INDIANAPOLIS – Greetings from beautiful Indianapolis!
We have a first-timer here, me! No, not to the city, but to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. I am in town with my photographer, Josh Daunt, to talk with IndyCar drivers to get ready for the Indy 500 and for the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix in Detroit, both on Local 4. As I previously stated, covering IndyCar is somewhat new to me, so today was about learning.
First of all: I didn’t know the drivers stay in Indy for the entire month. They literally pull their motor coaches into the center of the oval at IMS, park and move in. I got a tour of Max Chilton’s motor coach today.
Fun fact: It’s Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s former coach. Chilton’s regular ride is in the shop. He admits the flames running up and down the sides of Earnhardt’s coach aren’t really his style, but the inside "living room" is certainly comfortable. Look for a tour of the inside of Chilton’s and other drivers motor coaches soon on Local 4.
Secondly, I didn’t know winning the pole position gets you more than the inside starting spot in the front row of the race. Felix Rosenqvist told me today, since he won the pole position at the Indy Grand Prix, he will get the first pit box in pit lane in Detroit. Meaning, his position is nearest to the exit. He tells me that’s a huge advantage in getting in and out of pit lane in a hurry. Usually, you get that honor in the very next race, but the Indy 500 is a completely different race, so his "pit box position" holds over to Detroit.
Lastly, I learned that the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is massive. It’s very impressive to pull up to it on 16th Street. It’s even more impressive to drive under the stands and see it from the inside. The stands hold upwards of 250,000 people. The track is 2.5 miles around and has four distinct turns and straightaways. It’s a layout unchanged since the facility opened in 1909. Talk about history!
We’re heading back to IMS on Tuesday. It’s opening day which means the practice rounds begin. I’m looking forward to seeing all the sights and hearing all the sounds from the brickyard.
More fun facts and experiences to come!