Road America Memories

By Susan Phillips

We made it back to Nashville late Monday night after flying for what seemed like all day—hate those long layovers in boring airports. I won’t get into the airport we had a layover in, because it caused some sparks on Facebook. My understanding is that the airport in question is undergoing radical improvements, and that is all I’m going to say.

Readers of this site know how much we love the Indianapolis 500. George grew up going to that event and the Month of May consumes him each year. But when May is over, we are both exhausted and it takes about a week to get over it.

Road America is different. While Indianapolis is like a whirlwind vacation to Disney World, where you try to cram as much fun as possible into a short time frame—Road America is more like a vacation where you rent a cabin in the mountains. It is a slower pace and truly relaxing. But neither vacation is fun to return to work from.

The morning we left Wisconsin, George decided to get a 12-pack of what is now his favorite beer, Totally Naked by New Glarus Brewing (the Spotted Cow people). But we had to figure out how to insulate it and get it in one of his two checked bags. So we stood in the gas station overhang in the pouring rain and shoved clothing from one bag and put it into the other bag and hoped for the best.

While at Road America, George bought a souvenir coffee cup in their gift shop (which is really nice and reasonable, by the way). The gift shop wrapped it up in heavy packing before putting in the bag. While packing for our flight, he packed it in the middle of his suitcase surrounded by soft clothing (the one not carrying the beer). It was very securely tucked away.

However, when we got home—he unzipped his second checked bag to find that dreaded note from TSA that your bag had been chosen at random to be examined. I guess he should be happy they didn’t inspect the one with the beer. The bag had been completely ransacked. Everything was disheveled and nothing was where he had originally neatly packed it. The Road America bag with the coffee cup had been opened, the heavy packing had been unwrapped and carelessly thrown back into the bag with the unwrapped and now unprotected coffee cup. To make matters worse, instead of placing it in the center of the bag where it was protected – it now was on the very edge of the soft-sided luggage, where it would take the brunt of being tossed by baggage handlers.

When he opened it up, the handle was broken off and was in three or four big pieces with so many little shards, it could not be glued back. While the coffee mug was not as lucky, the beer survived the flight just fine. I may have to order him a new one online, because that cup is all I’ve heard about since we got back.

RA Cup

I don’t know if it was the fact that we took the golf cart on the course during the track walk or they gave us a peppier golf cart, but George was very heavy-footed all weekend when we sped around the course. I found myself almost getting bounced out a few times, so maybe next year I will drive a little more and relax—the muscles in my right arm are still sore from gripping the hand holds on the passenger side. I began to dread the rolling hills of an empty grassy expanse. To me, a golf cart is still the best way to really experience the track because you can pretty much get everywhere in it with little effort, we just got there a little quicker this year.

I think the worst thing that happened to me the whole weekend was that I “lost” all the photos I took in Victory Lane. I have no idea what happened, maybe an SD card failure, but I had a great seat–out of the way of the regular photographers–and I thought I had taken some great shots, but they weren’t on my camera when I sat down to cull through my photos. They simply weren’t there. I’ll have to investigate better ways to store my photos because I’m really enjoying taking pictures at the races.

I guess the previous paragraphs make it sound like it was a terrible weekend, but it was anything but. This was our fourth year at Road America and it has fast become my favorite track. The weather is a nice relief from the sweltering heat of our Tennessee summer—even though we had some rough weather back at home and our once-teetering fence ended up flat on the ground. We wore light jackets almost the whole weekend and the threatening weather front that was to come through held off until the victors were spraying each other with champagne in Victory Lane.

Here are a few of the photos that survived my photography mishap including the first one, which was of Max Chilton going for a jog on the track last Thursday during the Track Walk. Enjoy.


helio kanaan

herta in car


heart race 2


fly over

dixon punt





rossi car 2

new garden

rossi passed

Rossi Bike

5 Responses to “Road America Memories”

  1. Hi Susan
    The picture thing has happened to me. Maybe, like my camera, you can transfer via Bluetooth to your ‘phone every so often during the day. That way if there is a problem you have a back up? Just a thought….

  2. Great story Susan! That sucks about losing your photos. I had my GoPro on when we did the go karts, I had remembered to back up the files from my memory card but forgot to delete them so I only ended up with about 1 minute of our karting adventure. I want to do the track walk with George on the golf cart next year!! 😀

    In case anyone missed them when I posted it late Monday, here’s the link to my photos from the weekend at Road America. It’s not only a great place to watch a race, but it’s a great place to photograph races with lots of access to unique vantage points. I only stayed around the turns 5-6 areas but was able to get multiple unique perspectives of the cars.

  3. Ron Ford Says:

    I love the photo of the little girl in her “You make my heart race” shirt. I also like Joe New’s garden. Clever.

  4. Yannick Says:

    Thank you guys for the great coverage yet again.

    That bridge looks really cheesy (pun intended, should have been sponsored 😉

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