Tuesday, June 12, 2007

i am indy



Who would have thought that a car race could be so fun? I've seen races on TV and marveled at the fact that anyone could stay awake much less enjoy the sport. Seriously? Two hundred plus laps around and around and around...they're not going anywhere. But I have to admit, I loved it!

Saturday afternoon, Josh and I met up with our friends Amanda and Camden Jones and headed out to our inaugural race at Texas Motor Speedway. That place is like some kind of mecca that draws thousands of people who live out of campers for several days enjoying race festivities and endless tailgating. It was quite an experience. A little background on The Jones': Camden is a MAJOR car guy. Like owns his own race car and races on weekends, has the Speed Channel with his cable package, and sells cars for Sewell. His family has had tickets to the Indy 500 since he was 5. The Jones men would roadtrip up to Indianapolis for the big race every couple years. So Camden was very helpful in educating us on all things Indy. His wife, Amanda, is the closest living person I know to Martha Stewart. (Amazing cook!) Doesn't exactly seem like the racing type, but she's a good sport and supports her husband's hobby. (She said she has grown to love napping to the drone of racecars while Camden watches the Speed Channel.)

This weekend was the Lombardier Learjet 550k IndyCar race which happens in Texas only once a year ( I think.) Now, in case you are as ignorant to car racing as I was - this is not Nascar, as Camden was quick to clarify. It's two totally different things. Different car bodies, different race rules, different followings. As Camden so eloquently put it, "Indy is more of a gentlemen's sport than Nascar." We showed up about 7:30 and began the pilgrimmage from the parking lot to the stadium. Let me just say- even if we hadn't gotten to see the race, the people watching itself would have been well worth it. Since Indy only comes around once a year, most of the fans at the race were Nascar season ticket holders. And they were there in full force. I'm talking decked out in full gear - their favorite driver's number on their hats, shirts, sunglasses, trucks, and even tattoos. Now that's dedication.

On Camden's recommendation, we rented the scanner and headphones so that we could listen to the drivers talking to their pit crews and spotters. That was probably the coolest part and kept me engaged the entire time. The sun went down and the drivers took their places on the track. After about two or so caution laps to get their tires warm, the green flag was out, and they took off! It was probably the loudest thing I've ever heard! Cars flying by at 200+ mph. A couple wrecks and 228 miles later we had a winner. It was the closest finish of the season. You may have heard of Dannica Patrick? She finished third for her career best. I was a little torn on who to root for. I cheered for Scott Dixon for about 50 laps since he was sponsored by Target. Amanda said her favorite driver was Tony Kanaan who finished second. I started cheering for him too toward the end since he was kinda the underdog. And Sam Hornish Jr., who led most of the way, took first place. Oh, another fun driver was Dario Franchitti who is married to Ashley Judd. I cheered for him some too- just cause I knew who his wife was. Josh came home amazed at Camden. He knew the answer to every question Josh asked. And I was impressed that Amanda knew quite a bit too. (although she would never admit it!) Thanks Camden and Amanda for exposing us to the world of Indy racing!




5 comments:

sim said...

Amanda Jones = Amanda Humprhies?? So fun. I used to babysit that girl!

Years ago, I worked at the very first race out at Texas Motor Speedway with whatever network was carrying it. Followed a camera guy around for hours. We stood in between the cars as they were pulling out to the track, were in and out of different pits and pretty much got to see it all. Even shot footage out on the track (talk about steep!)I loved it...very addictive and high energy.

Sounds like you guys had a blast!

Isaac, Kim & Landen said...

Loved the pics with your headphones! I have to say I too am ignorant to the sport of Indy racing! But, it sounds like crowd watching was very entertaining! :)

Andrea Bowman said...

thanks for adding to the freaking race traffic in roanoke ;) just kidding! it actually wasn't that bad this weekend...or we've learned never to leave the apartment during race weekend :)

Megan said...

Natalie,

You amaze me. I'm the sister/daughter of this crazy racing family you speak of and you know more than I do! I mean...after reading your blog, you actually make me interested in going to these races that they're so involved in.

I think growing up I was so irritated and annoyed with racing on the tv during my weekends that in my mind I somewhat boycotted the sport. I didn't want to watch racing when I was five...I wanted cartoons! I didn't want to watch racing when I was 13...I wanted Save By the Bell! I didn't want to watch racing when I was 17...I wanted The Real World! It was a rough life growing up with racing...haha. At least Amanda gets a good nap out of it.

Maybe, I'll give it more of a chance now. Don't tell my Dad or brother that, they've already wanted me to find an interest in actually racing the cars myself!

Maybe I'll see ya at the next race!

-Megan Jones

LeRay said...

Go, go Speed Racer!
That's all i know about racing...