Wow Indianapolis is a great place. They call it the ‘Racing Capital of the World’ and I can understand why that is. The place is awesome. I can only imagine what it would be like to be there for the Indy 500 and see those grandstands packed with race fans.
Okay, my first trip there wasn’t the most successful as a racing driver, but as a racing fan I had the most amazing time. I shall talk a bit about my race a bit later but first of all let me tell you about my experience at the NASCAR Brickyard 400.
I took the family there on Sunday – two days after our race – and we sat in the grandstand with all the fans. It was amazing watching the racing, but it was also great to meet fans who were following us in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship. I was wearing my BMW hat and was instantly recognised. I was asked to sign autographs and also to have my photo taken with lots of people.
I watched Jeff Gordon in the number 24 car win, who is one of the veterans of NASCAR but is making a real resurgence. He was mighty, and it is amazing to think that it is 13 years since he won his last of four championships in this highly competitive series. He also won the first Brickyard 400 20 years ago, at a track that has adopted him since he moved to the area when he was 16 from California. This was because his parents realised he needed that so his motor racing career would take off, and what he has done since then is amazing.
As soon as this race was over I packed the family into the hire car and headed to the Columbus, Ohio, and the home of the team just outside there. We stayed at a Crowne Plaza in Columbus and went out to dinner. It goes without saying that I had the Rahal steak on the menu. We then went to see the guys at the race shop where the motorhome was waiting for us. We entertained them in the motorhome before we head off for our trip to Road America which is at Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.
I have not worked out the route we are taking. We shall just go with the flow and have plans to visit relations in Chicago and Wisconsin before arriving in Road America on Wednesday next week. I want to get there a couple of days ahead of the action so I can walk the track and get a feel for what I am promised is another great race circuit.
Now back to the Brickyard Grand Prix in Indianapolis. I was a sitting duck and got spun out by a Prototype not long after the green flag. The damage the BMW Z4 GTLM suffered meant the rear bumper was gone and so it wasn’t the best car to drive. I did the best I could before handing it over to my team-mate, Bill Auberlen, with about an hour of the 2hrs 45 mins to go, but we just seemed to be sliding backwards. Sadly the sister car of Dirk Muller and John Edwards was also hit, and so was another walking wounded car. I don’t want to go over the pain we all suffered again, but needless to say finishing sixth in class with the other boys seventh was not our plan for the weekend.
However, I am now looking forwards and not back. I am told Road America is going to be another track I should love. I can’t believe I won’t love it, as so far this year my great American journey has been great. Also to have Jo and the kids by my side for the next few weeks is just great. I shall certainly report back to you on how this adventure pans out.