A Day at the Indy 500: 2005


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Sunday, May 29, 2005: We got an early start by leaving home at 6:45 AM. We drove downtown and hopped on an IndyGo bus, then walked from the bus stop to the race track. We were standing on the track at 8:15 AM, with plenty of time before the noon starting flag.
Tom Carnegie was honored throughout the day with a series of banners, television specials, and interviews.
On the speedway grounds, there are many booths set up featuring radio and television personalities. Jill got this shot ...
... and then posed in front of one of the official Indy 500 cars used for the parade of celebrities.
Here is the famous pagoda as seen from the large open area on the inside of the track.
Jill took this cool shot of the maze of stairs that lead to the seats in the Tower Terrace. Along this corridor are many food kiosks and souvenir stands.
We arrived at our front row seats and were very pleased to see that they were just three seats away from the winner's circle. From this vantage point, we were able to see all of the ceremony before and after the race, plus the front row gave us ample leg room, easy access to the exit, and our own personal trash can directly in front of us.
The people in the seats next to us normally come with their son every year, but this year he had joined the military, so his seat was occupied by his picture instead. They kept busy being photographed and interviewed much of the day.
They were interviewed and photographed by the Indianapolis Star, then a cameraman from NBC got their photo as well.
After the parade of high school bands, the Purdue band and color guard performed.
Next up, the band 3 Doors Down performed a song on a balcony overlooking the winner's circle.
Various princesses milled about waiting for their next duties.
The race day celebrities included Paul Sr. and Paul Jr. from American Chopper ...
... Wynonna Judd (whose sister Ashley Judd is married to Dario Franchitti) ...
... Patrick Dempsey ...
... hometown favorite Rupert Boneham (who is married to the niece of the friend of the mother of the wife of a man who works for Debbie) ...
... Chester Bennington of Linkin Park ...
... and Carol Burnett, among others.
Each seat in our section had a sign taped to it, with instructions to hold it up when signaled.
That moment came when American troops marched by. The crowd cheered, including members of the pit crews standing on the Pit Road barriers. It was all very moving.
Once again, 3 Doors Down performed, this time singing "Kryptonite" while the starting lineup was introduced.
After their performance, the band members watched the rest of the ceremonies from their balcony.
Florence Henderson sang "God Bless America" as Carol Burnett looked on.
Colin Powell addressed the crowd.
We interrupt the festivities briefly to show you Arie Luyendyck walking past us. We love Arie!
One of our favorite parts of the day is when the B-2 Stealth bomber flies overhead.
After its initial flyby, it circled overhead for a second look.
Jim Nabors sang "Back Home Again in Indiana."
Finally, Mari Hulman George announced, "Lady and gentlemen, start your engines!"
Hometown favorite Reggie Miller of the Indiana Pacers waved the green flag to start the race. Insert lots of racing here where we took very few pictures and did a lot of eating and drinking and burning in the sun.
The Target Chip Ganassi Racing pits were directly in front of us. As their races came to an end, their crews dismantled their equipment. Here, the nose cone for Darren Manning's car #10 got wheeled back to the garage.
Is it just me or do all of the owners' and drivers' wives and girlfriends look alike? They're all beautiful with colored hair and manicured nails, they all wear black in the blazing sun, and they all wear stiletto heels even though they'll be standing all day.
Being in the front row gets one photographed quite a bit. The young fan next to us (whose father worked in one of the pits directly in front of us) was photographed by this woman, who wrote down his name afterward. Later, she photographed us as well.
Later in the race, things really got interesting when Danica Patrick took the lead. The standings pole showed Car #16 at the top.
The crowd went wild each time Danica led a lap. During this time, Jill and I got our photos taken a lot; a mother and daughter cheering on a female driver -- who can resist?
Of course, we were thrilled to be witnessing history as she continued to lead.
Of the many photos we took during Danica's run, this is my favorite. Danica's car was a blur as she continued to lead the field. Late in the race, Dan Wheldon took the lead and was the winner. All in all, it was a very exciting race.
After the race, our Section 37 seats let us down. Portable bleachers were wheeled out for the press as Dan Wheldon and his car arrived in Victory Lane, and they blocked some of our view.
After the drinking of the milk and the cheering and the photographs, Dan and his team took a lap around the track before stopping at the yard of bricks for more cheering and photographs.
After returning to Victory Lane, the winner's circle was raised so we were able to see Dan, his team, and the Borg-Warner trophy better.
A nice security guard offered to take a closer photo for us, and it turned out quite well. Thanks, Rodney!
As we headed out, we passed this group of enthusiastic Danica fans.
After all was said and done, the standings pole showed the final results of the race.
The clouds had completely rolled in when we finally headed through the tunnel under the track to begin the long trip home. It was another fabulous day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Indy 500: [2002] [2003] [2005] [2008]

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