The Gift of Friendships

This post may get me in trouble with a few readers, so I’ll offer a blanket apology on the front-end. There have been a lot of perks that have come to me through this website over the years. I have almost unlimited access at any race track on the IndyCar schedule. I’ve gotten to tour the ESPN production truck on Race Morning at Indianapolis, had two-seater rides at Fontana and Indianapolis, taken pace car rides at Indianapolis, Pocono, St. Petersburg and Road America. Susan and I got to attend an after-party after the championship banquet one year, on the fourth-floor of The Pagoda. I even got to wave the green flag at Fontana for the qualifying run of Helio Castroneves.

I mention all of this not to brag, but to make a point. This may sound corny, but it’s true. Out of all the perks I’ve gotten from this site, the best perk are the friends I’ve made over the years that started out as readers of Paul Dalbey of is the most obvious example. He and I first met at the IMS Media Center in May 2010. Although there is a twenty-two year difference in our ages – we hit it off immediately.

Susan and I both have made a lot of close friends in the media centers of various race tracks. It would sound like more bragging if I started dropping some familiar names, so our media friends will go unnamed. But congratulations to James Black, who (finally) got engaged over the weekend. We’ve also met many readers that have also become good friends over the years. I’ll name them by first name only, since I did not ask any of them for permission to use their names. I will also get in trouble by not naming someone I should.

Bruce and Lynn, who are now back home in St. Louis; Joe & Michelle in Speedway; Tad and Sylvia from all over the world; Ken from Pennsylvania, but also Florida; BillytheSkink, whom we met twice – along with Papa Skink; Mike from Indianapolis (and St. Pete); Sharon in upstate New York; Donald & Laurie from California (I think); Ballyhoo; Patti from Illinois and a slew of others that we have met and gotten to know.

Most of those listed above have sent us gifts, which just blows me away. It proves to me how shallow and selfish I am, when compared to so many that have sent us gifts without blinking an eye. Some have sent racing-related gifts, but others have sent Susan many thoughtful gifts to help her through her cancer battle. You all now who you are and we are very thankful for the gifts sent to us from virtual strangers. It is very much appreciated.

Monday night, I received my first Oilpressure gift from across the pond. I may be embarrassing him, but a couple of weeks ago, I got an e-mail from a longtime reader based in the UK, named Trevor. Trevor has been reading this site for years, and comments often. He attended the Music City Grand Prix this past August, so of course we made plans to meet up – which we did just before Saturday’s qualifying session. Part of the e-mail said “I came across a historic Indy 500 artifact the other day which I think you’ll like, so I bought it and will drop in in the mail to you. Do you have a mailing address that I can use?”

Once again, I was reminded of the kindness and generosity of my fellow man, and also how small and petty I am to not think of others when I see such an artifact.

Monday night, the artifact arrived in the mail – a pristine ticket to the 1964 Indianapolis 500.

1964 Ticket

I hate to admit it, but no one in my family kept our ticket stubs from the races we attended growing up in the 60s. Just a couple of months ago, I asked both of my brothers if they had kept any and they both said no.

It is strictly coincidental, but this ticket was for a seat very near where we used to sit growing up. I know we sat in Stand A, but those stands have been rebuilt since then and I’m not sure the rows and seats are exactly as they were then. Consequently, we all have seats in Stand A today – but I know we are closer to Turn One than we were then. But we have no way of knowing exactly where our seats were, since we did not have the foresight to keep our ticket stubs back then.

Thank you to Trevor for being thoughtful enough to snag this little treasure and send it to me from the UK. We have appreciated all of the gifts that people have sent us over the years, but now we can claim to have received an international gift.

Yes, we’ve gotten a lot of perks through the years. We’ve had a lot of fun and have great memories. But my favorites are the friendships we’ve made that will last long after I hang up my keyboard. One of these days, I need to reciprocate.

George Phillips

6 Responses to “The Gift of Friendships”

  1. I have either kept my tickets or bought some old ones on eBay. I have a ticket for every race I attended. The first 50 are in poster displays on my walls. They are great keepsakes.

  2. Not sure why that would get you into trouble with anyone. It is heartfelt, genuine and I’m sure all your readers appreciated your words.

  3. billytheskink Says:

    The racing fan community is a wonderful thing! That is a very cool souvenir, George. Kudos to Trevor for tracking that down.

  4. wonderful blog post and neat little gift for you to treasure

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