After a harrowing battle with 326 miles of cornfields and freeways, we've made it through the gates of the Indianapolis 500. It's already muggy, and the red sunrise looms like a warning from the racing gods.
As we bounced like a pinball from rental counter to rental counter yesterday morning, contemplating the horrible possibility of an all-access pass to the Indy 500 and no way to get there, the prudence of reservations came into crystalline focus. We eventually found a well worn Kia Rondo which would serve as home base for the weekend. There's not much to say about driving from Detroit to Indianapolis, other than the miles pass like the cups of coffee required to maintain consciousness while counting tractors kicking up clouds of dust as farmers ply their trade.
When we finally made it to the corner of Indianapolis' 16th Street and Georgetown yesterday evening, the shirtless, intoxicated, howling masses had already begun to clog the intersections, making the side streets filled with side-show parties the only passable route. The Indy 500 is called the greatest spectacle in racing, but in truth it's not necessarily for the race itself. The tsunami of humanity which washes over western Indianapolis for a single race is something which cannot be properly translated to words. All walks of life descend upon this event and practice their own rituals around it. You get the feeling the event is secondary to the spectacle.
We're here in the press room, choking down black coffee and eager to dive into the day. The die-hards are already streaming into the infield and the haze is a thick blanket over the 2.5 mile track. We are a long, long way from LeMons.