The day started out the night before. We dropped the boys off at my parents' house and got my brother in law, and we were on our way. We arrived at the track around 1:30am and decided to walk around a bit, as there were still many people out. It was an interesting time to say the least!
When we arrived back to our car I saw a man standing very close to it. I thought he was mistaking our car for a urinal (and still think he did), but as we got closer I saw him take some things out of his pocket and put them on the hood. Tony went up to the man and said "How we doing tonight?" If he hadn't just peed on out car I can guarantee he would've then! Once he found out Tony wasn't a cop, he proceeded to roll a joint (or three) on the hood of our car and go along his merry way.
We moved the car a bit farther away from the main walkway and went to sleep. At 6am I was awakened to the sound of cannon blast from the track. We got up, used the (still fairly clean) port a potty and started setting up for breakfast. Eggs, bacon, biscuits, juice and the boys had sausage and gravy also. We hung out in the parking lot for a few more hours and then made our way into the track.
We got to our seats and surveyed the scene. After a bit drivers started going to their meeting. Tony has a tradition where he yells out each driver's name as they walk past. We are so close to pit road that many actually hear him and look over and wave. This year the best were Vitor Meira, TK (Tony Kanaan) and Sarah Fisher. He also yelled at Jamie ______ from ESPN and she looked over and waved to him. He was proud.
Next came probably my favorite part of the entire day. I get goosebumps each year as I see the military parade past and the crowd cheering and clapping for them. They are the reason we are free today and I am so grateful. Back to race day: military parade, "America the Beautiful", "God Bless America", "Back Home Again (in Indiana)" and the "Star Spangled Banner". This year Jewel sang the nation anthem and did a pretty good job. I think the jets were a little late though, usually they fly over just at the end of the song but this year there was a pause after she was finished.
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, START YOUR ENGINES!!!
The beginning of the 500 is always exciting. This year Jack Nicholson definitely got a workout with the green flag, since there was a crash on the first green lap and then on the restart also. For a lot of the middle of the race I was in the infield in the shade trying not to pass out! It was so HOT and our seats are not shaded at all. Good thing there is a large screen to watch the race. I went back to our seats around lap 160 and stayed until the end, spraying myself with water then entire time.
TK started out in 33rd and not far into the race was 16th. He got as high as 2nd and I thought he might actually pull out the win at the end. Unfortunately he had to get a splash of fuel on lap 196 or so and killed his chances for this year. Dario Franchitti(sp?) won the race on yellow (because of the Mike Conway/Ryan Hunter-Reay crash). Dario did lead most of the race, but I was truly hoping Dan Wheldon would pass him on the last lap. I believe if the yellow flag hadn't come out Dan would've won.
We left the track right after Dario won and went back to the car. We then set up for dinner, which was amazing! Grilled chicken and beef kabobs and grilled corn on the cob. We hung out for a few hours until the lines died down and it was easier to get out of town. It was a nice trip to my parents to pick Drew up, Austin was at a friend's house for the night, then home to sleep.
Overall, other than the heat it was a good year. I had hoped TK would win but there's always next year. He does have the 7-11 car and next year is 2011 so I think it fits very well. Austin will be 10 next year and gets to go to his first race. He is very excited and I am looking forward to sharing the Hakel race tradition with him.