Wednesday, July 12, 2006


Long post with one too many snaps ahead. Author takes no resposibility of readers who fall off to sleep on the keyboard.

Ah! What a killer the first weekend of July was. Probably one of the best weekends I might have spent ever since I moved to US of A. It was in my to-do list for many a year. Now I can finally check it off and move it into my to-do-once-a-year list. The following is my formulalog and tips for others who might want to travel to the "racing capital of the world" in the future, split mostly into pictures and videos.

For those who are still guessing what this is, its my experience of the USGP (or more widely known as Formula 1 Racing at Indianapolis to the rest of the world).

The shops, lined up outside the speedway. Very colorful. And some vintage cars (aint they grand? - I'd love driving around in one of those!)
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And my dream machine. The McLaren MP4-21. The brief contact I had with it.... Heavenly!

Flavio BriatoreWiki. He did act a little pricey and refused to sign any autographs. Well, after taking Renault from 'zero to hero', I guess you can act pricey. And a little spice with the F-1 babes! Followed by cars in the Hall of Fame museum and me by The Pagoda.

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The electric atmosphere in the stadium; me with the Red Bull Racing; another shot of me overlooking the circuit, dressed in my McLaren-Kimi gear and a Ferrari on the road (not all the action was restricted to the tracks)
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And from the photos, you might have figured I am a big McLaren & Kimi fan. And I take special pleasure in boo-ing Ferrari fans... but I was so outnumbered that my only hope was McLaren pulling past the Ferrari's. But that was not to be. As the following pictures might depict.

The cars moving into turn 1.

Kimi and Montoya (both drivers for McLaren) decided to take the outer line. Before the race started I had joked how Massa was capable of taking off Schumacher on Turn 1 and having both the Ferrari's retire.

And as fate would have it, there was a huge pile up at Turn 1. Which sent Nick Heidfield into a tumble.

And Montoya did what Massa should have. Yup, took out his team-mate. Off goes Kimi and Montoya, ending up facing each other. 10 seconds into the race and the team/driver I support were out of contention.

I wont speak much about the race. I spent the most of it with Finnish ladies consoling them on Kimi's early retirement. But Ferrari took a 1-2. And all the folks in Red went berserk.

The McLaren MP4-21 which did not get to rise to its potential on 2nd July.... up close, as close as it gets, on Video!

McLaren Mercedes MP4-21 on Vimeo

On the whole, it was an awesome experience. Getting seats at the first turn, to watch Kimi and Montoya with others crash in front of my eyes, to get a decent view of the pits as the cars came out, I'm ready for 2007 already.

Ok, and here are tips for hard-core fans. Others, dont blame me if you go "Huh? Why do I care?"

1. If you have time at hand, I would personally suggest you fly/drive into Indy a week before the USGP. Simply coz one week before the GP, you can actually drive your car around the circuit and have some photographs clicked with the F-1 babes.

2. You really cant do much in Indianapolis for a week, but Chicago is not too far, and spending a few days there would be a good way to kill time and explore another city. But getting back to Indianapolis by Thursday is a must if you want to catch the practice, pit lane walk-about and Qualifying on Saturday.

3. The track is dead close to the airport. About a 10-15 minute drive. Advisable to rent a car. Cheap stay is available in Plainfield, which is about 10-15 miles from the airport and track. About a 20 minute drive. Its possible to land on raceday, take a shuttle from the airport to the track and back if you dont wanna spend time around the city or rent a car.

4. If you want to rub shoulders with the F1 stars, put up in downtown. The entire Bridestone team seemed to have put up at the Hilton while celebs such as Flavio Briatore were at Conrads. Of course this comes with a price tag of $200 a nite.

5. After the Saturday qualifyings, head to downtown to monument circle
Wiki. Parking is free on weekends. This place is all decked up with vintage cars and displays from current models. If you are lucky, there might be a few F1's on display. I happened to come across the Red Bull Racing machine. Also, parked outside Conrads was the McLaren MP4-21. There are plenty of places to eat around here so that is not a problem. If you want to get a view of all the action happening outside conrads, you could either hang out at Rock Bottom or Champps which happens to be opposite to Conrads.

6. I would advise you to be at the racetrack early on raceday. Between 9-10 sounds like a decent time (tho I was there by 8:30). The advantage of that being you can walk around the entire brickyard, visit the Hall of Fame Museum and understand the entire layout (I am assuming you are a F1 fan when I say all this). Also, the first 'N' cars get free parking inside the speedway, after which you need a parking permit. There are many other lots outside the speedway. Some are free and some charge you $20 (loot you would be the right word). If you plan to rent a RV, there are camping places for you.

7. You will find roadside shops outside the speedway. I would suggest to take a walk around and absorb the liveliness. Good place to pick up some souvenirs. A basic Ferrari T-Shirt will cost you $30/- and can stretch to $145/- I didnt see much of McLaren gear. Ferrari, Renault, BMW and Scott Speed was all around.

8. If you have a 3 day pass, you can get in and out of the speedway multiple times. If you have a raceday pass, once you are in, you are in for good. The Hall Of Fame museum costs $3/- for entry. Dont expect any F1 cars there. Personally I could pass this one. But since you are there, might as well see it. Doesnt take more than 20 minutes to take a walk around. The pass is valid all day, and altho they dont mention this, it can be transferred.

9. You will find plenty of beer, hot dogs and lemonade stands all over the speedway. Keep yourself well hydrated. The prices are not a killer. Hot dogs for $3, a bottle of coke for $3. On the expensive side, but not a killer.

10. Before the USGP starts, they have a few other races happening. It might interest you, and if it does be at your stand by 10 AM or so. Free face painting is available. But make sure you are at your seat by 1130. Thats when the drivers parade starts, followed by the warm-up at 12:15 (dont miss the warm up, its a pleasant surprise to suddenly see the cars zipping out of the pits).

11. Seating. I personally prefer the first corner seats, which is Stands H and J. Try to get seats which are section 20 or beyond on Stand H. Or seats which are Section 10 or less on J. This puts you right on the first corner where all the action happens. I was in section 1 of Stand H, which gave me a decent view of turn 1 and also of the pit lane exit. The problem with these stands is they have no overhead cover, while the paddock, Stand C etc have ample of overhead cover which blocks the sun. From the Paddocks, you get a view of the start and pits, but you miss out on corner 1. Some of us might feel comfortale having ear-plugs. Dont get a seat too close to the track (since its at the bottom). Being at a reasonable height gives you a good view. I would suggest between rows L and V to be a good spot.

12. Traffic can be a little backed up after the GP. Hence if you plan to fly out the same day, give yourself at least 4 hours between the end of the GP to your flight time.

And a snap of me as I said (a little sad) bye-bye to the Speedway!


Blogger Madame Mahima said...

blah blah blah racing blah blah F1 blahblah flavio (oo wasnt he naomi campbell's bf?) blahblah KIMI GOES TO RENAULT! blah blah.

nice post!
having said all that - nice hairy legs apoo!

July 13, 2006 12:11 AM  
Blogger APOO said...

Thanks for the compliments on the 'hairy' legs Mahi. After all, I am the male of the species. WHATS YOUR EXCUSE?

July 13, 2006 12:16 AM  
Blogger Arpi said...

Apoo, you are one meanie! No wonder girls run away from you!! Does your Mom sweat over the fact that there might not exist one girl who might be able to tolerate you?

July 13, 2006 12:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


July 13, 2006 2:30 AM  
Blogger lovemarks said...

Sexy snaps!!! Esp of the McLaren and the Nick Heidfield tumble... :)

It's been on my to-do list too, to go for a F1 race... malaysia being on the mind, then had to cancel. :(
Maybe, any of the forthcoming ones-Turkey, Italy, Brazil...

ps: please to note, I'm talking about the cars and the photos clicked being sexy!;)

July 13, 2006 3:16 AM  
Blogger Menagerie said...

Nice snaps!!

Hehe, Like I mentioned to ya, I drove my car on the F1 track the week before the race! Ah, what a high!!!

July 13, 2006 1:02 PM  
Blogger APOO said...

#Arpi: Lets not divert from the essence of this post.

#Abhi: I will!! =D

#Lovemarks: Woo!! A lady who is into F1!! Dont find many of you. U married? Kidding!
Frankly, if you can visit Italy, that would be ideal! I realized that apart from the race, its the entire atmosphere which is more important, and you wont find that atmosphere anywhere else but in Europe. Or to an extent Brazil. If you can, stay out of Malaysia or Turkey and head to Europe (of course, the tickets for the race are a killer in Europe)

#Menagerie: Thank You! And Shut Up!
I WANT YOUR CAR! Stop making me jealous or I shall jinx ya... again!

July 13, 2006 6:06 PM  
Blogger Nicole said...

I could have the Finnish German cross-breed, Nico Rosberg for breakfast.... yumm!

July 13, 2006 6:38 PM  
Blogger Madame Mahima said...

i have PROOF that u have hairy legs, wheres your proof of mine.


July 13, 2006 11:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Our personal opinion--- Ban GP and all other car racing/Motor racing and i know we can save enough gas to last us a life time!
Its a waste of gas and kills me seeing the gas prices soaring so high ,that now i want to sell my car!
Thanks to ppl like you for your likeness of this game that the rest of the world is paying for it. But you dont seem to care!

Voicing this opinion are
and the list continues

July 14, 2006 11:00 AM  
Blogger APOO said...

#Nicole: Stay away from the poor kid!

#Mahima: With you, we dont need proof! I am sure there is hair on ya brain too... if u have one!

and the list:

Lets see what the gas prices were in 2002. About 1.29 - 1.50 a gallon. NASCAR and F1 carried on pretty much the same way they do now. Whats the price now - $3/gl. And I see no change in the way NASCAR or F1 operate. To point towards GP as a rise (or decrease) in prices is not really justified. A NASCAR season uses up 216,000 gallons a season. In 2000, USA used 5.3 million barrels a day. And I am just talking about USA. Put all GP's together, to fuel consumed across earth, and I dont think it would account to 0.1% of the amount, or even less .1% would bring todays gas prices down to 2.97 from 3 (or roundabout that mark).

Now here is what the world is paying for:
out of the list of names mentioned, how many of you
- drive at speeds above 55?
- drive alone and dont car pool?
- dont check tyre pressures once a month
- dont change air filters regularly
- skip scheduled maintenance
- speed up to pass a signal when it turns yellow, rather than stopping?
- apply sudden brake and accleration?

I am sure almost all of us (notice I said us and not you) do that. And thats takes up a hell lof of fuel.

Frankly, dont blame the sport and the people who follow it. Thats extreme. Blame War and politics! If you want to push it to an extreme, ban all hummers. Stop the NBA, NFL's, cricket matches, coz every year the players travel so much cross country and cross nations that it takes up vast amounts of fuel in their private jet liners. Sounds unreasonable? So did your argument.

And of course, I havent even touched the topic of employment opportunities that GP racing makes, the revenues that it brings in which helps the car company invest more in their research to bring in developments like hybrid vehicles.

July 14, 2006 6:41 PM  

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