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Old 08-25-2016, 09:46 AM   #1
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The Greatest Spectacle in Racing

Back in June, my brother found an HPDE being held at Indianapolis sponsored by the Mid Ohio Region PCA. Unfortunately, the event had been filled long ago. My brother contacted someone from MORPCA and was told we could sign up and be placed on a waiting list. After I signed up, I counted 25 people on the waiting list. Not encouraging, but there was hope that plans would change for enough people since the initial sign-up. While participating in a DE at Hastings, NE in late July, I found out we were both IN to the Indy DE if we paid. I hustled home and made the payment. Now all we had to do was wait another 3 wks for the event to arrive.

This past weekend we participated in the 3 day event. It was run very well by the MORPCA folks, from tech inspection to juggling schedules on Sat because of rain. Last yr was the first time they held this event and they made improvements to their processes, particularly with exiting the track at T7 when the session was over vs continuing on from T8-T13 to the normal pit entrance. They estimated this would save 2 min per session. Four 20 min sessions were scheduled for each day per run group but there were SIX run groups resulting in a whopping 2.5 hrs between sessions. Guess that’s the cost of wanting to compete at Indy – have to get as many cars into the event as possible. Supposedly there were 270 cars total and 40 some cars in our run group.

We arrived at the track Thu afternoon and got our cars teched. Then we were allowed to do a walk around the 2.6 mi, 14 turn track. What an awesome facility. That night it was like the day before Christmas.

We were informed at the Fri morning driver’s mtg to exit at T7 when the session was over and the 1st lap of the 1st session every day would be yellow. Passing only on the 2 straights with a point by. We lined up and were released onto the track. I arrive at T4 and there’s a Miata sitting in the sand trap. Really? On a caution lap? We get black flagged and head to the pits and wait 15 min while they pull him out. Get a whole 5 min to learn the track. Go out in the 2nd session, get 15 min into it and a 911 lands in the same sand trap. We get black flagged and assemble in the pits while they fish him out. JEEZ - our group was supposed to be fairly accomplished. Luckily that was the last incident of the weekend. And they allow passing from T10-T12 for the last session and thereafter.

While the track looks simple, it is not easy. There are several corners that require very late apexes, several that are throw aways, and several that are very fast (90+mph). T11 is one of those very fast corners and it always felt like my car wanted to slide away from me. Had to respect the safer barrier wall of the short chute. The other fast corner was T14, which launched you onto the main straight. I was less ‘respectful’ of this corner than other drivers I spoke to, but the wall still talks to you. I was having trouble in T4 and T10. We talked about the line thru T4 in the afternoon driver’s mtg and that solved that corner and I followed my brother in his black 944 turbo S thru 10 and liked his line. Now I just needed some track time to get better.

Unfortunately Sat’s forecast was not good. We got a couple of laps in on the 1st session when it began to rain. The traction held up well during the session but you obviously had to dial it back a bit. Later that morning it started to rain harder, so the corner workers had to be called in. Our 2nd session was washed out. We were scheduled to do parade laps around the oval after the track went cold at 6pm. However, there was a major storm forecast at that time, so MORPCA and Indy scrambled to reschedule them for 11:30 & 11:45 and then we would start the regular track schedule back up. The parade laps were cool – so much history and ghosts while driving around. Plus the 9deg banking looks flat on TV but is quite substantial. And the corners go on forever. When I went thru the 3rd turn, I looked up in the stands where I was in 1977 watching AJ win his 4th 500. I thought about being up there then and now I’m down on the track. Chilling. We got our first afternoon session in on a damp track but the weatherman was correct and some nasty clouds rolled in at 4pm. It poured and the afternoon was over.

Sun the weather was spectacular and day 3 of a DE is where it usually all comes together – the comfort level allows you to rip off some of your best laps. Since we lost 2 sessions the day before, I felt a bit behind. I was able to click off some personal bests, but there was lots of traffic too. It was sad after the last session finished and we had to pack up and leave.

Indy is a fantastic facility and both MORPCA and the Indy personnel were great. So much history. I know my dad would be proud his 2 sons were driving on the speedway. 2016 has not been a good yr for me personally, with losing my best friend to cancer in Apr and losing my job after 35 yrs in late May, but driving COTA in May and Indy in Aug has made this a special yr on the track.

Here is a link to one of my sessions and the parade laps.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-AQyC0EhI_k

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qB3KhfJ1bJs
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Last edited by husker boxster; 08-26-2016 at 07:14 PM.
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Old 08-25-2016, 09:52 AM   #2
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Here are some pics from the event.

















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Old 08-25-2016, 11:03 AM   #3
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Wow! How cool to drive at the Speedway. That would definitely be on my bucket list of tracks to drive on.
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Old 08-25-2016, 11:42 AM   #4
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Besides the weather not being fully cooperative sounds like an awesome experience. I'm jealous. I will have to check out the video links tonight (I on my lunch break)
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Old 08-25-2016, 12:21 PM   #5
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I was there last year Mid-Ohio PCA runs a First Class Event! Great group!
Yes T11 can draw you up!
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Old 08-25-2016, 06:51 PM   #6
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Whoa...livin' the dream! It never even crossed my mind drivin' Indianapolis was even an option. I can't even begin to imagine how cool it would be to do that, to look into the stands from the track, to where you'd sat as a kid 40 years ago, watchin' the pros...I'm indescribably envious.
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Old 08-30-2016, 06:09 PM   #7
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The track pics arrived yesterday. Here they are:

















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Old 08-30-2016, 07:30 PM   #8
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Got to ride parade laps on this course a couple times on my motorcycle as part of MotoGP weekends. Motorcycles go the opposite direction. First year when Id finished I realized I'd forgotten to note the yard of bricks ... I was imagining the "tunnel effect" of coming down the start/finish straight with grandstands on both sides and got caught up in that. Found it the second time.

Your experience of multiple laps, passing allowed, was surely great and it is for sure an awesome facility.

For the actual 500s I attended back in the 80s, seats were bleachers between oval 1 and 2, but for MotoGP were on main straight at motorcycles turn 1. These seats were folding chairs that must have been rattle can sprayed green in 1957. Understand remodeling since.

Thanks for your report and photos.

PS: MotoGP from Silverstone this weekend ... it's far and away the best motor racing on the planet.
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