Monday, July 30, 2012

GRAND-AM at Indy

In February I was watching the 24 hours of Daytona when they advertized that they were going to race in Indy this year and as a promotion to that they were selling tickets for $24.00. I have always wanted to go to a big sports car race and at that price it was a no brainer. What I didn't know till the day before the race was they were good for the entire day and you basically can go anywhere you want, pits, seating etc.

I went with a buddy from work and we arrived at the speedway just after 1pm which was the start time for the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge. We pulled into a parking lot directly across from the main straight and the lady collecting money asked me to park my car right next to her. I never got an explanation but I wasn't going to complain about the great parking spot.

The Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge was a good race only hampered by a 25 minute or so red flag for standing water about 40 minutes before the end of the 2.5 hour race.

The GRAND-AM race started under a green/yellow flag due to the rain picking up again. The day was perfect the temperature was great and it hadn't rained here in months. During the GRAND-AM race it flared up two or three times with very heavy rain then the sun would come out bright and dry the main track in a matter of a few minutes leaving the road course with standing water.

We chose seats at the end of the pit out which was the start of the braking area for turn one. This enforced for me why I very seldom go to IMS to watch a race. I am sure there are good seats there and much better than we had but every time I have been there I have had nothing but poles, fences, stands, screens and banners blocking the view. I do plan to go again next year and try to get a spot on the infield area, from watching the race later on TV it looks to be much more open.

Here is a picture of where we were sitting we moved once after we realized the screen hanging from the box seats above us was blocking half the track in the distance, you can see it in this picture on the upper left hand area. The red square I put on the picture is the area I took a lot of my pictures from, Its hard to judge distance but I would guess it to be a good 300 yards from where we were sitting.

Here is a shot from that area of the DP Corvettes, they were absolutely beautiful and sounded incredible.

Here is the ZL1 pace car that started the race.

Here is the ZL1 pace car that ended the race.

Unfortunately the team I tend to root for the SDR Motorsports #90 wrecked between the third and fourth turns on the first lap. Antonio Garcia was being far too aggressive that early in the race with the wet conditions. There was a ton of action during the race with the track being soaked on three separate occasions, the cars were in and out numerous times to switch between slicks and rain tires. At one point the pit out area directly across from us was a lake as you can see in the picture below.

This brought cheers from the fans as each car exiting completely soaked the track workers who you cannot even see in the picture. Eventually the pit out flagman moved to the other side of the retaining wall between the track and the pit out lane.

The last hour of the race brought a lot of controversy from the #02 car fielded by CGR and driven by Scott Dixon and Juan "Im only famous for running into a jet dryer" Montoya. The #01 car last years championship winner fielded by CGR is again in the running but was in third place in the standings. Coincidentally Montoya managed to take out the #09 Action Express Racing corvette of Joao Barbosa and the #08 Starworks Motorsports entry driven by Ryan Dalziel. Both cars were ahead of CGR in the standings and both were contenders to win the race. It seems though that the need to have CGR in the series outweighs any repercussions for his driving.

Here is a shot of Montoya just moments before spinning out the 09.

I am looking forward to going again next year somewhere in the infield, maybe I'll join a corvette club and do the corral thing.

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