Kyle Larson won 2014 Rookie of the Year honors in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in the No. 42 Chevrolet for Target Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. He will file a Blog periodically on IMS.com, chronicling his second year in Sprint Cup. This week he talks about visiting the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in advance of the Crown Royal Presents the Jeff Kyle 400 at the Brickyard. For previous editions of the Diary, click here.
Drivers are called on to help with advance promotion for all the races on the Sprint Cup schedule, but for me to get the call to help out for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s race was especially cool. Last Tuesday, I flew in from Sacramento and spent a half-day with media in and around IMS.
When I arrived, the first-ever Brickyard Pace Car, a ’94 Monte Carlo, was waiting on the Yard of Bricks for me. I took a couple laps in it by myself and then a few with media. It’s cool to say I drove it – it was a lot louder than I was expecting it to be, but just really cool to be able to do that.
For lunch we went to Workingman’s Friend, an Indy lunchtime favorite of downtown businesspeople and the racing community, since it’s not too far from the Speedway. I went there once before, had no idea it was such a popular place. I walked in and (racing journalist) Robin Miller was sitting with Dario Franchitti; when you see Dario at a not-so-healthy place, you know it’s a good joint. This time Robin showed up in one of my T-shirts from the Chili Bowl, my mom gave it to him. That was cool seeing him wear it. Workingman’s has good burgers, probably will be back in a couple weeks for sure.
After lunch we went for a tour of the Hall of Fame Museum. I visited for the first time last year, (IMS historian) Donald Davidson gave myself and my family a tour of the Museum and the famous basement, which few people get to see but is filled with old Indy cars, sprints, midgets, you name it. My dad’s a huge historian as far as racing goes, especially for Indy, so Donald said that was one of the coolest tours he’s given just because my dad knew about a lot of the cars in the museum.
Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Scott Dixon joined me on this tour. All of the cars in the main area of the Museum are from the Indy 500, he was able to point out some things since he has more of an understanding about the cars than me. We took close looks at the winning cars from 1911, 1941, 1955 and a couple of A.J. Foyt’s winners. They’re all unique in their own ways, it’s hard to pick one as a favorite. Indy cars today seem to be tighter, looking at the older ones it was kind of cool to see how big the cockpits actually were. At the end of the tour, we took an up-close look at the Borg-Warner Trophy. I was trying to find guys that I know and see how similar their faces look on the trophy. It’s pretty crazy, they’re really small faces but they look a lot like how they do in person.
After the tour I did a few more media interviews and headed to the airport. Can’t wait to come back in a few weeks to race and maybe make my own Indy history.
Until next time,