Monday, April 12, 2010

Indy Grand Prix Alabama

Life has been pretty slow it seems recently. The repetitive nature of things doesn't lend itself to posting much. Why would anyone want to hear stories about getting up early, making the kids lunches, running around trying to figure out why they only put ONE shoe in the basket by the front door as the bus is pulling up in all it's yellow glory. "Grrr!!! WHERE IS THE MATCHING SHOE? THE BUS IS HERE!!!" That's excitement I tell ya! But you still don't want me to blog about it as regularly as it happens...

Fortunately, this past weekend has presented me with some interesting stuff to report. The family went out camping on Saturday night at Rickwood Caverns State park after visiting Oak Mountain State park and finding that there were NO tent sites available in the whole place. As a side bit of commentary, I inquired why there were no sites since from personal experience there are always some. "Why is the place so busy?", I inquired. The ranger informed me with the kind of tone that says, (WELL DUUUUH) -- "It's spring break." As I walked back to the car contemplating this tidbit of knowledge, I wondered, who the heck goes camping for a week when it's spring break? Who wants to spend a week somewhat less than well showered, reeking of campfire smoke, and eating ash sprinkled cookies and hotdogs? Wow...I love the outdoors, but if I'm off of work/school for a week on spring break, I'm not going to stop at Oak Mountain. Anyway, we did find a campsite at Rickwood, another of the local state parks, and had a ball biking at night among other activities, which will probably be part of another post.

Now for the well executed segue into the real reason for the post as you might have inferred from the title. On the drive home from camping (Hey, speaking of driving...yep there's the segue), I got a call from a friend of mine that, for some unfathomable reason, had 5 tickets to the first Indy Grand Prix out at Barber Motorsports and could get nobody to go with him. Bryce and I jumped at the chance to go and see these amazing machines race around while enjoying vendor supplied food and drink from covered seating. PERFECT!

Holy cow those cars are loud, and really really fast. That part was amazing, but even more so is the dye they put in those $5 slushies. Will their tongues stay that way??

I was truly impressed at the quality of the pictures I got with the Canon once I started editing. I don't have a zoom lens, but having a 15 mega pixel image allowed me to crop down these pictures and still have them fairly clear. The cars were going by so fast that I couldn't freeze them without a shutter speed of 1/640th of a second or faster. You can click on the images to get a larger view of them.

Here is Brenna's favorite car...for sure. (At least it's not Versace or something)

Below is Danica Patrick in the green Go Daddy car flying through the turns at over 130mph and accelerating to over 150mph by the time they passed us only a few hundred yards later. How do I know this? The Versus channel had in-car telemetry displayed for the race, and it was enlightening to say the least. I guess the speeds are relative, and the brain fails to put good guestamate on the how fast they are actually travelling. The cars look like they are fast, but without a normal comparison (e.g. a mini-van driven by Brenna being chased by Ninjas) it was impossible to figure out just how fast they were going until the numbers started appearing on the telecast of the event. 75mph through a hairpin turn and just seconds later over twice that pace was mind boggling to imagine.

My lone action shot of a guy going off the course chasing Danica... Yeah, I'm a victim of marketing. Go Daddy...

Marco Andretti in the Venom Energy Drink car. I guess if Daddy and Granddad (love the hair in this link picture) have quite a racing pedigree and you grow up stumbling over the bags of money just to get to the door in the morning, you have a shot at becoming good at most anything.

Unfortunately, Marco had to pit after leading quite a while and Helio Castroneves, in the Team Penske car, came away with the victory. He even stopped the car and climbed the fence close to us. I had bagged my camera by that point so here are the fruits of my frenetic struggle to get it back out of the backpack. Alas...too late.

The 90 lap race was just the right length for the overly-sugared up kids and we didn't have to run around as is normal for most sporting events. As a parent, for those of you that don't know yet, you don't get to actually watch games/races that the kids attend with you. You make laps to the concession stand and potty over and over. This event had a great setup with food and such right there next to us. I have to give a big thanks to John for having Bryce and myself along.
I do wonder how Brenna would have fared racing the Mini-Van...


Brenna said...

My Mini Van would have done very well, I would guess, since I have no personal knowledge of it cornering or speed! Ninjas chasing me???

Anonymous said...

Learned alot. Sounds like it was really fun. Dad