Here I Go Again

Once again, it’s that time of year that many of us struggle with. Mere hours after the checkers fall for the newest driver to add their name and likeness to the century-old legend, Indy 500 Seasonal Affective Disorder engulfs those for whom “364 days to the Indy 500” is quite possibly the saddest sporting phrase uttered at any point during the year. Instead of wallowing, I’ll somewhat wistfully recap my view of the 101st Indy 500.

Tres Amigos de la 500 – 2017

Aside from my raceday attire, for which my son grows increasingly unimpressed, and those of my two Indy 500 compatriots (who you may have seen in the IndyStar, et. al.), I’ve learned to simply take in the events we choose to attend as they’re presented.

Admittedly, the ominous daily weather forecast required that we have at least some idea of contingencies and ingress/egress plans. It was one of the worst Indy 500 weekends for weather forecasts I’ve seen in a very long time. Fortune allowed us some really terrific weather for being at the track and we were able to catch all the events and nearly all of the people we wanted. 


This year was my 30th race.


I didn’t have any specific plans to celebrate the milestone, other than my tried and true mantra of simply “being present” without trying to manufacture genuinely good times. 

In reflecting on 30 races I’ve attended, 1979-’80, ’88-’17 (except for 1997 and 1998 when I protest-voted with my wallet to not attend because of my view that the sport was fractured and severely diminished), I find myself currently relatively healed from much of the heartbreak and tragedy during the last 20 years. I grow more weary of that process each time I’ve done it but, after the thrilling race that was the 2017 edition, here I go again, starting to fall in love with modern Indycar racing and the 500 in a new way. 


Firstly, I am extremely thankful and aware that the Howard-Dixon crash in the South Chute was perilously close to a result that would have many again calling into question a great many things about the sport. I’ve made those thoughts and concerns evident on more that one occasion both here and via Twitter over the last six years, so I won’t take up that banner again, except to only state that we should all be well-aware that we were lucky in the extreme to have the result we did. 

During our slow progress through traffic back to our hotel, I kept thinking about this Indy 500, and the word that kept popping up in my head was “prototypical”. 

In more current terms of the racing anyway, the myriad of storylines and strategies coming into raceday, the speed, pageantry, excitement, and spectacle of it all seemed more natural and just as amazing as most any previous, culminating in 10 of the most riveting closing laps of drama I’ve seen in 30 races. Takuma Sato’s redemption from the slightest of miscalculations 5 years earlier was a classic heroic story which will only grow with time. 


It is perhaps a blessing and a curse that each race of this legendary event gets compared and contrasted to the many before it every year, but I revel in the fact that the old Brickyard seems to always produce something amazing and unpredictable along the way. 

The 101st running was no different in that manner. 

“Here I Go Again” is an oft-used phrase in music over several generations and genres to describe that degree of yearning and even helplessness one feels when experiencing a similar love or situation again that, for whatever reason, once ceased to be. So whether it be Ricky Nelson, or Whitesnake, or Salt N Pepa, or The Hollies, or Country Joe and the Fish, or Dolly Parton, or Bobby Wright, the theme of loss and re-connection with someone or thing once precious feels most apt for my most recent experience with The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.

I guess I have no choice now but to do my best to wait patiently for the coming 51 weeks to pass until the next Indianapolis 500.



Looking ahead to 2012…

It’s that time of year my professional line of work (construction) tends to wind down a bit due to weather and, as the snowflakes fall, I want to recall a warmer, more enjoyable time of the year… Late-May.

Looking to Mays both past and ahead, just 168 days remain to departure for the 2012 Indy 500 trip. I begin to think about details and planning and improvements to the previous trip which leads to that monumental answer to the annual question that I cannot pose soon enough…

WHO IS THE CARB DAY BAND?!

Monumental stuff to be sure as I have a fair group of people who are able only to come down for Carb Day and overnight, not the whole of the weekend. 

Plans must be made. Budgets combed through. Proper food and accommodation must be arranged. I take my trip and my hospitality VERY seriously. I also realize the band is very likely not selected at this point, so if the decision-makers are in the house, I’d like to offer my annual suggestions for Carb Day band selection, in no particular order…


On the heels of what was, in my opinion, a (maybe shouldn’t be, yet very surprisingly) great show by ZZ Top in 2010, my standard is found in a veteran touring band with musical chops, extensive catalog and popularity, and ability to easily rock the 19-49 year-old demographic equally. 

I submit for your consideration three HUGELY popular bands currently available in mid-2012:


1. Red Hot Chili Peppers










2. Pearl Jam





3. ABBA










OK, so the third option was facetious but the point could be made that ABBA is equally attractive as your crapcore bands such as Papa Roach or other infamous representative markers of a genre, depending on the audience you are attempting to attract. A broad appeal is always better if sheer volume of traffic is your goal, HOWEVER…I would like to propose an idea which isn’t totally original yet would seem to be a great way to appeal to a more broad spectrum – adopt a single-day/festival approach. 

Instead of a single headline Carb Day band with smaller bands during the Month of May schedule, (of which most have a minor audience), bring that variety of bands (much as you have already) but allow them all to play on Carb Day. Two separate stage areas – one larger stage as we have today, and a smaller one down near the Turn 3-4 area. Have each of 4 to 6 bands play 60-75 maximum minutes with the two stages going concurrently. 

Two bands on the larger Miller Lite Stage is really no different than what exists today, with more popular (read: current) bands, one skewing to the younger set and one to the older demographics. On the smaller stage, incorporate other popular styles such as Jam Bands or other bands representative of different eras (read: Big Bad Voodoo Daddy as swing, etc.). IMS is certainly large enough to house two stages in this manner and the result is very likely a win-win as I see it.

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway has a rich and extensive history. To honor the many traditions and eras as possible on Carb Day would seem to make it a richer experience for more attendees, and also could very well be more lucrative for IMS by charging the paltry sum of $40-50 (or double what was charged in 2011 and 4 times the 2009 rate) for an ‘all-you-care-to-experience’ of Carb Day in the future.

2010 Carb-Day Band (non) Announcement

I have the skills of a master detective.  Actually more like approximately 65% of the average skills found with the average TV detective from the 1970s…  less the cool car. 

What I do have that resembles a 1970s TV detective, besides the penchant for bars with dark wall paneling and 11 mpg sport sedans, is a friend who survives below the radar that provides me with helpful information from time to time. This friend sourced to me two major places to go to find clearinghouse information on musical acts and their schedules: Pollstar and Tourtracker.

Armed with my latest research weapon, I perused and pursued any combination of search tag scrap that would produce a result.  I now don’t mind sharing these with everyone since the secret of the Carb Day band for 2010 appears to be on lock-down in a maximum security computer at IMS and (much like my favorite 70s era TV detectives) I lack the true ‘juice’ or contacts to elicit such information. My research therefore has been sufficient only to produce data for deductive reasoning, eliminating the acts who are already committed to the May 28, 2010 dates.

This I share with you so that the first person with any correct information you may have that leads to the confirmed band or bands to play the 2010 Carb Day, prior to the official IMS announcement of such concert, will garner you full and commensurate honors (a free premium beer or alcoholic beverage) at the campsite of yours truly for the 2010 Indy 500 weekend.  Here is the official list of those acts currently on tour who shan’t be performing Miller Lite Carb Day 2010:

Lady Gaga, Lady Antebellum, Black Eyed Peas, Bullet For My Valentine, Tim McGraw, Asleep at the Wheel, Angels and Airwaves, Eli Young Band, 3OH!3, Dave Matthews Band, Pavement, Steel Pulse, Michael Buble, Daughtry, Oak Ridge Boys, James Taylor, Eric Clapton, Bret Michaels, Little Big Town, Godsmack, Kiss, Coheed and Cambria, Wilco, Heart, CS&N, Elvis Costello, Montgomery Gentry, BoDeans, Bela Fleck, Mark Knopfler, Toad the Wet Sprocket, Carole King, David Gray, Lifehouse, Joe Bonamassa, NKOTB, Three Dog Night, ZZ Top, Barry Manilow, Diana Ross, Tesla, Deep Purple, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, moe., Steve Miller Band, Chevelle, Umphrey’s McGee, Indigo Girls, OK Go, Living Colour, Buckcherry, George Thorogood and the Destroyers, Manhattan Transfer, 1000 Foot Crutch, Barenaked Ladies, Gov’t Mule, Reverend Horton Heat (damn.), Saliva, The Glitch Mob, Cracker, Dark Star Orchestra, Steve Winwood, George Benson, David Sanborn, Gaelic Storm, Big Head Todd and the Monsters, Good Charlotte, Proclaimers, Pendulum, Paul Weller, Garaj Majal, Natalie Merchant, Duke Tumatoe (crap.) Cinderella, Sammy Kershaw, Dangermuffin, New Pornographers, The Damned, Cherry Poppin’ Daddies, Stone Sour, The Yardbirds, Naked Eyes, The Wailers, Michael Franti and Spearhead, Brad Paisley, Darius Rucker, Eve 6, Rusted Root, America, Buddy Guy, annnnnnnd (perhaps most disappointingly) AC/DC.


 Please note there are many others left off the list that I couldn’t recognize as any band of note and judging by their venue, not big draws anyway.  So there it is, the unofficial, non-announcement of Carb Day band for 2010. Sorry. What else is there to do for off-week, non-NCAA day of non-sports-news?

100 days

Despite the ever-increasing depth of snow outside my window today, chassis-related events coupled with our first planning meeting last week have stirred the spirit to more firmly focus on ‘the trip’. 

100 days sounds like a big number but, in truth, isn’t. It’s just barely enough time to coordinate the elements necessary for a proper trip. This being the 7th trip with this group, the planning has become a bit easier, but each year poses its own obstacles which must be overcome. The primary needs, however, are firmly trenched into the budget: location (Speedway camp lots), lodging (campers), beverages (water – for when the beer runs out), and of course food (primo grilled meats to be exact).

Everyone has their favorite camp food, but ours is not simple fare.  Burgers, brats, dogs and potato salad are generally eschewed for a more civilized palate.  The menu is annually given extra attention and love with a grilling phenom and our very own 4-star chef. It’s not uncommon to find this on our plates at Indy (less the expensive linens and flatware, of course)… 

Budget variables such as ‘entertainment’, ‘sundries’, and ‘hospitality’ can often be the death of our budget, but also have historically provided some of the more priceless (albeit confidential) moments of the Indy trip.  I’ve found that the more organic and spontaneous those spirited events are, the better, so planning and budgeting for those is right out.
Now with mind distracted by furthering the details of the upcoming trip, I must put away this blog. 100 days is seeming like about 50 too few, but 50 days ago would’ve had me making lists, calling friends, and discussing budgets… on Christmas.
Ah, well, so it goes every year, time to grab another gear…

Just Tryin’ To Be Helpful…

It’s becoming clear to me that one of two things is happening regarding the Carb Day concert announcement: One, it is SOOO awesome that to avoid a raucous and potentially dangerous stampede of people overrunning the ticketing office, they just can’t release the band name until proper security and safety preparations have been set; orrrr, Two, they haven’t found a ‘suitable’ act yet.

Being in a somewhat pessimistic mode regarding the Speedway’s leadership, I tend to think the latter is the odds-on favorite of being closest to the truth.  In my typical way, I would like to assist by humbly submitting some possible acts for consideration:

1.  The Who.  I realize they’re coming off a less-than-stellar appearance at the Super Bowl Halftime Show.  I realize they’ve lost half of the originals.  Their best days are clearly behind them.  As a fan, I am well aware of all of this.  They are in their mid-60s after all and still can kick ass so I just want them to do one, nice, tight, generation-spanning, show of ass-kicking rock-n-roll lasting one glorious hour (not that halftime medley crap).  Six songs; My Generation, I Can’t Explain, The Real Me, You Better You Bet, Baba O’Riley, Who Are You, and finish with of ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’.  I want to hear Roger scream, live, one last time.  What could have you more amped up for the rest of the weekend than that?  I can’t imagine short of something that involves ‘pharmaceuticals’.

2. There isn’t a #2.  The Who is it for 2010, end of.

PS Whether you like Queen or not, if your neck hair doesn’t stand up starting at the 4:15 mark of the SOOO awesome video link, you likely wouldn’t appreciate 33 cars roaring down on Lap 1 of the Indy 500 (be sure to click the option to watch “Lap 1” in 720HD), Just sayin’.