Some Post-Holiday Indianapolis 500 Ramblings

As we forced ourselves back to work this week and tried to recover from Thanksgiving and somewhat of a turkey coma, we are now about to settle in for a four-week blast of Christmas Carols and Doorbuster Sales and an almost certain tangle with wintry weather; I thought I’d offer a glimmer of spring. After all, we can only stand so much turkey and dressing, travelling and shopping over the next month.

We are now closer to the 2018 Indianapolis 500 than we are to the 101st running that took place this past May. Monday marked the six-month point from the 102nd Running, which will take place on Sunday May 27th.

My countdown clock that sits on my desk at work, pointed out on Monday that we were really a couple of days past the halfway mark. Every few years the calendar turns cruel and throws in an extra week that we have to wait, before next year’s race like it did between the 2015 and 2016 races. The last time the race ran on May 27, was in 2012.

There have already been a few newsworthy items to whet our appetites for next year’s race. First of all, there’s the new aero kit that is supposed to make the new car race better. We already know it looks better. Everyone keeps referring to it as a new car as I just did a couple of sentences ago. It’s not a new car. It’s the same DW12 that was introduced in 2012, when the new turbo charged engines from Honda, Chevy and Lotus came onto the scene.

I was ecstatic to learn that Jim Cornelison has already agreed to come back to perform (Back Home Again in) Indiana for the second year in a row. My hope is that he will become the permanent replacement for Jim Nabors who retired after thirty-six performances between 1972 and 2014. For now, I’ll just enjoy hearing him one more time next May.

Then a couple of weeks ago, we learned that Danica Patrick will close out her racing career at next year’s Indianapolis 500. Regardless of what you think of Danica Patrick, there is no denying that her presence will create a buzz in the race. If you thought Fernando Alonso caused a stir this past May – wait until you see the final chapter at next year’s race.

Those are already three unique things about next year’s race to pull in folks who thought that this might be a reason to skip next year. Of course, to me there is never a reason good enough to skip the Indianapolis 500, but I understand that not everyone is as gung-ho about the event as I am. I’m fortunate that I have a wife that enjoys it enough to be willing to go with me every year.

The day after it was announced that Danica Patrick would be returning one final time to the race, I did something I’ve never done before. I made my hotel reservations for the race in November.

For years, I would wait until late February or early March to make my Race Weekend hotel reservations. In January of 2016, our friend Paul Dalbey of More Front Wing texted me, asking if I had looked at hotels yet. Apparently with the 100th Running coming up that May, there was a much higher demand for hotel rooms. With that higher demand came much higher prices. Fortunately, we were able to find something a little further out than normal and a little more than we were used to paying – but I felt lucky to have a room.

For years, we had been staying at a Sleep Inn at I-465 and Rockville Road. It was not the greatest hotel, but it was clean and you couldn’t beat the location or the price. Sometime after the 2014 race, the property was sold to Motel 6. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a location deteriorate so rapidly in one year’s time. Not only did it become a disgusting place to live in, but it gave every indication of being a brothel.

We personally witnessed people having sex in cars in the parking lot that was also littered with condoms. As we parked our car on the Saturday night before the race, Susan opened her car door to a pair of women’s panties and a bra at her feet. We stayed three weekends there that May, and during that time we saw the same unsavory characters hanging around the front desk for no apparent reasons. The final straw was the Sunday night after the race, Susan lost an earring. We pulled the bed back a little bit from the wall. We found her earring, but we also found someone’s vibrator. We vowed to never stay there again.

So we were already in the market for a new hotel, but I had not planned on starting my search until February. We liked it enough to stay there this past year and will be there again next May.

When the Danica factor spurred me to make reservations a couple of weeks ago, I was pleasantly surprised to find that my room in twenty dollars less per night than it was last year. I’m assuming that’s because it’s so early. If that’s the case, I’ll start making my reservations in November every year. We stay three nights on Race Weekend, so that’s a sixty dollar savings. Sixty bucks is sixty bucks – that’ll pay for our meal and drinks at Dawson’s one night. So, if you know you’re going to next year’s race – go ahead and book your room now.

As you can tell from my ramblings – there is not a whole lot going on in the IndyCar world in the week after Thanksgiving. In fact, we are entering the stretch where not a whole lot happens related to the Verizon IndyCar Series. There are still a few seats to fill – but one of them is at Dale Coyne Racing. If history is any guide, it may be March before we know the occupant of that car. There is also the non-oval driver for Ed Carpenter’s No. 20 car to be named, along with speculation about Juncos, Carlin and Michael Shank.

So there will be plenty of hard-core IndyCar racing stuff to talk about here as we approach the Christmas season. In the meantime, I’m still on a sort of tryptophan hangover from too much turkey. So forgive my ramblings today. Hopefully, I’ll wake up before Friday’s post.

George Phillips

3 Responses to “Some Post-Holiday Indianapolis 500 Ramblings”

  1. Jim Shaver Says:

    I started going when I lived in California. I usually booked my room in January. I now live about 25 miles from IMS so no room needed.

  2. My son and I go up on Saturday and camp. The last couple years we have been parking at the same house just west of the Track. We put up our tent and walk the streets along the track and over to Speedway. Fun to take in the sights the afternoon and night before the race. Living in Cincinnati, we could just drive up Sunday morning, but I much prefer going up the day before and not dealing with the traffic headache.

  3. I would look at Air BnB.

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