Gentlemen, Start Your Engines

Posted By on September 8, 2008

This weekend my friends Kirk and Teri were in town. Kirk is my old boss from the Niners and Teri is his wife. They were in town because Kirk is a public relations consultant and is doing some PR work for Luczo Dragon Racing, which competes in the Indy Racing League. (Which, is the IRL. Which, I’m such a nerd because every time I saw IRL on anything, I was all “In Real Life?”) And he was in town with the team for the final Indy race of the year at the Chicagoland Speedway.

Kirk invited me to go down on Saturday for the qualifying and practice rounds. I reluctantly agreed because well, I don’t much care for racing. And on top of it, I didn’t know what to expect. At the very least, I figured the stadium would sell beer and I would be able to cross “stand in the pit of a race” off my life’s to-do list.

So Saturday morning we headed down to the race track and I was prepared to have shirtless rednecks in RVs shoved in my face. Thankfully, we were VIPs and were in the pit and in the garages. So everyone had shirts on there. It was part of the dress code. (But didn’t stop me from yelling at any hootchie that walked by in a tank top or open-toed shoes that it was INAPPROPRIATE ATTIRE!)

It was one of the coolest things I have ever experienced. In my life, I’ve been to all sorts of sporting events and worked them or stood on sidelines. I’m a bit jaded when it comes to those things because I’ve been there and it isn’t new for me. Let me tell you, this was new. Not only do I not know a single thing about racing, I didn’t realize that today’s race was HUGE! And was the last race of the year! And was going to determine the winner of the points championship or something or other! And that Danica Patrick and Helio Castroneves were going to be there! And I totally know who those two people are! And Helio won Dancing With The Stars! And racers are tiny! And I got close enough to touch them!

Standing in the pit is so much cooler than standing on the sidelines because there is so much going on and it has to happen so fast and one small mistake can RUIN the whole race. We were only down there for practice, but it was still pretty cool to see them change the tires and gas up the car.

Kirk took us around to garage area, where they tweak the cars after practice and work out any kinks.

We hung out all day. We watched the qualifying, which is lame. They go one by one and just try to go really fast. I thought they would have to fake race and there might be crashes. But it was cool to watch. I should have gone to the race today because there was a fire! And some crashes! And a crash in the pit! But it probably wouldn’t have been the best atmosphere since Kirk’s team’s guy didn’t finish the race. Again.

But definitely was such a great experience and one of the coolest things I’ve ever done.


You can check out the rest of my photos here.

About the author

Kristabella, who also answers to “Hey! Drunk Girl!”, is a reformed band geek with an amazing ability to drink most people under the table. You can read her inane ramblings here, where she talks about her exciting life as a spinster with two cats and a fascination for Bacon.


21 Responses to “Gentlemen, Start Your Engines”

  1. HouseofJules says:

    I’ve never been into the racing thing either but make me a VIP at any event I’m not familiar with & chances are that I’ll love it! So glad you had a great time! I think Helio is so adorable. As soon as I saw him on DWTS, I told everyone he could very well be Roberto Benigni’s (Italian writer/director of Life is Beautiful) son; except he’s Brazilian.
    House of Jules

    HouseofJuless last blog post.."Weed apple dweed appledeeeee, skeet apple dweed appledeee-eeeee"

  2. christa says:

    awesome. i would love to be in the pit. i have this weird sort of kinda interest in auto racing — not enough to watch it on tv, but enough to follow the subplots and have my own favorite list of racers. so that actually is on my life to-do list. right next to the kentucky derby.

    christas last blog post..pursed …

  3. Willow says:

    OK all I know about racing is F1 (and best not to mention that to me today)I know nothing about this Indy thing but you sound like you had a great time so for that, Indy is good 🙂

    By the way – I am totally stealing the word ‘hootchie’, it rocks!

    Willows last blog post..Advice to my selves

  4. Raven says:

    That is very cool! I am long removed from the racing world, but I would still love to be in a pit or go on one of those “ride in a race car” things (of course that last thing is NASCAR, not Indy) someday.

  5. witchypoo says:

    So, unemployment is not sucking?

    witchypoos last blog post..Pimpathon

  6. Mahnee says:

    I actually saw the end of the race on TV yesterday since it ended right before the 5pm news. It was like the Olympics all over again with the .00000001 (whatever) difference between first & second place. And then the dorks actually told the wrong guy at first that he won…then had to go tell Helio (how cute is he?) that he was the real winner!
    Love the pictures!

  7. Your weekend was much more action-packed than mine. The closest I got to standing in a pit was standing in my kitchen, making chili in the crockpot. And that is not close AT ALL.

    nancypearlwannabes last blog post..Testing… Testing…

  8. Sounds fun! Much better than last year, when a Very Famous Race Car Driver attended my grandfather’s funeral.

    Jen on the Edges last blog post..Mamarazzi Monday

  9. JRM says:

    Ooh, my Uncle used to get to sit in the flag waving box during the Indy 500. Anyway, was Danica tiny?

    JRMs last blog post..Random Things, pt. 4

  10. ali says:

    this post is so over my head as i have no idea what you are talking about. hahahaha.

    but? it looks awesome!

    alis last blog post..HELP. i promise i’m not sporting shiners.

  11. michele says:

    “inappropriate” is the best word. i can totally see myself shouting “inappropriate attire” right along with you. no one wants to see that stuff.

  12. Jerri Ann says:

    Wow, that does sound like fun. My husband loves racing and keep promising to get him tickets to a good race but I’ve yet to do it!

  13. Nancy says:

    Fun weekend for you! I’m not a race car fan, but to be in the pits and around the drivers would trump my lack of interest for sure.

    Nancys last blog post..Those Tickets Had My Name on Them

  14. Candy says:

    You almost touched HELIO!??? I may swoon.

    Candys last blog post..Another good reason not to be a poodle

  15. Mouncie123 says:

    Very Cool! My house is a house of big race Fans. My brother worked the Ferrari car circuit for a while so I do own a few official race shirts. And my husband would have been very jealous of these passes you got to have. Lucky girl.

  16. I hear Danika’s a bit feisty. You should have started a fight with her. Pulled her hair or something.

    thecoconutdiariess last blog post..Jon Stewart for President

  17. Elle Charlie says:

    Ooooo, how cool to see the cars up close!

    Elle Charlies last blog post..His other woman

  18. The Muse says:

    I had the same trepidation when a photographer friend of mine had an extra Pit Pass for a NASCAR race down here in Atlanta. And just like you, I had a blast being around a bunch of drivers my dad occasionally talked about and hanging out with Pit Crews and Team workers.

    We ended up hanging out in Team Dodge’s bus most of the afternoon, drinking their beer when the rain interrupted the race.

    The Muses last blog post..You might want to take a step back

  19. Shitballs! I could put Danica in my wee clutch!

    The Over-Thinkers last blog post..We can put a man on the moon…but Hollywood can’t make a decent looking fake tattoo!!

  20. Allison says:

    I’m even more of a dork then because I though IRL was for Ireland…oops.

    Very cool that you got to check that out!!

    Allisons last blog post..Bad Bathroom Behavior

  21. Ree says:

    See, and this is why I like racing. (BTW, that was the “wine and cheese” crowd…good thing you weren’t there for the stock cars.)
    And, pssst. Danica is a b*tch.

    Rees last blog post..Maid of Honor – Past in Polaroids 5