Sunday morning Tweetup. I got to talk to some new and old friends from Twitter, along with Indycar driver Pippa Mann and Pro Mazda driver Nicolas Costa. Pippa's trivia contest sounded easy, but I choked when put on the spot and could only name 6 of the 9 female starters of the Indianapolis 500...
We spent time in the paddock checking out the cars and personalities before heading to the seats with lunch to watch the second half of the Indy Lights race. Matt Brabham looked to have the race well in hand until he got taken on a late restart... It was very interesting watching the Lights cars go into turn 1. Some of them appeared to be pushing much harder and sliding more than others.
After the Lights race, a friend got us a very special behind-the-scenes tour. I now have a better understanding and a new appreciation for what goes into putting a race on!
I guess I don't know how it played on TV, but the main event did not disappoint in person. With only 1 caution and very little attrition, the race went by very fast. Pit strategy looked to be the order of the day. Will Power's crew made a questionable call that worked out OK. There was lots of action through the field all day long, and Power's fuel saving in front of charging competitors made for compelling closing laps.
It should be emphasized that if you haven't been to a race in person, you are missing out. The race fan in the stands should have little trouble following the action. A stopwatch, a good radio, the scoring pylon, video boards, the Verizon app, and/or a friend watching on TV willing to text during the race can get you whatever additional information you want. It's the details, though, that make being there worth it: Watching Ryan Hunter-Reay charge through the field, figuring out what broke on his car, hearing who missed the gearing, listening to Will Power back out of the throttle 100 yards or more earlier in the corner than Montoya was, etc. That's not to mention the atmosphere, the people, the sights and smells and sounds of the cars, or the friends you will see. Seriously, go to a race. You won't regret it!

Anyway, I obviously had a great time and can't wait until next year. Thanks to my friends (new and old) for coming to my town for the race! And thanks to Pippa Mann, Nicolas Costa, Johnny Rutherford, and Paul Page for your time and attention!

Next Up: Sonoma, and the second-to-last word in the championship hunt!

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